Shirley Elaine Fritz, age 88, of Bryan, Ohio, died of natural causes on the morning of Monday, February 15, 2021. Born November 22, 1932, and raised on a farm near Hicksville, Ohio, Shirley was the daughter of Russell and Orpha (Kimmel) Hilbert. She met her husband of 60 years, Ward Fritz, while attending the Farmer School. After graduating from Defiance College, Shirley became a teacher, primarily of high school English at Fairview High School. She also directed plays, acted as class advisor and supervised yearbook publications. Over her thirty-year career she taught thousands, including children and grandchildren of her earliest pupils. Her life, her warmth and caring positively affected generations.
An avid reader, Shirley’s home was filled with books and she enjoyed years of book club membership. She was a founding member of the Mothers of Twins Club and a life-long member of the Methodist Church. She also loved the outdoors and camped extensively in State and National Parks throughout the United States and Canada. She was happiest hiking mountain trails and photographing their national wonders. She shared these passions in slide shows she created for campground and community programs. Her children and grandchildren fondly remember nights around the campfire, particularly in her beloved Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Shirley is survived by three daughters – Loreli (Steven) Fritz Cohn of Highland Park, IL, Toinette (Jack) Wills of Gahanna, OH, and Teresa (John) Marsh of Pickerington, OH; eight grandchildren – Ben Cohn, Julia (Cohn) Rugletic, Joseph Wills, Nathan Wills, Hilary Barnhart, Elaine Casa, Robert Marsh and Kate (Marsh) Heiner; and nine great-grandchildren – Jackson Patrick Cohn, McKenna Burchett, Ella and Gabriel Casa, Brynn and Anderson Barnhart, Lily and Harper Marsh and Reid Heiner.
Shirley was preceded in death by her husband, Ward, in 2014 and sister, Eva Gaye Tomlinson of Bryan, in 2019.
Because of the pandemic, a memorial service will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers and in accordance with Shirley’s love, the family requests that memorials go to the National Park Foundation through its online “Tribute Gifts” link. Please check the “Mail a Card” box with the “Tribute Acknowledge” directed to Toni Wills, 469 Beaverbrook Drive, Gahanna, OH 43230.