From left: Lee Mathew, Scott Hinshaw, Steve Shumaker, Craig Yahne, Matt Bracher, Mike Werling, Craig Fitch, Brian Harsberger, Dave (seated) John Leitz, Tom Myers, Mike Yovanoff, Dave Cline, Brian Frantz, Chip Buman.

“Dave’s Boys” honor MU friend and mentor Friermood

For more than 40 years, Dave Friermood served Manchester University – in charge of setting up for events, as director of maintenance and as a residence hall custodian to name just a few of his roles. Along the way he taught generations of his “boys” what it means to work hard and serve others.

Those who Friermood mentored and befriended when they were students and worked as his campus setup crew members surprised him Sunday with a heartfelt “thank you” luncheon at in the Enrichment Center at Peabody Retirement Community in North Manchester, where he lives.

 “We’ve had many distinguished teachers at Manchester over the years, and Dave Friermood is one of them. He never taught from the front of a classroom, but he taught our students lessons every day about caring and kindness by the way he treated them,” said Manchester University President Dave McFadden, who attended Sunday’s event. “It’s clear that Dave was an effective teacher because his ‘boys’ are showing him the same love and respect that he showed them.”

Dave Friermood with current scholarship recipient Mitch Eby.The Swayzee native retired in 2010, and those boys and their spouses set up the David L. Friermood Endowed Scholarship Fund in 2009. It has grown to nearly $92,000.

"Manchester students are blessed with many wonderful lifelong influences while on campus. For a great many, one such influence was Dave Friermood,” said Scott Hullinger, who graduated from Manchester in 1992 and is a current Board of Trustees member at the University. “Those of us who were lucky enough to live in Schwalm Hall while Dave was in charge of maintenance, or who worked for Dave over his 40-plus years at Manchester, were sincerely blessed by his examples of kindness, warmth, work ethic and humor.

“Dave treated us all like favorite nephews, despite our shenanigans in the hallways, and we certainly will always love him like a favorite uncle,” Hullinger said. “At an incredibly important time in our lives, Dave was the perfect Christian role model in every way. Decades later, we now bring our children and spouses to visit Dave so that they also might know this amazing man." 

In 2002, MU honored him with another surprise – naming a maintenance department building for him, the David Friermood Hall of Storage.

Friermood, 72, is a member of the Congregational Christian Church in North Manchester.

Mike Yovanoff, who graduated from Manchester in 1993, wrote a short tribute to Friermood:

“Dave was a father figure to a number of young men who resided in Schwalm Hall and who worked with him.  Dave also may have been the best teacher we had while attending Manchester. Dave taught us, through the way he has lived his life, the true meaning of Faith, Learning and Service.

“As we all sat together and reminisced about the 'good old days', it was great to see Dave’s face light up and hear him laugh, because we all know the fight against cancer isn’t easy.  I’m sure Dave uses the memories he has stored away to give him strength to continue the fight.  I think Sunday’s lunch refueled Dave’s tank to continue that fight.

“I’m going to steal a quote from Dave, ‘Thank You, Thank You, Thank You’ for being a part of my life, our lives.  We appreciate and cherish everything Dave has contributed to our lives.  I just wish there were more people like Dave in the world today.”

January 19, 2015

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