School District, Menifee City Officials Honor Fred Twyman With Memorial Tree, Plaque

Learn from yesterday, Live for today, Hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questi...

Learn from yesterday, Live for today, Hope for tomorrow.
The important thing is to not stop questioning.

The quote from Albert Einstein, engraved on the memorial plaque, captured beautifully the spirit of the late Fred Twyman, who was honored by Menifee school and city officials, family and friends Wednesday afternoon.

The memory of Twyman, who died last June at the age of 46, will live on -- not only in the hearts of local citizens, but now in the center of the Paloma Valley High School campus, where he was a successful teacher and a powerful influence in the lives of his students and many others.

During a special ceremony held in front of the math building where he taught for so many years, a memorial plaque was unveiled at the base of a magnolia tree planted in Twyman's honor.

Dr. Jonathan Greenberg, superintendent of the Perris Union High School District, conducted a ceremony in front of a crowd including Menifee city council members Tom Fuhrman and Wallace Edgerton. Twyman was serving as vice mayor of Menifee at the time of his death and had previously served on the Menifee Union School District Board.

"Fred was almost an iconic figure in the community," Greenberg said about Twyman, who taught in the school district for 21 years. "He was always an advocate for schools and learning.

"He wasn't afraid to challenge people in an appropriate way when he felt change was needed. People respected that about Fred."

Twyman was described as a community activist who was heavily involved in governing decisions of the school board as well as the preservation of Menifee's rural charm in its development during the early years of cityhood. Fuhrman fondly remembers the sunny afternoons when Twyman would show up at Furhman's Wooden Nickel Ranch on the edge of town to eat lunch in the shade of a pine tree and watch Fuhrman's buffalo graze in the pasture.

"Whenever Fred pulled up, the buffalo would come down to meet him," Fuhrman recalled with a smile. "Fred would walk up to the buffalo and ruffle his nose up. He'd come out there at least once a week."

The Menifee City Council is considering a plan to acquire a piece of land across Holland Road from Fuhrman's ranch to be designated as a dog park and horse staging area. Fuhrman wants to name the place Twyman Park.

"I first met Fred in 1996 when we served together on the Tri-Valley Trails Committee," Fuhrman said. "I've tried to follow all his beliefs about keeping the city rural and having slow growth."

At Paloma Valley High, Twyman started the school's Key Club, which teaches students how to give back to the community. He also was president of the school site council during the planning of the high school, to which Twyman transferred from Perris High.

D.J. Williams, Twyman's mother, said it was appropriate that a magnolia tree was planted in her son's memory. She said the Downey house where Fred was born was adorned with magnolia trees. She also remembered how concerned Fred was when school landscapers had to take out several crepe myrtle trees before the construction of the shade structure adjacent to where the Twyman memorial now stands.

Fred's brother, Jim, told the crowd of the respect he has always had for his brother.

"Fred built a lot of character in me," Jim Twyman said. "He always had his mind made up; he wanted to do things a certain way. He loved reaching out to the city of Menifee and the students of this school."

With the memorial tree in the foreground, Dr. Jonathan Greenberg addresses the crowd at the Fred
Twyman memorial at Paloma Valley High School.

Fred Twyman family members, from left: James Twyman (brother), Danny Twyman (brother), Alyssa Twyman (daughter), D.J. Williams (mom), Don Williams (stepfather), Jennifer Washington (daughter), Henry Washington (grandson), Carolyn Twyman (wife), Fallon Twyman (daughter), Frederick Twyman II (father).


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