Obituary for Jean Friesell
JEAN ELKIN FRIESELL
2/15/1923 - 6/25/2017
Mary Jean Elkin Friesell died peacefully at the VNA Hospice House in Vero Beach, FL, on June 25th, 2017. Her husband William H. (Bill) Friesell, III, predeceased her on March 10th of this year.
Jean was born in Pittsburgh, PA. Her parents were Ernst Mueller Elkin and Hazel Elkin. Ernst Elkin was General Counsel of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Jean graduated early from Peabody High School in Pittsburgh, having skipped two grades, and then attended Grove City College, where she graduated at the age of 19. At Grove City, Jean was president of her sorority and very active in student government, being Student Council Secretary, a member of the Women’s Governing Board, and President of the M.A.P. House Council. She was also an accomplished actress, being a member of Theta Alpha Phi and the Honorary Dramatic Fraternity. As a pinnacle of recognition, Jean was elected May Queen.
After Grove City, Jean became a member of the first class that ever included women at the Wharton Graduate School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her MBA at the age of 21, in spite of being married in the summer after her first year and having her first son, Bill, 3 weeks before she graduated.
Jean married Bill Friesell July 30, 1943. They lived in Edgewood, PA where Jean was an active member of the community. She volunteered many hours for the Red Cross in Pittsburgh. She was president of the Wilkinsburg Junior Section, a member of the Edgewood Presbyterian Church and a dedicated follower of local government. She studied the issues diligently, often attending council meetings and voicing her opinion. She had an insatiable appetite to learn. In fact, while her son Bill was a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University in the MSIA program, Jean was invited to audit some of Bill’s courses. Legend is that her attendance record was often better than Bill’s!
In 1979, Jean and Bill moved to Vero Beach, FL, where Jean continued her active participation in the community. Early on, she was one of a group of women responsible for the creation and success of the Vero Beach Museum of Art. An avid reader, she was also a founding member of the Indian River Literary Society. She loved bridge and golf, but her family and friends were her true loves.
She is survived by her sons, William H. (Bill), IV, wife Susan of Vero Beach; and Ernst Elkin (Elk) Friesell of Alamosa, CO. Grandchildren include William H. (Quint) Friesell, V, wife Brittney; Elizabeth Mason, husband Brett; and Christopher Friesell. She has 3 great-grandchildren; Abby Mason and Georgia and Lily Friesell.
Memorial gifts may be made to the VNA and Hospice Foundation, 1110 35th Lane, Vero Beach, FL 32960-4801; or online at: https.//foundation.vnatc.com.