Friday, June 3, 2016
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Hodapp Funeral Home
6041 Hamilton Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45224
Saturday, June 4, 2016
10:00 AM EDT
St. Clare Church
1443 Cedar Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45224
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Bernard “Ben” Froehle, it is clear to see he was a man who treasured his faith, his family, and his life. It was evident his journey was anchored in his family, and although he accomplished great things, he was a humble man who lived to serve those around him. Ben was a devoted husband and father, however, nothing was better in Ben’s book than becoming a grandfather and great-grandfather. Eager to serve in ways both great and small, he impacted the lives of so many others in numerous ways. Although he will be deeply missed, Ben leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
The 1930s were primarily defined by the Great Depression. Jobs were few and far between leaving countless American families to do whatever they could to make ends meet. Many lost their homes and were left moving from place to place in search of work. Despite the trials around them, William and Dorothy (O’Brien) Froehle were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their own lives. They were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as June of 1933 dawned in Cincinnati, Ohio. Their wait was over when the baby boy they named Bernard arrived on June 28th. Weighing in at only three pounds, he was a frail and very skinny baby who was wrapped in cotton and then carried in a cigar box by his mother. To help him gain weight, Bernard’s mother fed him liver, which he learned to despise and refused to eat as an adult! As one of eight Froehle children, he was raised in the family home in Cincinnati alongside his siblings: Bill, Tom, Jim, Dottie, Don, Mary, and Mike. Ben attended St. George grade school and then graduated from Roger Bacon High School in 1951.
In 1952, Ben joined the Navy and served with the CBs. Upon his discharge in 1955, he had earned the rank of surveyor third class. The skills he learned in military were greatly beneficial in his career later in life, and Ben was forever proud of his military service.
Following his discharge, Ben returned to the City of Cincinnati where he built a successful career. He started off in the sewer department, but he spent the bulk of his career in the housing department. During the 1970s, Ben was involved with the city’s new construction of Section 8 housing in non-traditional neighborhoods. This was a very difficult job with no simple solution to the situation. The poor felt he wasn’t moving fast enough, while the wealthy thought he was doing too much, and the politicians thought he was doing nothing. In everything he did, Ben did his job with integrity and honesty.
The event not to be forgotten was Ben’s introduction to the woman who would change the course of his life forever. Her name was Shirley Stanford, and they met through his sister, Dottie, who was Shirley’s classmate. After dating for a time, the couple soon found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to establish a life together, the sweethearts were married on June 29, 1957, at St. George Catholic Church in Corryville. Together Ben and Shirley welcomed seven children: Patty, Rod, Colleen, David, Suzanne, Jenny, and Scott into their hearts and home. Ben was a caring father who was actively involved in the lives of his children. He also took his role as the provider in his family to heart. He often took on additional work to supplement the family income as his family grew. He parked cars at Crosley Field and also worked Saturdays at Geiger’s Meat in Findley Market. Ben made it a priority to send his children to Catholic Schools. Through his example, he taught his children a good work ethic and what it means to be loyal and thoughtful of others. He was forever telling his children: “Put your brain in gear before you put your mouth in motion.” Ben welcomed his children’s spouses with open arms and lived to be a grandfather. When great-grandchildren arrived later in life, he was filled with unspeakable joy and savored every moment he had to spend with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Ben always had a special way of bonding with young children.
Ben certainly had a deep love for his family, but his faith was the solid cornerstone in his life. He was a devout Catholic who enjoyed being a part of the church and was currently a member of St. Clare Parish. Rather than just sitting back and dealing with the inequities of the system, Ben heeded the advice of a priest who told him he needed to get into the position of authority where he could change the system. For years he was an agent of change within the church and within his community. In fact, Ben lived to serve throughout his life. After retiring in 1982, he worked with neighborhood housing, did taxes at H & R Block, while continuing to serve on the board of directors at CINCO Federal Credit Union. In addition, Ben was on the board of directors at Hammond North Condominiums where he served as president of the board. Just as in his work, he carried out his volunteer efforts with great honesty, integrity, fairness, and desire “to do the right thing”.
A man of many interests, Ben enjoyed being active. Sports were always a big part of his life, especially when it came to Cincinnati teams. He was a lifelong fan of the Reds, and for several years was a season ticket holder for the Bengals. When he was younger, Ben enjoyed bowling and later became an avid golfer who even got a hole in one on two separate occasions. Although he kept busy later in life, a broken hip after a fall in 2015 greatly changed his life. This fall happened just days before his granddaughter’s wedding, and he was so disappointed to not be there for her special day. From there his health declined further, and on May 30th Ben was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital where he drew his last breath surrounded by his family.
Described as humble, thoughtful, and loyal, Ben Froehle was an incredible blessing in the lives of everyone he met. He felt so humble and blessed in his own life, and he was quick to give credit to those who helped him succeed. Ben was a man of few words. When he spoke others knew it was to their benefit to listen, and his devotion to the people and things he was passionate about was unmatched. He will be forever missed.
Bernard “Ben” Froehle died on May 30, 2016. Ben’s family includes his wife of 58 years: Shirley; children: Patricia (Rich) Branson, Bernard Rodney (Mary Niederhelman) Froehle, Colleen Froehle, David (Jennifer) Froehle, Suzanne (Mike) Stacey, Jenny (Joe) Buysse, and Scott (Tammy) Froehle; 14 grandchildren: Rich, Carolynn, Christopher, the late Kenneth, Lauren, Brian, Matthew, Kimberly, Taylor, Samantha, Conner, Adam, Emily-Jo, Devon; 6 great-grandchildren with one on the way: Roman, Kent, the soon to be George, Lily, Kaydence, Michael, and Lizzy; siblings: Tom (late Nancy) Froehle, Jim (Mary) Froehle, Donald (Sally) Froehle, Mary (Phil) Hummeldorf and the late William (Therese) Froehle, late Dorothy Eagle, and late Mike (Pat) Froehle. Memorial visitation at Hodapp Funeral Home, 6041 Hamilton Ave., College Hill, Friday, June 3, from 4-7 p.m. Memorial Mass of Christian Burial at St. Clare Church, 1443 Cedar Ave., College Hill, Saturday 10 a.m. Memorials may be directed to St. Clare or St. Rita’s School for the Deaf.