Louise A. Fritze flag

Louise A. Fritze

Louise A. Fritze, 85, went to her Lord on Jan. 22, 2021, in Sebring, Florida. Born in Jamaica, Queens, New York on Dec. 8, 1935, to the late Harold and Alice (Mezzanote) Rehfeldt.

Louise was preceded in death by her first husband, Robert W. VanGorden, the father of their four children, in 1984. She is survived by Robert “Bob” C. Fritze; daughters, Louann Frank (John) and Elizabeth Heidt (Warren); sons, Robert VanGorden (Brooke) and Gary VanGorden (Keri); 12 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren; stepson, Robert E. Fritze (Annaliese) and his three children and three grandchildren.

Louise attended Bank Street College and the University of New York at Farmingdale to further her education as a preschool teacher. She started out at St. Luke’s Preschool, which was just opening. After a few years, the family decided to move upstate from Long Island to the town of Windham. Louise was offered a part-time job at the Windham school.

As she was not working full time, she opened a small store on their front porch called VanGorden’s Country Fabrics, which came in handy when she would sew costumes for the high school plays. Louise loved working with children and for over 20 years she was a teacher at Head Start in Catskill, New York, BOCES in Claverack, New York, and the Joyful Morning Preschool at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Cairo where she was the teacher/director.

After the passing of her first husband, Louise went back to college to boost her earnings and obtained an AAS degree in business and clerical work. She applied for and secured a position with the New York State Police at the Division Headquarters in Albany, New York. She retired from the New York State Police in 1991.

Louise met her second husband, Robert “Bob” Fritze, at Resurrection Lutheran Church in 1986 and they were married in January 1989. After retiring, Louise and Bob took many trips around our country visiting national parks, museums, presidential libraries encompassing 46 states including Alaska. They also enjoyed sailing their sailboat on the Hudson River and the Long Island Sound.

Louise also dabbled with drawing and painting in different mediums and got more serious in her later years. Her second husband Bob had purchased a box of over 100 glass negatives of the early years of the town of Athens, New York along the Hudson River. She painted in watercolor more than 50 canvases of different scenes from the negatives and donated several of them to the Athens Senior Club and the museum in Athens. She had also painted several different scenes of the Hudson-Athens lighthouse, which were sold to support the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society.

Louise and Bob were members of Lutheran churches most all their lives and were also members of Faith Lutheran Church in Sebring, Florida and members of the preschool board. Louise had a great love for the Lord which you could tell by the way she treated people and by the many notes she would write and leave in her Bible after contemplating the Word of God.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, at Faith Lutheran Church, 2740 Lakeview Drive, Sebring, Florida.

Arrangements entrusted to Stephenson-Nelson Funeral Home, 4001 Sebring Parkway, Sebring, FL 33870. Online condolences may be left at stephensonnelsonfh.com.