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Fred E. Tieken

Sep 25, 1935 - Apr 18, 2022

Fred E. Tieken

September 25, 1935 - April 18, 2022


Fred E. Tieken, 86, a resident of Paradise Valley, Arizona passed away on April 18, 2022. Fred was born in the Mississippi River town of Meyer, Illinois on September 25, 1935. His family briefly moved to nearby Quincy, Illinois, until his father saved enough money to buy a farm near Meyer, where Fred spent most of his youth.

At an early age, Fred developed an interest in two things that would define the rest of his life: playing music and creating art. He graduated from Menden Illinois High School and pursued his first passion, playing saxophone and leading his own band, The Freddie Tieken Combo. He concurrently began developing his second passion as a mechanical draftsman for Gardner Denver in Quincy.

Fred's band was eventually reimagined as Freddie Tieken and the Rockers, who played rock and roll throughout the Midwest and recorded several albums. Meanwhile, Fred moved on to the role of commercial artist at Creative Printers in Quincy, and continued developing his artistic abilities.

Fred met the love of his life, Gail (nee Smith), in a Quincy music store. They were married on May 14, 1971. Together, they formed a partnership of complementary abilities that served them well, moving to Chicago in the mid-70s where they built a music publishing and talent management business together. Fred and Gail groomed and managed several bands that were staples of the Chicago music scene in the late 70s and early 80s. They also opened a graphic arts business with Fred as artist-in-residence and Gail managing business operations.

In 1986, they moved to Phoenix and focused their attention on graphic arts. Tieken Design was a thriving, award-winning business that produced three newsstand publications and designed advertising for dozens of local and global organizations. They sold the business in 2002 and began their semi-retirement with a pursuit of Fred's hobby, driving and showing his award-winning Porsche. The Tiekens also moved to Paradise Valley into a home they remodeled with their decidedly contemporary tastes.

In 2010, doctors told Fred that his chronic kidney condition was progressing, and he and Gail began investigating a transplant. Gail asked doctors to test her as a potential donor; she was a match, and the operation occurred at the Mayo Clinic in January 2011.

The transplant served as a catalyst for Fred to begin painting. In the final decade of his life, he prolifically produced hundreds of paintings that have appeared in over 100 shows and galleries across the U.S., including the Tiekens' own galleries in the yard of their Paradise Valley home and in the Chinatown district of central Los Angeles. Fred and Gail were beloved fixtures on the Phoenix and L.A. art scenes, winning friends and followers, and inspiring thousands of artists and art lovers.

Fred died peacefully in his home, surrounded in his final days by Gail, his family, and friends. Fred's daughter, Lori (Tieken) Groves, preceded him in death. Five children survive him: Steve (Wanaree) Tieken, Gary Tieken, David Tieken, Jill (Craig) Spoonmore, and Julie (Bruce) Townsend. He has 8 surviving grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren, and 4 great, great grandchildren.

In lieu of traditional services, the family will host a Celebration of Life at a future date, to be determined. Instead of flowers, please donate in Fred's honor to the Arizona Animal Welfare League. For more on Fred's amazing life and to view his art, visit


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