Elsie Friesz, 86, Mandan, died March 26, 2016 at Sanford Medical Center in Bismarck.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1:30 pm on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Mandan, ND with Rev. Shane Campbell as celebrant. Burial will be at Mandan Union Cemetery after the church service.
Visitation will be held Monday, March 28, 2016 from 5:00-8:00 pm at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, with a Rosary/Parish Vigil at 7:00 pm. Visitation will continue at the church one hour prior to the service on Tuesday.
Elsie Frohlich was born to Peter and Elizabeth (Markel) Frohlich, in Crown Butte, on March 23, 1930. Elsie loved life on the farm where she and her siblings worked hard and had childhood fun that would be shared years later as stories retold in German at the Frohlich family “progressive dinner” parties held every year.
Elsie moved to Mandan and worked at the Mandan Ben Franklin store and later in the camera department at Hoskins-Meyer Floral in Bismarck, where she developed a love of photography. For years, Elsie documented Friesz and Frohlich family activities, vacations and special events by taking hundreds of photos on Kodachrome slides that entertained so many at family gatherings that often ended with an Elsie “slide show”.
Elsie married Edward Friesz, who was the love of her life, on September 30, 1953. Elsie dedicated her life to her family, staying at home to raise her and Ed’s six children. Elsie entertained her children with stories, songs and dancing while preparing meals and baking breads, cookies and other desserts for meals that were an important gathering time for her family.
Elsie and Ed loved taking annual family vacations and every August, included a new destination as the family drove to visit relatives and sightsee in states all across the country. When Ed and Elsie retired they continued to enjoy traveling together taking bus tours and visiting children and grandchildren living in other states.
Elsie was a woman of deep faith and she was devoted to her Catholic tradition. She loved attending daily Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church where she was a parishioner and member of the St. Joseph’s Circle for over sixty years. She looked forward to her daily walk to church, no matter the season or weather.
Elsie was an avid gardener. She loved her indoor and outdoor plants and flowers, gathering rain water to care for them and bringing back to life those plants others thought were beyond hope. Elsie donated hundreds of plants to AID Incorporated in Mandan where she also volunteered every week for over twenty years. Through those plants there is a small piece of Elsie blooming in homes all across the area.
Elsie was visually impaired due to a childhood illness, and her loss of vision progressed throughout her life. Her loss of vision did not deter her from doing and accomplishing the things she was passionate about. One passion Elsie had was reading, and thanks to talking books provided by the Library of Congress and the North Dakota State Library, Elsie read thousands of books all of which she recorded in a journal. When funding for the North Dakota State Library and its services were being threatened with cuts, Elsie successfully testified before state legislative committees to preserve this important service to the blind. Elsie also loved the people she met at meetings and conferences of the North Dakota Association of the Blind and the annual summer camp program she attended at Camp Grassick.
Elsie always dreamed of going to high school and she did for a few short months before returning to the farm to help care for her mother. But Elsie never stopped dreaming about graduating from high school and in 1995 at the age of 65 Elsie passed the GED and received her high school diploma. Elsie never stopped learning, staying up on current events by regularly listening to the radio and TV news and studying historical events and presidents through the books and magazines that she read.
The Friesz family would like to thank all the “Good Samaritans” who helped Elsie over the years. While she was visually impaired, Elsie never let her vison stop her from doing the things she loved and she loved walking. She carefully tracked all of her steps to and from the places she needed to go, but at times she got lost or her path was interrupted with construction. There are so many people that stopped to help guide Elsie back on her path. She trusted the good nature in people and no one ever let her down.
Elsie will be deeply missed by her children 3 daughters Delphine Marshall, Mandan ND, Sharon Johnson, Bismarck ND, and Annette (Leon) Kary, Mandan ND; 3 sons Kennard, Mandan ND, Gerard (Mary Ellen), Seattle WA, and Maynard (Linda), Arlington VA; 11 grandchildren Trever (Angie) Marshall, Anton (Jamie) Marshall, Jakob Marshall, Alec Johnson and his fiancé Tess, and Brett Johnson, Maria (Rob) Eide, Elizabeth (Tyler) Ferderer, Rachael Kary, Ryan Friesz, Adam Friesz, and Edward “Teddy” Friesz; 6 great-grandchildren Ella Rose, Oliver, and Eliot Marshall, Isabel and Franklin Marshall, Emaline Elsie Eide, and baby Ferderer on the way; 2 sisters Bernadine (Don) Prouty, Bismarck ND, and Lucy (Anton) Wangler, Fargo ND; a brother Tom Frohlich, Mandan ND; and sister-in-law Donna Frohlich, Bismarck ND.
Elsie was preceded in death by her husband who died on June 14, 2005, parents, son-in-law John Marshall, sister Vera Frohlich, 2 brothers Joseph (Frances) Frohlich and Donald Frohlich, and sister-in-law Jeanette Frohlich.