Fred Douglas Garrett, Sr. was born in Salley, SC to the late Mattie Baston Garrett on December 23, 1924. In 1943, Garrett graduated from Schofield Normal and Industrial High School and after high school joined the U.S. Navy. Garrett attended and graduated from SC State College in 1951 with a bachelor's of Agricultural Science. After graduation, he worked in Florence County as a county agent for Clemson University's agricultural extension program. In 1952, Garrett moved to Greenville SC where he worked as a Greenville County extension agent. In 1958, Garrett started working part-time at Watkins, Arnold And Shepard Mortuary. Later he became part owner and manager in the business, so the name changed to Watkins, Garrett & Woods Mortuary. In 1939, Garrett became sole owner of the mortuary.