Friedrich “Fritz” Heinz von Richthofen, age 83, a resident of Watkinsville, Georgia, passed away on Saturday, June 10, 2017, at Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital, Athens, Georgia.
Friedrich “Fritz” Heinz von Richthofen, age 83, a resident of Watkinsville, Georgia, passed away on Saturday, June 10, 2017, at Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital, Athens, Georgia. Fritz was born the son of Heinz and Gabriele von Richthofen on June 2, 1934, in Silesia, Germany, a former Prussian Province, east of East Germany and since the Helsinki Détente Agreement of the “Allies”, has been made part of Poland. Fritz came to the United States in 1963 and became a citizen in 1983. He was united in marriage to Helen Louise Frizzell December 22, 1966. They lived in Europe for one and a half years. Fritz was a devoted husband and a man of faith. He loved and was devoted to his career at the Donaldson Company and Conwed Plastics. He grew up on the estate of his father, who was a cousin of the Red Baron Manfred von Richthofen fighter pilot in World War I. When Fritz was age 10 they had to leave their home when the area became a battle zone of the German-Russian-Front toward the end of World War II. The family left by horse-drawn wagon train in the bitter cold winter of 1944/45. They trecked through East Germany and across northern Czechoslovakia, always barely ahead of the Russian troops. They arrived in Northern Bavaria in May of 1945, just prior to the end of World War II. The family resettled in Frankonia, a North Bavarian Province, where Fritz attended high school. Following school and the mandatory industrial apprenticeship, he studied engineering. He received a B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a M.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering. Fritz decided to start his professional career in the U.S.A. and thus accepted a position with an international company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He arrived in the U.S. (New York City) on November 11, 1963 (the very day late President, John F. Kennedy was assassinated). After several years with the Donaldson Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Chillicothe, Missouri, Fritz joined Conwed Plastics. He was transferred from Minneapolis to Athens, Georgia, July of 1977, where he was responsible for the new plant start-up. He served there as plant manager until his retirement in 1999. Fritz’s interests were anthropology and history and, therefore, he loved to travel. During college he traveled to and through Afghanistan with a jeep all the way from Germany. A student-internship program allowed him to spend one summer in Egypt; and a job as engineer’s assistant on a German tramp freighter took him to the Caribbean Islands and to South America. Together Helen and Fritz traveled extensively in Europe and on a sabbatical leave, they traveled around the world for one whole year in 1973 and 1974. In Athens, community interests allowed him to serve on the Board of Directors of the local Boys Club. He was a member and held offices in the Chamber of Commerce, Business Council of Georgia, Athens Area Industrial Management Group, Rotary Club and the First United Methodist Church. Over the years Fritz and Helen have acted as hosts for many international students, some who were attending the University of Georgia in Athens. Survivors include his wife, Helen of the home; three Godchildren, Cornelia von Halem, Kai von Massenbach, and Amelie Reese; and one sister, Marina von Halem plus several other nieces, nephews and cousins. Surviving family in the Chillicothe area include three sisters-in-law and their families. Willa Vee George (Jim), Gail O’Bryan (Jack) and Lois Frizzell. He was preceded in death by his parents; and one sister, Karin von Massenbach. A graveside service will be held at the Burnside Cemetery, Chillicothe, Missouri, on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. Memorial contributions may be made to the Burnside Cemetery and may be left at or mailed to Lindley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 47, Chillicothe, Missouri 64601. Online condolences may be made at www.lindleyfuneralhomes.com Arrangements are under the direction of Lindley Funeral Home, Chillicothe, Missouri.