Mitzi Ann Aschenbrenner Friedrich, 90, died May 27 surrounded by her loving family. Mitzi’s life was defined by her faith in her Lord and Savior, her love for her family, her gracious outlook on life and empathy for others.
Mitzi was born April 1932 in Milwaukee, WI to the late Stephen Alexander Aschenbrenner and Mildred Lucille Flora Aschenbrenner. She was proud to be the daughter of her immigrant father from Hungary and mother of English descent and was raised in Cudahy, WI. As a child she enjoyed: ice skating, roller skating, swimming, dance classes, and visiting the Milwaukee County Parks. She was a member of Brownie and Girl Scouts. An only child, she was loved dearly and treated as a sister by her first-cousins Irma, Margie, Petie, and Joanie Seiy who lived across the alley. Even after Mitzi moved to Tennessee, they remained life-long friends.
Mitzi graduated as Salutatorian of her large senior class at Cudahy High School. In her spare time she worked part-time at Cudahy Brothers Company (keypunching sales information), belonged to Y-Teens, Library Round Table, and her church youth group. She enjoyed attending movies, sporting events and sock hops. She attended the University of Wisconsin- Madison where, as a sophomore, she met her future husband Roland Oscar Friedrich on a blind date. While dating, they attended movies, parties, dances and sporting events. She was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. After graduation, she completed her Dietetics internship at Vanderbilt University. Meanwhile, Roland completed his first year working in Oak Ridge at K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Uranium Enrichment Plant. They married in 1954 in Cudahy. Mitzi joined Roland in Oak Ridge, soon moved with him to Aberdeen, MD while Roland served in the Army (and their first child was born) and returned to Oak Ridge in 1957 where they raised their four children.
Mitzi was an avid reader, Lady Vols fan, letter writer, and supported every activity her children participated in, including an adult leader in Camp Fire Girls. In addition to her role as wife and mother, Mitzi had a career as a Registered Dietician (RD), spending many years serving families through WIC (Women, Infants and Children) nutrition program at county health departments throughout rural East Tennessee counties.
In retirement, Mitzi and Roland spent time traveling, enjoying ORICLE trips and classes and attending many Oak Ridge community events. On Friday nights you could find her in the stands of Blankenship Field cheering on the ORHS football Wildcats! Mitzi was a member of Faith Lutheran Church and active in many volunteer roles within the congregation, including prison ministry at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary and “adopting” a cottage of adult women residing at Eastern State (later Lakeshore) Mental Health Institute and continuing to visit and minister to them for 50 years even as they were scattered throughout Tennessee. She also spent time reading with students at Willowbrook Elementary. After the age of 80, she wrote a grant which assisted with additions to the skatepark at Paradox Teen Center (ministry) in Oak Ridge.
Mitzi is survived by her husband of 68 years, the love of her life, Roland Oscar Friedrich; also by her four children: Mark Friedrich (Sue) of Isle of Palms, SC; Jim Friedrich (Nancy) of Knoxville, TN; Doug Friedrich (Terry) of Smyrna, GA; and Laura Dix (Matt) of Ashburn, VA. Also, grandchildren: Stephen (Betsy), Craig (Caroline), David (Sarah), Michael, Jacob, Kaley and Erika; and great grandchildren: Sarah Grace, Jane, Claire, Ezra and Eliza. Also survived by sister-in-law Elsie Schmied Knoke and her husband Cal Knoke of Oak Ridge and many nieces and nephews. Mitzi is predeceased by brother-in-law Walter Schmied.
Mitzi recently celebrated her 90th birthday with a big party, lots of cake, and her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in attendance.
The family will receive friends Saturday, June 4th from 1:00 to 1:45 pm with a Celebration of Life service to follow at 2:00 pm at Faith Lutheran Church, 1300 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge, TN 37830.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Faith Lutheran Church, Oak Ridge, Paradox Teen Center (ministry), 305 New York Ave, Oak Ridge 37830, or the charity of your choice.