Stories about Bill
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From: Kristen Moser
I was in church choir with Bill for many years. I even lead the choir in his final choral years. Bill was always a ray of light and joy. The running joke is that, through the years, he would always lose his music. After he stopped being able to attend choir, I remember Elsie giving me a huge stack of music that she had found that he had misplaced. Some of the songs we hadn’t sung in years! I’m positive that Bill did “misplace” his music because he was forgetful. It was because he simply loved music so much that he wanted to keep the songs to sing them later. His humor and charm will be sorely sorely missed at Messiah.
From: Lori Lorenz
My favorite memory of Bill is the year we went snow tubing. He graciously offered to watch Kelsey and Daniel for us and then let them go see the cat but the cat was really a skunk.
I remember Bill’s wry sense of humor! Such an intelligent man and always up for a good discussion. He also was never at a loss for adding to the list of people to pray for. Such a gentleman! We’ll miss you, Bill!
From: Claire Sherlock
When I think of Bill I think of his love of travel. He was always planning great trips or having just come back from one he loved to share his adventures.
From: Laurie Walters
I have known Bill and Elsie most of my life through Messiah. Bill will be remembered as a kind and loving man who would truly give “the shirt off his back” to anyone in need. Bill and Elsie’s love was truly an inspiration. Our love and prayers go to Elsie and all of your family.️ He will be missed.
From: Janet Feldman
Dear Elsie and family, I always thought of Bill as a family first man. He was always taking pictures or films of the family. He always participated in the Boar's Head Festival at church just after Christmas with the rest of his family. He always kept track of who was doing what activities and was very proud of all his children and grandchildren. He is now with Julia's and my dad, happy to meet each other, and as my dad use to pray, he is now in that place where there is no pain, sorrow or grief. He has shed his earthly body and is now starting in his new life as we will all do some day. Bill lived a good, long, and happy life. He would be proud to see how his family took care of him so faithfully right up to the end. Love, Janet and Ken
From: Don and Diane Leypoldt
Sending our prayers and condolences to Aunt Elsie and all of Uncle Bill's immediate family. He leaves behind terrific memories of family picnics with the extended Leininger clan. We remember a man strongly dedicated to his faith and his family. We remember a man who always seemed pleasant, content and with an easy smile. We hope this doesn't sound trite because its meant as a sincere and heartfelt compliment: Uncle Bill was just a genuinely nice man. His faith has assured him of eternal life and we celebrate that while we pray for comfort for all of the Friedgens.
From: Jim Todd
It is very poignant thinking about Bill passing away in this time. He was all about seeking justice for all and combating racism in all its forms. He and I had so many discussions about race and justice, and I'm just imagining how engaged Bill would be about all that is going on right now. I remember one particular Sunday while serving at Messiah that brings a smile to my face. Bill had just read a book (no surprise there!) that got him excited and he wanted to preach about it. I invited him to share the pulpit with me a Sunday and we did a dialogue sermon. I can't remember exactly what either of us said, but I do know that Bill had positive things to say about Arabs and Muslims in particular, and how Christians needed to have conversation with them and find places of common purpose.
From: Laura Neary
The memory that popped into my head this morning about Dad Friedgen was when he presented me with my very first “Chicago Bill Bag” when I was getting ready to move up to State College for the first time. Mini soaps, shampoos, conditioners, a sewing kit, and some toothpaste were just some of the goodies he collected for me on one of his travels. I remember him saying that he was an old hand at it by then - that he had forged long-time relationships with the housekeeping staff of his hotel, and they would let him pillage their carts so he could add to his collections to bring home. At the time I got a vivid mental picture of him in a bathrobe, standing in a hotel hallway, and delighting over the choices in-front of him. He always seemed so tickled with himself when he shared his travel treasures. That’s how I choose to think of him now - tickled with himself. Hoping there was a giant cart filled with tiny treasures just waiting there for him when he arrived this morning. Love you all so much.
From: Kent & Deanna Barbay
We will miss Bill. He was very passionate about his church and really seemed to enjoy the music of the church. We are glad Elsie and Bill got to celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary together.
From: Gloria Downs
Friend and cousin- in- law of 57 years! FLIC will miss him. Bill loved to travel and especially loved good food and restaurants. We shared many wonderful meals together! He was always up on current events and politically involved. You could count on a good conversation with him on these issues. I will miss you my good friend but glad your physical sufferings are ended. See you later.
From: Robert Schlosser
Bill was a true family man and a man of God. He clearly enjoyed life and lived it to the fullest, as evidenced by his extensive travels. Two memories stand out -- one humorous and one poignant: When my sister and I were about 12 and 10, Bill took us ice skating on the lake at Markley's swim club. After donning his skates, he decided for some reason that he had to move his car. Rather than take the time to remove his skates and relace them, he got into the car and as carefully as possible (but not carefully enough) pressed on the accelerator. The car lurched forward and onto the ice, which fortunately was thick enough that he was able to avoid having to tell Elsie about it later.
