L. Donald (Don) Fritsch entered into his eternal rest on Friday, December 24, 2021. He was the youngest child of Lawrence and Emma Fritsch, born on September 25, 1935, in Sylvania Twp. When he was a young boy, he moved to Richfield Twp., where he grew up on the family dairy farm. Don graduated from Sylvania Burnham High School in 1953. As a young man he and his brother, John, began farming and raising hogs together, which they continued to do together for 30 years. He also served his country in the National Guard. On May 13, 1961, Don married the love of his life, Jane Langenderfer.
Don loved farming, and it was the only career he ever considered, despite his parents’ desire that he attend college. He cared deeply about the farming community and was an advocate for issues that supported family farms. He served for many years on the local Farm Service Agency board In 1986 he began farming with his son, Dan, a partnership that lasted the rest of his life.
Throughout his life he worked hard, according to the Fritsch tradition, but he was also a fun-loving man who knew how to enjoy life. As a youth he loved playing softball and participating in TCCY dances and drama presentations. As an adult, he enjoyed bowling in multiple leagues, dancing, and dining out. He always loved socializing with friends and family. Don was a model of love and generosity to all those he met. As he often said, “you can’t out-do God in generosity.” He genuinely loved people and was a natural at making friends and making people feel valued.
Don was devoted to his family. He was determined that his eight children be well-educated, and he was a life-long supporter of Catholic education. He rarely missed his children’s and grandchildren’s sporting events and other activities. Don was also a leader in many ways in support of the schools his children attended, and he served several terms on school councils. Don was instrumental in helping to found the Holy Trinity Athletic Boosters. One year, he spent many hours helping to construct a new softball field at Notre Dame Academy, even driving his tractor and equipment all the way from his home to NDA! Don especially loved having his large family gathered together, and he looked forward to their annual family vacations. He also loved simply being at home, whether he was playing cards, or relaxing around the swimming pool, or watching his children and grandchildren play basketball or cornhole. He cherished his relationship with his Grandpa Joe (his “buddy,”) and desired to be a fixture in his own grandchildren’s lives. Countless times over the years he was found drinking a cold beer and cooking on a hot grill. Don was always quick with his “Dad jokes,” even in the final days of his life, and he loved to tell stories about the old days.
Don and his beloved Janie remained deeply in love and committed to one another through their marriage of 53 years. Don strove to be a Godly husband and took seriously God’s directive that “husbands should love their wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Don lost Jane to breast cancer in 2014, and he missed her immensely for the rest of his life.
Above all, Don’s life was committed to knowing, loving, and serving Jesus Christ. He enthusiastically served God and the church in countless ways over his lifetime. He served his local parish as a member of pastoral council, as a lector, as a Eucharistic minister, and in numerous other ways over the years. Don found his true passion in the Cursillo movement. When he experienced the Cursillo in the 1970’s, it had a dramatic impact on his spiritual life. In the decades that followed, he brought countless people closer to Christ through his ministry in the Cursillo. In the 1980’s he began doing prison ministry by helping to take the Cursillo into the Federal Correction Institute in Milan, MI, a ministry that he continued for almost 30 years. The love Don felt for Jesus was palpable to those who knew him. His passion for sharing his faith in and love for Jesus with others never waned until his own health challenges made it impossible for him to continue.
Because of the way Don reflected God’s love to others, he was well loved, and will be dearly missed by all those who knew him. Don is survived by his children, Donald J. Fritsch, Daniel (Marie) Fritsch, Timothy (Linda) Fritsch, Ronald (LeeAnn) Fritsch, Gregory (Michelle) Fritsch, Cathy (Scott) Lumbrezer, Jennifer (Michael) Rafferty, and Christopher (Natalee) Fritsch; his grandchildren, Donald, Kimberly, Elizabeth, Brittany, Nicholas, Ryan, Jessica, Genna, Josh, Allison, Jason, Abigail, Emily, Zachary, Brian, Elyse, Evan, Alex, Sean, Brendan, Mackenzie, Noah, and Ella; and great-granddaughter, Natalia. Preceding him in death were his wife, Jane Fritsch; his parents, Lawrence and Emma Fritsch; siblings, Helen Schmidt, Bernadine Natter, Rosemary DeBruyn, Mary Alice Byersmith, John Fritsch, and Katherine Gabel; daughter-in-law, Kristin Fritsch; and grandson, Jacob Fritsch.
Family and friends may visit at Reeb Funeral Home, 5712 N. Main St., Sylvania, Ohio on Thursday, December 30, 2021, from 2:00 until 9:00, with a scripture service at 7:00. His Mass of Resurrection will be at Holy Trinity Church in Assumption on Friday, December 31, 2021 at 11:00, where visitation will begin at 10:00. Interment will follow at Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Marygrove.
Don’s service will be live streamed from Holy Trinity Catholic Parish
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Those wishing to make monetary donations are asked to consider Holy Trinity Catholic Parish or The St. Vincent DePaul Society of Holy Trinity. Don’s tribute video can be viewed, and online condolences offered at www.reebfuneralhome.com.
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