This is a beautifully crafted remembrance written by my husband  for his stepfather who departed us on 10/30/2012

Rest in Peace Bob Friedrichs. Bob passed away Tuesday 10/30 at the age of 96. I waited to post because I wanted to be sure that close family had been notified first. 

Bob and my mom Ethel were married in summer of 1986. Overtime Bob became my family. He was an extraordinary person. He changed our life for the better in significant ways, from changing our backyard on 18th Ave into a beautiful garden with a deck and a gazebo and roses for my mom, decorating our home with art (both his own and other's), bringing an appreciation for history, political commentary, culture, travel, and cuisine (not just German). We had many entertaining and lively discussions over meals. 

I will always remember him gardening, painting downstairs, working at his work bench. He had incredible mechanic skills and could see a space, envision a way to transform it into something improved, and then proceed to make it happen, quickly and with precision. No shelf was built by Bob in our house that isn't level. Once on 18th Ave, a metal classic style bench we had in front of our gate was stolen. We had recently removed a chain that linked it to our gate, because we thought the chain was unsightly. Upon seeing the theft, Bob went and purchased some lumber, came home, built a new bench, and used metal screws to fasten it to our house's outside wall. I'm pretty sure that bench is screwed all the way into our neighbor's house. To which Bob added, when the next earthquake takes the house down, the bench will still be here.

Bob lived three lifetimes. Born in Germany, Bob lost his mother and elder brother to Spanish Influenza. He was raised by his grandparents in his earliest years. He came over to the US with his father and step mother at the age of 12. They started out in Rochester, New York and then moved to the Bay Area, living in San Francisco and Daly City and eventually settling in San Jose, where he grew up with his two sisters including Inga whom I have the pleasure of knowing. Bob learned orthopedics as a trade from his father.

Bob married Eva and they would have three children, Robert, Ingrid (Sue) and Bill. Bill taught me how to ski in Colorado at Loveland and Copper Mountain. I remember being able to see the Continental Divide while keeping my legs firmly locked in the snow plow position. That was after a road trip that Bob, Mom and I took through Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, including sites of Grand Canyon, etc. Robert, his wife Liz, and son Jonathan took me on a bike trip through Napa County that I still remember very well. And I will always remember many delicious dinners with Sue, a wonderful host whom for Bob embodied many of the characteristics of her mother. 

Bob served in the US Army as a Master Sergeant during WW II stationed at El Paso, Texas. He ran an Orthepedics shop and also served as a translator for German prisoners of war. I loved his time in the Army. 

Back in San Jose, he worked with Hittenberger Prosthetics, (going off of memory of what I've heard for this part) and that ran his own Orthopedics business which was very successful. After a long successful run, he closed that business and came to Shriner's Hospital to run their Orthopedics shop; at Shiner's he would eventually meet my mom Ethel.

I'm thinking now of Sonny and Ray who worked for Bob at the shop at Shriner's. Eventually, after Bob had retired, Shriner's moved up to Sacramento and all it's employees moved. Ray stopped by a few years ago, and Mom let him choose one of Bob's paintings for himself, a Napa Valley scene. And Ray was visibly delighted to get it. "REALLY?!" I'm told was the explanation. I think that for the majority of folks, if you knew Bob professionally, he had your respect. Because he was a master in his field. 

It was tough to watch him slow down over the past few years. Back around 2003, Mom adopted a rat terrier named Toby for Bob, and Bob and Toby became inseparable. Where ever Bob went, Toby went, meals, naps, etc. My wife Tawnya fondly recalls Bob with Toby on his laps speaking German to him, "oh Toby, you're my dog, du bist hound." 

Bob and my Mom had a wonderful life together. I'm grateful to him for the happiness he brought us. Sometimes he drove us crazy, but that's part of the package. He was an incredibly strong person and definitely a person you don't meet everyday.
Mom and Bob

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