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Whether it was in the classroom, on an athletic field or in an automobile, Frederick Voigt always encouraged students to excel during his four decades as a high school teacher, counselor and coach in the Minneapolis public schools.

He spent the last part of his career as a counselor who students sought out as they contemplated which college to attend, which scholarships to apply for or which vocation to pursue after graduation, said Herb Wilms, a retired speech pathologist for the Minneapolis schools.

"He was the type of counselor you would want because he believed in his students," Wilms said. "He took the time required to work on their behalf, to help them pursue their dreams. He got students motivated, and students appreciated him and his ability. As counselors go, he was exceptional."

Voigt, 80, died from complications from Alzheimer's disease March 13 at Gianna Homes in Minnetonka.

He graduated in the early 1950s from Macalester College in St. Paul with a bachelor's degree in economics, which he earned in three years, and a master's degree in education. Following in the path of previous family members, he went directly into teaching and signed a one-year contract with the North St. Paul schools for a salary of $2,800 a year, said his son, Jeff, of Minnetonka.

He joined the Minneapolis schools in 1953 and taught subjects ranging from world history to Gregg shorthand to accounting at South, West and Washburn high schools. He also taught basic economics and keyboarding to adults through community education courses, driver's education to teenagers, and he coached varsity downhill skiing and swimming. For three years, he served as the work coordinator while at the former West High.

"He really enjoyed that because he helped kids who might have dropped out get through high school," Jeff said.

As a counselor, he visited college campuses to develop relationships that allowed him to help students secure scholarships and get into the college of their choice.

He also was an active member of Westwood Lutheran Church in St. Louis Park. Born in Hastings, Voigt was a voracious reader as a child. He graduated from Hastings High School, where he played basketball, football and baseball and once won a contest for memorizing the most poems, Jeff said.

Voigt enjoyed traveling, spending time at his cabin on Gull Lake and beekeeping, his son said.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife of 57 years, Joan Marie, of St. Louis Park, two daughters, Judy Englund of Shorewood and Jaci Berner of Plymouth; a brother, John of Hopkins; a sister, Mary Voigt of St. Louis Park, and six grandchildren.

Services will be held at noon Friday, with visitation beginning 10 a.m., at Westwood Lutheran Church, 9001 Cedar Lake Road, St. Louis Park.