Froehlich’s life has been filled with family, music and baseball

Mike Bellmore, Features Editor
Froehlich’s life has been filled with family, music and baseball

When Leo and Jackie Froehlich arrived in Devils Lake, they immediately fell in love with the community.

Neighbor Jay Schneider is always ready, willing and available to shovel snow off the elderly couple’s sidewalk.

Froehlich always fell back on his music if he needed a pick-me-up and they were good friends with former school superintendent Richard Kunkel and principal Les Nyhus.

Froehlich ended up being a 27-year music teacher at the school, and spent seven years at Jamestown College.

“We just love it here,” Jackie said in their comfortable home on 3rd St. N.E.

In recent years, however, Leo’s health has deteriorated.

In 2003 he went to Rochester and was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

He’s confined pretty much to his home and ventures outside rarely, especially in the winter.

Doctors figure he contacted the disease during World War II.

The Veterans Administration has been superb, he says, and credits Emery Fisher with taking good care of his situation.

When he needs to be “picked up,” he simply thinks back to his career in music.

“I?was taught to sing Hawaiian songs phonetically,” Froehlich adds. “I really love baseball and music.”

Froehlich says he got out of the Navy in 1946 and earlier played centerfield on McClusky’s state tournament team.

That was a far cry now from his days in a wheelchair. His mobility is limited to walking in the house, and talking makes him tired.

His endurance was tested one night recently when the Froehlichs got seven phone calls from their children and friends.

The 84-year-old once managed a Legion baseball program in Montana, an activity he dearly loves.

But Jackie says his best years were when he was involved with the National Guard band.

Jackie credits her husband with turning that outfit into a top-notch, first-class operation.

“He really brought them around,” she smiles.

The Froehlichs are parents of two boys and two girls and presently have 11 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

They’ve been married 61 years and have spent time in four different communities.

Froehlich has been retired since 1961, and he left with fond memories.

“We’ve really had a good time with music over the years,” adds Froehlich. “One of my best memories was when I was contacted by some home school people. That was a great experience for me, the music and the teaching.”