Relatives remember Oceana man as generous person
by Chad D. Lerch | The Muskegon Chronicle
Friday July 03, 2009, 6:41 AM
OCEANA COUNTY — Dale Fessenden says his son, who was found dead June 25 in an Oceana County pond, will be remembered as a caring person who always put others first.
His son, Roger Dale Fessenden, 40, of Rothbury suffered a back injury at work earlier this year when he fell 20 feet while cleaning a storage tank. He underwent back surgery in February, family members said.
Roger Fessenden was reported missing June 23 and was found dead two days later in a pond known by locals as Oceana Lake in Grant Township.
Dale Fessenden said his son often had a difficult time sleeping because of back pain. He said Roger would take prescription sleeping pills and then go for drives in his car. He suspects the sleeping pills affected his son's judgment.
On the night he went missing, Roger Fessenden likely took sleeping pills before venturing out, his father said.
"He didn't know what he was doing and just took off," he said. "I'm convinced that's what happened to him."
Fessenden disputes reports that his son was taking multiple prescription drugs. He said his son recently went off anti-depressants.
Family members said they want Roger Fessenden to be remembered as someone with a generous heart.
Dale Fessenden said his son once went shopping for a stranger in the hospital — just because he wanted to help.
"That's the kind of person my son was," he said. "He was the most polite person in my life."
Oceana County Sheriff Bob Farber said a toxicology report is pending in the investigation into Roger Fessenden's death. The report could return from the lab in the next two weeks.
But in the meantime, the county coroner has ruled the cause of death as drowning. It remains unclear how Fessenden ended up in the pond.
Fessenden, a longtime resident of Ferry, is survived by his wife, Blanco Suarez, two stepchildren and his parents.
E-mail Chad D. Lerch at firstname.lastname@example.org