Eldon E. Frisch, 91, passed away November 16, 2020, in his home in Midland, Michigan. He will be remembered for his commitment to learning and higher education, his dedication to chemistry and science, his sense of humor, and his lasting love for his family.
Eldon was born in Merrill, MI, to Lewis and Ruby Frisch, on July 25, 1929, the third of four children. He attended Breckenridge High School, and, after early graduation, matriculated at Central Michigan University, where he studied chemistry, math, physics, and education. At CMU, he met his future wife, Genevieve. They were married in 1949 and were married for 68 years prior to Genevieve’s passing in 2017. He and Genevieve are survived by their children and their spouses, Fay VandenBerg (Craig), Larry Frisch (Jane), and Lynn Frisch (Larry Borden); by their grandchildren and their spouses, John VandenBerg (Lenin Jose Silva Ruiz), Amy VandenBerg (Amy Thompson), Ryan Frisch (Sara Brouwer), Lindsay Olsen (Devin); and by their great-grandchildren, Genevieve Frisch, Nicole VandenBerg, Calder Frisch, and Douglas VandenBerg. Eldon was preceded in death by his parents and three siblings, Elaine Doehring, Lou Frisch, and Lowell Frisch. He is survived by his sisters-in-law, Joyce Hindenlang, Lila Frisch, and Nancy Frisch; by his brothers-in-law Richard Johnson (Julie Graham), Keith Johnson, Ted Johnson (Flavio de Miranda Souza), John Johnson (Kandy); and by many nieces and nephews in his extended family.
After college, Eldon taught for several years, first at Richland High School and later at Hastings High School. In addition to teaching chemistry and physics, he coached football, basketball, tennis; taught physical education and math; and was a driver’s education teacher and a bus driver. His impact on his students can be measured by the yearly invitations he received to the class reunions for the students he taught at Richland, many of whom were only two or three years younger than he. In addition, many of his favorite humorous stories and memories were from his days as a teacher, coach, bus driver, and driver’s education instructor.
When offered an opportunity to put his chemical and scientific knowledge to use in business, he joined the Dow Corning Corporation as a scientist and research chemist. At Dow Corning, he was integral in formulating silicone and developing medical applications for silicone. During his tenure there, he worked closely with doctors and other professionals in the medical field to develop silicone knuckle joint implants, implantable silicone shunts to treat Hydrocephalus, silicone treatments for burn victims, and various implants. By the end of his career as an Associate Scientist, he was responsible for numerous patents. He traveled the world to promote medical applications of silicone, making many friends along the way. In 2019, during its 100-year anniversary celebration, the American Chemical Society showed a display highlighting his work with silicone and medical devices.
Throughout his life, Eldon was a strong proponent of higher education. He continued his own higher education at both Central Michigan University and Michigan State University. Along with Genevieve, he instilled the importance of learning in his children and grandchildren and helped ensure that each was able to pursue higher education in whatever field they chose and their college of choice. His children and grandchildren all attended college, and all of his grandchildren have received advanced degrees in medical or scientific fields, including doctorates and master’s degrees. He and Genevieve leave a legacy of the pursuit of higher education that will continue down the generations of their family.
Eldon was also an avid sportsman, outdoorsman, and tinkerer. He rarely missed deer season in Michigan and enjoyed the challenge of bird hunting (even if it was just a good walk in the woods). He especially enjoyed surf casting in Melbourne, FL, during winter vacations. For many years, he was a regular in Manistee, MI, during the summer fishing season, where he had repeated success in salmon fishing on Lake Michigan. He enjoyed telling stories (tall and otherwise) with all he met. He believed in “doing the job himself” if something needed doing, working on his own cars for much of his life, designing and building his own house (with a little help from friends and family), and fixing most everything (with silicone, of course).
Like Genevieve, Eldon was dearly loved and will be greatly missed. Per his wishes, Eldon will be cremated, with a service to be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to a school, college, or university of the donor’s choice.
Smith-Miner Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Frisch family; to share a special memory please visit www.smithminer.com.