Monday, August 10, 2015

Updated: Obituary Betty Froelicher, may she rest in peace

Memory Tree from Betty's Funeral
Elizabeth Josephine “Betty” Froelicher, 75, of Mount Washington, christened Elizabeth Josephine because the Catholic Church insisted upon a saint’s name and her mother always wanted a Betty Jo died very early Tuesday morning, Aug. 4, 2015. She actually hated Josephine as her middle name and no one ever called her Elizabeth. She was in fact known by many names: daughter, sister, wife, aunt, godmother, cousin, friend and most often at the top of someone’s lungs “MOM!”

Educated by the Sisters of Notre Dame Academy and raised in Newport, Kentucky, considered then as a seedy part of Northern Kentucky for a good Catholic girl, she agreed to a blind date with a boy from St. Henry High School across town. Upon graduation she accepted an engagement ring placed in a dozen roses and married Gene Froelicher and unbeknownst to her at the time, his golf clubs, on Aug. 22, 1959.

Betty Jo began her adult life with Gene managing to remain completely unaffected by the 1960’s movements of free love, drugs & anti-war protests although she did love John F. Kennedy, Jr. She had her first of five children in 1962 and was called Mom for the first time. This was perhaps her greatest legacy and her finest gift. Betty became the true meaning of the Proverb: “Mother is a verb, not a noun.”

She was the kind of mother who took her children to the dentist every six months without fail but bought them ice cream afterwards because they hated going. She could herd all five children to church, to school or on a three-week trip out West without blinking and only lost one once. She almost always laughed hysterically at her family’s foibles much to Gene’s chagrin.

Deathly afraid of water she refused to allow her children to be the same and taught every single one of her children to swim. After chores were done summer vacation was spent at the local pool burning off the energy of her five children and turning them a dark shade of brown.

She taught her children to crawl, to walk, to run, to ride a bike and eventually how to drive a car vigorously using the imaginary brake on the passenger side of the car. Barring that, she put two feet on the dash and screamed. Sometimes the words were, “I hope you have five just like yourself!” and most often “I’m the best Mother you ever had!” She prayed as she handed them the keys to the car and to their lives. Oh, how she prayed.

Birthdays were never forgotten. Though they may not have been elaborate there was always a homemade cake and a present each year for each child. To Betty a designer Christmas tree was one decorated by her children. It mattered not if all the decorations landed at the bottom just as high as her children’s small hands could reach. No matter how tight the budget, each child received a visit from Santa and a gift from Mom and Dad. Easter baskets filled with candy were cleverly hidden for each child to discover on Sunday morning years after believing in the Easter Bunny.

Betty remained a dedicated and lifelong friend to many. A great evening often consisted of endlessly aggravating the Mount Washington City Council, sneaking a cigarette, drinking black coffee and talking for hours. She created beautiful things with her quilting buddies; joyous moments with her bowling team, and competed like a pro in bridge.

Her hands were never empty. Most often they held her children, then her beloved grandchildren. Often they held a diet soft drink and a sewing needle or a trashy novel. Betty was not one to be idle even as age began to restrict her ability to move as quickly as she would have liked.

Her only true affair could have said to have been with her beloved Louisville Cardinals. Rarely missing a game she cheered the Cards or cussed them vigorously depending on the score.

Great picture of Betty and Gene!
Betty loved food but not really to cook but she valiantly had dinner on the table at 5:30 every day when Gene returned home from GE. Despite the fact that she detested seafood of any kind, a result of being sent to the fish store every Friday during her childhood, she would bravely order the chicken at Gene’s favorite seafood restaurants without complaint. Homemade raviolis were always made for special occasions and on request, a daylong process, and her specialty.

The true love of her life was her husband Gene. August 22nd would have marked 56 years together. Betty loved Gene, gave him children, walked with him in life, a love true only to each other. How can you describe finishing one another’s thoughts? It is said that, “Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years.” Betty quilted a life together with Gene so strong that only death could separate them. We now must say good-bye.

She is survived by her husband Gene; two daughters, Michelle (David) Grant and Lea (Dave) Glauber; three sons, Gene Froelicher, Steve (Cabrini) Froelicher, and Peter (Peggy) Froelicher of Omaha, Neb.; one sister, Sister Mary Lea Paolucci, (Sister of Notre Dame of Park Hills); three brothers, Bernard (Mary) Paolucci of Erlanger; Clarence (Joan) Ensminger of Baltimore, Md. and Cocoa Beach, Fla., and Anthony (Maggie) Paolucci of Keizer, Ore.; and 12 grandchildren, Liz, Taylor, Emily, Tanner, Katie, Tab, Harrison, Olivia, Savannah, Xavier, Ben, and CeCe.

The funeral presided by Father Scott Wimsett was 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 7, 2015, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Mount Washington with burial in the church cemetery.

The Schmid Funeral Home in Mount Washington was in charge of arrangements.