Cover photo for Gerald Frieling's Obituary
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1930 Gerald 2018

Gerald Frieling

April 29, 1930 — September 3, 2018

Gerald H. Frieling, Jr., 88 died on September 3, 2018 at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Mishawaka, IN after a short illness. His wife of 63 years, Joan, passed away in 2015. Mr. Frieling was born on April 29, 1930 in Kansas City, Missouri to Mary Ann (Coons) and Gerald H. Frieling, Sr. He was a graduate of Border Star Elementary School and Southwest High School, both in Kansas City where he grew up to become an Eagle Boy Scout and earn its life saving medal. He then graduated from the University of Kansas where he was named the outstanding Mechanical Engineering graduate of 1951.

During the Korean Conflict he served three years on active duty in the United States Naval Reserves as a Lieutenant. During the Vietnam era of the 1970’s, he not only served as a consultant to the Secretary of the Army drafting legislation for the creation of the all-volunteer Army, but also cooperated with the CIA in sensitive information gathering in Russia.

Mr. Frieling enjoyed a 62 year rewarding career in business and civic affairs. As a Strategic Business Unit manager for Texas Instruments, he received several patents in the field of Metallurgy and Metal Working and was awarded the Wire Industry’s Research citation and Gold Medal for his developments. One of his developments was the creation of a composite center conductor used in coaxial cables for internet connections. This further resulted in an invitation to speak before the Italian Parliament regarding more efficient use of natural resources by reducing their dependency on imported materials. He was also Vice President and President of the Metallurgical Systems Division of Air Products and Chemicals of Allentown, PA. a Fortune 500 public company, where among other achievements, he created a joint venture with North American Aviation for the commercialization of technology used in the flight and landing on the moon. He then became Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of National Standard in Niles, MI and, later Tokheim, Inc. of Ft. Wayne, IN, two public New York Stock Exchange listed companies, both with domestic and international operations. In 1986 he was honored with the Distinguished Engineering Service Award from the University of Kansas and was named the Mechanical Engineering Man-of-the-Year in 2011. Throughout his career, her served as a director of five public companies, six private firms and nine Not-for-profit organizations or educational institutions.

His interest in education led him to teach as an adjunct professor in business schools at both Brown University and the University of Notre Dame. Having access to a new elementary level school science program, created by the University of Kansas and SMU, he started the Mr. Science program within the Niles, MI public school system. In addition, he authored two books on genealogy, culture and family values, the latest of which was published in May, 2018.

He was active in civic affairs as a member and chapter Chairman of the Young Presidents Organization, a Chamber of Commerce Vice President and Capital Campaign Chairman of the Salvation Army. He was also an Elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Niles, MI and active in several social and professional clubs in Niles, South Bend and Chicago.

Survivors include son John and daughter-in-law Susan of Sherborn, MA, son Robert and daughter-in-law Lori of Wayland, MA, daughter Nancy and son-in-law Scott Tyler of Niles, MI, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Private burial and family services will be held on Friday, September 7, 2018 at Woodlawn Cemetery in Grand Rapids, MI.

The family will receive visitors on Saturday, September 8, 2018 in the Parlor at First Presbyterian Church 13 S. 4th Street Niles from 10:00 am until Noon.

Memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church Foundation.

Services have been entrusted to Halbritter Wickens Funeral Home 615 E. Main St. Niles, MI.

Condolence to the family may be made at

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, September 8, 2018

10:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

First Presbyterian Church

13 S 4th St, Niles, MI 49120

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