When my mother's father (Bill's grandfather) passed away in 1960, my father was out of town on a business trip. Bill arrived at our house within what seemed like only a few minutes after we got word of Pop Pop's passing, to comfort my mother because Bill knew that my father was away. That meant a lot to me then, and still does.
From: The Knipp Family
We thankfully look back to the times we met Bill both in the USA as well as back here in Germany. He always was a great host and we hope he enjoyed his time here in Europe
From: Pastor David Eckert
I knew Bill as kind and cheerful presence at Messiah Church - as Elsie wheeled him into Sunday school or sitting in his special row toward the front of church. Even in these later years, Bill had a strong voice and added to our congregational signing. He was glad to be in church and glad to share cheer. I loved to see him in his "Jesus Walks With Me" hat. I would hum the song in my head, but I know Bill was confident that Jesus walked with him. I also loved going to lunch bunch at Masonic Village or King's Buffet and enjoying food together. I've enjoyed these pictures and getting to know him through your stories!
From: Bill Friedgen Jr.
My Dad, I have so many memories that I am not sure what to share. He was very proud of all of his children and their achievements. I know that he was especially proud when his daughters earned the rank of First Class in girl scouts and I earned the rank of Eagle Scout in boy scouts.
While he was involved with the other troop parents in my scout troop, he did not go on many camping trips. The only one I can really remember is when we went canoeing on the Mullica River. We were on a slower portion of the river, and I had him in the bow of the canoe, as I had more experience with canoeing. My fellow scouts had decided to race across this portion of the river. I tried to get my Dad to start paddling; however, he was too interested in enjoying the beautiful landscapes. Our canoe did come in last place. From this I did learn that it is not just the journey, but to enjoy what it all around us on that journey.
Speaking of journeys, my family took long camping trip across the country. Dad did the majority of the driving, and mom would typically read or if really needed take a turn behind the wheel. Once again, while we would have a specific destination in mind – Mexico, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, the Rocky Mountains, the Blue Mountains, or Canada, we always had stops along the way, so that we could see interesting sites or learn some history about the United States of America and what makes it wonderful. Of course, my siblings and I would complain bitterly about being crowded or that our friends and their families went to the shore. Dad though, being a history buff, took all this in stride and went on showing us much of this great nation. While I may not be as big of a history fan as my father, I did learn to appreciate the fact that while most people only get to see a small portion of the state in which they live, I have visited 42 of the states as well as the capital, Washington, D.C. Thank you, Mom and Dad for the education and history lessons!
The last memory I will share is that my Dad always wanted our lawn at home to look good. He would put my sisters and I to work on the weekends weeding the yard, when we wanted to go and play with our friends. He had this huge galvanized metal tub that we had to fill with all the weeds we could pull, before we could go and play. Of course, we would fluff the weeds up, so that it would look like we had filled the tub. Then Dad would come along and stomp down with his foot to show us that we had only really filled it somewhere between one quarter to one third of the way. Eventually, we would get it filled to about the three quarters mark (after he stomped it down) and then he would let us go and play with our friends. Of course, when I was younger, Dad would cut the grass. It was not a bad thing, until it he reached the two blue spruces out front. Dad would then have one of the children come out and lift up the branches so that he could cut under them. I was always worried that he would accidentally run the mower over my foot, but since I still have 10 toes, I guess he had better accuracy than I gave him credit. I am sure that this helped us to develop a strong work ethic and care in what we are doing.
My Dad lived for 90 years. He celebrated 63 years of marriage to his wonderful wife, my Mom. Sometimes I got upset with him and I am sure he was angry with me at times as well; however, I always knew that no matter what, he would be there for me. He would support me. He would love me. All of the memories that I have I will treasure until it is my turn to go and be with him again someday. Dad, you have taught me well. Thank You! I Love You and while I miss you, I know that you are with God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, as well as all of your friends and family that have passed on before. Be at peace and know that I take comfort that you are with them.
From: Jack Kustra
I am so sorry to hear about Bill. I was fortunate to know him and the family for many years. He was always enthusiastic when he described his numerous vacations and cruises. I have a large black American eagle sitting on my desk and one day he brought in and gave me a small cast iron bird to keep the eagle company. It sits there to this day. Elsie is the greatest. She always accompanied Bill when coming to my office and had to limit his candy intake after awhile. All of the family members I interacted with were and are top shelf. And that's a tribute to Bill and Elsie. We all get older and move on, and I will always hold great memories of Bill. I can hear his voice still in my memory. A very good man.