DC Roar Editor-in-Chief recalls grandfather’s contributions to Sacramento history


Fred Wade on the set of Captain Sacto in 1955.

Maclainey Wade, Editor-in-Chief

From the time I was young, I have always been immensely fascinated by history. Learning about those who have come before; their triumphs and mistakes, and how we can relate to those people and events is so interesting to me. When I first learned about the life of my grandfather, it made me so excited that I am a descendent of someone who had such an impact in Sacramento county. To me, his life and legacy is something to be celebrated. Here is a look into the life that he lived:

Fred Gerrish Wade II was born on July 13th, 1927 in Altadena, California to Fred and Elaine Kerr Wade. During high school and college, he became interested in the film and television industry, leading him to participate in various drama classes and plays in high school and college at the University of California at Santa Barbara. After high school, he enlisted in the Navy as an aircrewman, later being honorably discharged in 1946.

Wade earned a B. A. in Speech, and minors in Radio and Theater from UCSB while serving as the student body president of the class of 1953. Soon after graduating college, he was called to active duty in the Korean War.

He married in 1953 and moved to Sacramento in 1955 for a job opportunity that he received with KCRA-3 TV, a station in which Wade helped found. His new job opportunity with the station led him to land the role in Captain Sacto, a children’s TV show in which Sacto flew into McClellan Air Force Base. The captain taught kids lessons that they could use in their daily life.

Wade explained that, “The parents remember me as their first compatible babysitter because I would always tell their kids to brush their teeth or something like that”.

He kept that role for a couple of years before he passed it on to the better-known Captain Sacto host, Harry Martin in 1957.

After leaving the show, he went into the advertising business with Dannenfelzer & Wade. Later he ran his own firm, Wade Advertising Agency. His clients included many local stores such as Crystal Creamery and Town & Country Shopping Center on the corner of Fulton and Marconi.

After growing and maintaining his business, he was elected on January 3rd, 1975 by then-governor Ronald Reagan as a Sacramento County Supervisor to serve the remainder of Gene Gualco’s term. Out of over 50 applicants for the position, Reagan did not see any of them as qualified as Wade.

When speaking with him concerning his new position, Reagan stated “I’m a strong believer that we need certain kinds of people in government. We’ve examined your credentials and believe that you’re that type of man”.

After completing the remainder of that term he then ran and was re-elected as a Republican-Conservative candidate, passing legislation advocating for small government and general right-wing conservative values.

He was described by his peers in politics as hardworking and charismatic and he stood by the golden rule of ‘do unto others’. He stated that one of his only regrets of his political career was voting against the building of a bridge across the river at Sarah Ct in Carmichael. This would have put another bridge between Watt Avenue and Sunrise Blvd. 

Throughout his career, he also served as the President of the Sacramento Advertising Agency Association, Chairman of the Government Relations Western Region AAF, member of the Sacramento Grand Jury, and The Easter Seal Campaign Fund Chairman. 

He tragically passed away on June 5th, 1981 following a carbon monoxide accident. He was fondly remembered by many, including Ronald Reagan, Sheriff Dwane Lowe of Sacramento County, and many other people he knew through work and school. He is lovingly remembered and missed by his family.