Eugenie Steuer Friedman, granddaughter of Oscar F. Mayer, passed away peacefully at the age of 88, Tuesday, June 3, 2014, surrounded by her loving family, at her home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
"Genie" was born July 13, 1925, in Chicago, Illinois, to Elsie Mayer Steuer and Joseph True Steuer. Following the premature death of her father when she was 6 years old, Genie, her mother and younger brother, Joe Jr., moved in with her maternal grandfather, Oscar F. Mayer, at the family residence in Chicago. There, she grew up amidst an extended family consisting of her mother, brother, grandfather, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins.
Genie attended The Frances Parker School and graduated from Chicago's Girls' Latin School. She then enrolled at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she majored in geology, and graduated in 1947 with a B.A. in geology. Friedman Hall, donated by Genie and her husband, Bob, remains as a living memorial to her on the Smith campus.
Following her graduation, she met Bob Friedman, from the small town of Tiffin. They married May 1, 1948, at the home of her grandfather, and Genie moved from the metropolis of Chicago to Tiffin, where she had their five children. Her life in Tiffin spanned 22 years, during which she raised her children and served as the hostess to numerous scions of industry from around the world who visited National Machinery Company, then Tiffin's largest employer and the world's most successful manufacturer of hot and cold forging and forming equipment, of which her husband served as president and chief executive officer for those 22 years. As she always did, Genie adapted beautifully to her environment.
In 1970, the family donated their Tiffin home on 22 acres to the Betty Jane Memorial Rehabilitation Center, established in memory of Bob's sister, Betty Jane. That property today houses Friedman Village, which provides independent and assisted living to the senior community. Genie and her family then moved to Fort Lauderdale, where she lived for the remainder of her life. She and Bob spent every summer at Big Cedar Lake in West Bend, Wisconsin, in the home built by her grandfather. Truly, this home was where her heart was.
Genie was the primary inspiration to Bob's second career as a composer. He wrote more than 100 songs performed and recorded by the greatest jazz and big band artists. Many of these capture her spirit of joie de vivre that infected all who were privileged to know her.
Genie and Bob supported various causes. Some beneficiaries of their philanthropy include Smith College, The Institute for Civic Involvement at Pine Crest School, Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Northwestern University, The Milwaukee School of Engineering, Red Cross, Wounded Warriors, The Curious Kids Museum in St. Joseph, Michigan, and countless others.
Genie was most admired for and gratified by the job she did as a mother raising her five children, four daughters and a son. She showed unconditional love for her five children, 15 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. She encouraged her entire family. Genie was everyone's best friend and biggest fan.
Genie is survived by her brother, Joseph (Jamie) Steuer, of Madison, Wisconsin; her son, Robert Taft Friedman of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; her four daughters, Elizabeth (Daniel) O'Connor of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jennifer (Robert) Hillis of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Mary (Douglas) Baske of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Jane (Robert) Anspach of Perrysburg; 15 grandchildren, Eugenie (Kahlil) O'Connor, Elizabeth (Chris) Elsbury, Danny (Solidea) O'Connor, Catherine (Sean) Hough, Genevieve (Brian) Hillis, Bobby Hillis, Allison (Vance) Wiese, Adam (Abby) Baske, Emily (Fletcher) Reeves, Michael Anspach, Bobby Anspach, John Anspach, James Friedman, Will Friedman and Mary Friedman; and 11 great-grandchildren, Jackson, Evelyn and Charlotte Reeves, Ava and Jane Wiese, Jack and Patrick Elsbury, Connor and Juliette Hough and Elisa and Clara O'Connor.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her beloved husband, Bob; and a great-granddaughter, Sophie O'Connor.
The family wishes to extend its love and eternal thanks to Dr. Joel Gellman for his extraordinary care of Genie. And to Marta Bosch, whose many years of friendship and devotion deserve the most heartfelt thanks. Finally, to all of Genie's caregivers, Rick Shaw, Elva Hodzic, Karen Wirkus and Antonia Antunez, the family extends its undying gratitude.
Visitation will be 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, June 7, 2014, at Fred Hunter Funeral Home, 718 S. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale.
Her funeral Mass will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Anthony's Church, Fort Lauderdale.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Smith College, The Wounded Warriors' Foundation or Cedar Lake Conservancy Foundation.
"She's a one-in-a-million girl who's got a smile for everyone. A smile saying, 'Everything's fine.' Her heart is so open to you that you just can't help yourself. You have to feel the gal is divine. She's a symphony to me, she's a symphony in G, She's a symphony in goodness and grace. Her friends can share her goodness, her grace is hers alone and, Heaven-sent, heaven-bent, Genie's for me."
Written by Bob Friedman for his beloved Genie.