Hosting one of the nation’s longest running TV cooking segments, Fred Wix, AKA Gabby Gourmet, tempted his culinary audience on the KUTV News at Noon (CBS) in Salt Lake City for 25 years. (1977-2002).
Fred’s mother remarried when he was quite young and her new husband adopted Fred. He happily grew up with the Wix family, knowing nothing more about his biological father than his name. Digging a bit into his paternal biological family history, it appears
that Fred’s professional life aligns more closely with his blood father than his adoptive father. Interesting because Fred knew nothing about his biological father or what he did for a living.
Interestingly enough, Fred’s culinary career was his second career after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for 20 years. Again, Fred had no idea that he was carrying on a lengthy military tradition of his maternal ancestors.
In 1662, Fred’s 7th maternal great grandfather, Abraham Hathaway, played a major role in King Philip’s War sometimes called the First Indian War—between the Mayflower Pilgrims and the Native Americans. Then in 1690, Abraham served as Ensign and organized military companies for King William’s War between France and England for supremacy in North America.
Fred’s 6th great grandfather, Captain Abraham Hathaway Jr., continued on with his father's work and signed the Oath of Allegiance, which kept the fighting contained between the France and England.
Fred’s 9th great grandfather, Samuel Wilbore, emigrated from England in 1633. Still subject to England, Samuel worked to keep peace with the Indians in the new land.
By 1638, Samuel was one of the 23 founders of the state of Rhode Island and signed the Portsmouth Compact, which is considered “the first government in the world to allow and to insure to its citizens civil and religious liberty.”
Samuel finished out his life serving as constable for what are today Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
It appears Fred was able to carry on the success of both sides of his biological family without knowing anything about them. Does this give validity to one’s genes, or was Fred wise enough to see his inner strengths without any historical information? Perhaps both.
These historical threads of military service and culinary entrepreneurship are interesting and may even be coincidental, but the strong family bond between extended families members is very evident throughout the generations of Fred’s family. And what is more interesting is that this is the family line that Fred knew nothing about.
Due to family circumstances at the time:
• Fred’s great grandfather took in and cared for his granddaughter Mary I. Fritzinger.
• A widower, Fred’s grandfather took in and cared of his stepson Howard Slusser.
• Fred’s father lived with and cared for his elderly aunt Mary Mager.
So it was not surprising to learn that Fred was proud to be the father figure in the life of his granddaughter Jillian.
Isn’t it interesting how many experiences and actions we repeat unaware of the characteristics we share with our ancestors? Look to your family and ENJOY!!
Special thanks to Jillian Whitmore and Jean Corley-Wix.