In Memory

Jeff Fritz - Class Of 1961

Jeff Fritz

Jeff was one of our first classmates to die.  He death was reported by the Plain Dealer as a violent homicide at a local hotel on November 16, 1977.  His death is a reminder that an openly non-straight lifestyle in the '60's was a risk that persons such as Jeff had to endure.  It is one of the few things that occurred during our high school years that has gotten better over the years.

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05/09/10 03:15 PM #1    

Merilynn Nunn (Hyland) (1961)

I will say what needs to be said: Jeff had a remarkable talent with the baton.  In another time, another life, he could have been what he really was.  God rest his soul.

05/14/10 02:34 PM #2    

Don Kuehn (1961)

I knew Jeff going well back to elementary school.  When I was young I saw humor in his behavior and mannerisms, but as I grew up I became more sympathetic to his situation.  I know that he never had it easy and it's a shame that someone has to go through life that way. 

06/09/10 11:49 AM #3    

Adrienne Pfahl (Schmidt) (1961)

Jeff and I were friends throughout Jr. High and High School.  Let's talk about the elephant in the room.  He was gay, when gay wasn't accepted.  I truly think he didn't understand it himself.  Today he could be the leader of "A Chorus Line" and be a star. (Or a designer) He gave me several gifts during the time I knew him, one being a beautiful cloisonne compact.  I loved it and saved it all these years.  I removed the top "cloisonne" and made a pin out of it.  It resides in my jewelry box and still brings a smile to my face when I see it.  My Mother, who knew Mrs. Fritz, would often tell me to be nice to Jeff.  (Funny how our parents couldn't discuss with us the gay situation)  Our kids are so much wiser and the grandkids are eons ahead of us.  Mom later sent me the clipping about Jeff's  murder and expressed her sadness about his death.  She was ahead of her time!  I still have the clipping in my 1961 Yearbook.  He was a great friend!

06/17/10 01:02 PM #4    

Merilynn Nunn (Hyland) (1961)

I had no idea that Jeff was murdered!  I am so sorry he had to suffer such a horrible end!  I will always remember him as being kind.  Adrienne said it all when she said our children and grandchildren are so much wiser about this.  Perhaps when I spoke to my daughter and grandsons about gay people, I had Jeff in mind, and did not want anyone to suffer the agony of loneliness and confusion that was put on him by a society not ready to face the truth.  Again I say God bless him!

07/13/10 10:02 AM #5    

Walt Githens (1961)

Submitted on behalf of Jerry Immell RRHS Class 1960

I was in the RRHS class of 1960. I didn't know Jeff, but I do remember he was an easy target for ridicule and bullying.

When a classmate and I were looking through the Riverlet and saw Jeff's picture holding his baton, we both expressed hope that he had made it through life OK. Then a web search led me to the sad news on your site.

According to the Social Security Death Index, Jeff was born 8/1/42 and died 11/16/77, and his last residence was Virginia.

May he rest in peace.

Jerry Immel  RRHS 1960

09/26/10 10:17 AM #6    

Sue Cramer (Emdin) (1961)

 I always enjoyed Jeff.  Being a person who really liked those that were different, he was a treat.  Myparents participated in theater a lot so were very open about gays in a time when that was unusual. Jeff was a good and fun friend and I am so glad to see that there were a few others that liked him too. He had to put up with a lot at River in those olden times.  I am shocked to hear about his violent death but not totally surprised I guess.  He was pretty openly gay and could have provoked a certain element adversely. 

 I miss you Jeff!!!

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