Obituary for William Henderson Friesell III
William Henderson Friesell, III, a 37-year resident of Vero Beach passed away Friday evening, March 10, 2017, at the age of 98 years old. He was born in Pittsburgh, PA August 27, 1918 to Gertrude S. and William H. Friesell, Jr., the famous “5th Down Red” who refereed Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl and NFL championship games.
Mr. Friesell graduated from Lawrenceville Prep School in NJ and Princeton University where he was a member of the 3-yr. undefeated 150 lb. football team. He was University middle-weight boxing champion and undefeated middle-weight intermural wrestling champion. He also was a member of the Triangle Club, a chorus line leader for 3 years and a member of the Elm Dining Club.
After college he joined U.S. Steel Corporation and became a production executive running the Edgar Thompson Mill situated along the Monongahela River. The mill produced 90% of the tank and battleship armor for the U.S. military forces and navy during WWII. He went on to manage steel production in all of US Steel’s mills on the Monongahela. He was a pioneer in introducing oxygen injection into the steel making process, which ultimately led to the introduction of Basic Oxygen Furnaces (BOF).
He loved golf, fishing and hunting. He was one of the first bow hunters in Pennsylvania, long before archery season was inaugurated. His most memorable trophy was a ruffed grouse. He was an avid fisherman on the Indian River Lagoon, spending many hours wading and/or fishing from his Jon boat.
Bill was well known for taking an active interest in the community and “telling it like it is.” As a frequent contributor to Letters to the Editor and to his friends in local government, he was always ready with a constructive observation or suggestion.
He was a member of Dodger Pines CC, Pups Foot GC, Edgewood CC (Pgh.), Longue Vue CC (Pgh.), Seaview CC (NJ), Riomar Yacht Club, Vero Beach Yacht Club, Grand Harbor Beach Club, and Sea Oaks. He helped in the beginning stages of the Vero Beach Center for the Arts and the Riverside Theatre by chairing a golf event whose proceeds supported these institutions. He was a life member of all Masonic Orders, Syria Shrine and the Royal Order of Jesters #2, Pittsburgh. PA.
He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Mary Jean Elkin, also of Pittsburgh; two sons, William H. Friesell, IV (wife Susan) of Vero Beach, and Ernst Elkin Friesell of Alamosa, CO; 3 grandchildren: William H., V (Quint and wife Brittney), Elizabeth Mason (husband Brett) and Christopher; and 3 great-grandchildren: Abby Mason, Georgia and Lily Friesell.
Memorial contributions in his memory may be made to: Indian River County Volunteer Ambulance Squad, Inc., P.O. Box 2240, Vero Beach, FL 32961-2240.