Monday, January 20, 2003


Robert Froehlich, composing room foreman

By Nicole Hamilton
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Robert Joseph Froehlich had one of most demanding jobs at a newspaper. As foreman of the composing room, he was responsible for making sure the paper went to press on time.

"They used to call him `Frantic Froehlich' and they were right," said Alan Vonderhaar, the Enquirer's auto reviewer, who worked with Mr. Froehlich for decades.

Mr. Froehlich died Wednesday of heart failure while in transport to Christ Hospital. The longtime downtown resident was 74.

"He was charged with coaxing, cajoling, browbeating both printers and the editors to `get it in on time' and to do it right, while they were at it - a formidable task," Mr. Vonderhaar said. "I can't count the times his sharp eye caught mistakes that had made their way through the phalanx of editors - and that wasn't even his concern. The great respect I had for Bob as a professional matured into deep affection for him as a person."

"He was elegant. You'd think he was right out of the Rat Pack," said his son, Joseph Froehlich of Plano, Texas.

The two went to Las Vegas together at least once every year, where his father required they visit the casinos in white dress shirts, dark suits, ties and cufflinks.

"He was a real fun-loving guy, with a great sense of humor," his son said.

A graduate of then Purcell High School, Mr. Froehlich served in the Air Force in the early 1950s, where he was stationed in Greenland at a ground radar station.

After he was honorably discharged, he returned to Cincinnati and in 1958 began working as a typesetting apprentice in the Enquirer composing room and eventually worked his way up to foreman.

Mr. Froehlich retired from the Enquirer in 1983.

He spent his retirement years visiting Las Vegas, talking with his children and grandchildren and following the Cincinnati Reds.

Besides his son, Joseph, other survivors include three daughters, Ellen Augusta Menning of Garland, Texas, Joan Marie Froehlich-Bazar of Allen, Texas, and Janet Marie Fischer of McKinney, Texas; two sisters, Caroline McLarney of Orlando, Fla., and Mary Jane Porten of Edgewater, Fla.; and six grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. today at Schaefer & Busby Funeral Home, 24 W. 9th St., downtown.

The body will be cremated.

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