Roland Oscar Friedrich, 94

Roland Oscar Friedrich, 94, recently died surrounded by the love of his family and comforted by his steadfast faith in Jesus Christ and the resurrection. He was a kind and gentle spirit who embraced everyone, judged none, and was the unwavering rock for all. 

Roland was born in 1930 on the kitchen table of the family home in Milwaukee, WI to the late Oscar and Anna Friedrich. Roland adored his older sister, Elsie. The two spent countless hours together as children and remained extremely close their entire lives, including their last hurrah at Commonwealth Senior Living. Fishing, reading, and eating dessert were some of Roland’s passions during childhood that continued into adulthood. Much to the chagrin of his mother, Roland collected many pets, including chipmunks, snakes, chameleons, painted turtles, and goldfish.

Roland graduated from Rufus King High School where he excelled as a student and played on the tennis team. During this time, he held jobs such as delivering newspapers and setting pins by hand at a local bowling alley. After high school, Roland was working at the Pittsburgh Paint Company when a company chemist told him to consider attending college. Thus prompted, Roland studied for two years at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and completed his B.S in Chemical Engineering degree at The University of Wisconsin-Madison. While there, Roland was introduced on a blind date to Mitzi Aschenbrenner and the two were inseparable.  Together they attended movies, parties, dances and sporting events. After graduation in 1952, Roland accepted a job in Oak Ridge, TN.   The only advance information that Roland could be told was that the job would be more mechanical than chemical, involved testing equipment used in the uranium gaseous diffusion plant (K-25) and that he would need a Top Secret Security Clearance. Roland and Mitzi married in 1954, living in Oak Ridge, but soon moved to Aberdeen, MD while Roland served in the Army. Their first child was born in Aberdeen. They returned to Oak Ridge in 1957.

Roland worked at K-25 gaseous diffusion plant in the Operations and Analysis Department. His career spanned over 40 years helping determine the most effective equipment and processes for enriching uranium, and analyzing equipment for the entire plant. Additionally, Roland spent several years on two other projects: desalination of seawater and centrifuge enrichment of uranium.

In retirement, Roland and Mitzi spent time traveling, enjoying ORICL continued learning trips and classes and attending many Oak Ridge community events. On Friday nights in the fall, you could find them in the stands of Blankenship Field cheering on the ORHS football Wildcats. Together, they cherished participating in their children’s and grandchildren’s special life events and their everyday activities while keeping in touch with friends and relatives.

Roland was an active member of Faith Lutheran Church, attending worship even in his last years. He led Bible Studies for decades and held numerous leadership roles at Faith. He loved his Faith church family. Roland was a key reader of scientific, math, and engineering textbooks with the organization Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. Roland enjoyed vegetable gardening, creating bird and animal habitats in his yard, working jigsaw puzzles, stamp collecting, playing tennis, and Bible reading.

Roland is survived by his four children: Mark Friedrich (Sue) of Isle of Palms, SC; Jim Friedrich (Nancy) of Knoxville, TN; Doug Friedrich (Terry) of Smyrna, GA; and Laura Dix (Matt) of Ashburn, VA. Also, grandchildren: Stephen (Betsy), Craig (Caroline), David (Sarah), Annika, Jacob, Kaley, and Erika; and great-grandchildren: Sarah Grace, Jane, Claire, Mary, Ezra, and Eliza. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews. Roland is predeceased by the love of his life Mitzi Ann Aschenbrenner Friedrich, wife of 68 years; sister Elsie Schmied Knoke, brother-in-law Walter Schmied and brother-in-law Cal Knoke.

Roland recently celebrated his 94th birthday with chocolate cake accompanied by his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren! 

The family will receive friends on Saturday, March 9th at Peace Lutheran Church, 621 N. Cedar Bluff Rd. in Knoxville, TN. Visitation begins at 1:00 pm. All of Roland’s favorite desserts will be shared. The Memorial Service begins at 2:00 pm, immediately followed by a graveside service at Oak Ridge Memorial Gardens. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Paradox Teen Center (ministry), 305 New York Ave, Oak Ridge, TN, 37830, or the charity of your choice.

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