Original Mayor of German Village. Columbus philanthropist Fred Holdridge dies
Frederick J. Holdridge, German Village icon, urban pioneer, community activist and patron of the arts, died peacefully in his home on December 23. He was 86. Known to many as the hat-wearing half of “Fred & Howard,” Fred’s generosity, commitment and fun-loving spirit leaves Columbus and German Village much the richer in the arts and culture, history, tolerance and good times. To many, he was a local hero.
Born and raised in Lima, Ohio, Fred served in the Army in France during World War II and graduated in 1950 from Kenyon College. After residing in Chicago and New York, he moved to Columbus in 1961 with his partner, Howard Burns, where they invested in real estate and co-owned Hausfrau Haven, an eclectic general store that evolved into a neighborhood center and local landmark. Fred was a passionate advocate of the arts and historic preservation. He was a long-time board member and president of the German Village Society, founding member and president of the board of Contemporary American Theatre Company (CATCO) and the recipient of numerous civic awards.
Fred was the catalyst for bringing Oktoberfest back to German Village in 1986, which raised funds that supported many important neighborhood projects, including the purchase and renovation of the German Village Meeting Haus and the hiring of the neighborhood’s first historic preservation officer. He created the German Village "Fun Committee," which instituted the annual “Pet Parade" and "Casseroles and Carols," among other events. Fred & Howard wrote columns and movie reviews for several Columbus publications and made frequent radio appearances on WOSU-FM and WTVN-FM with Bob Connors. Fred loved traveling around the world, popcorn, root beer floats, Kewpie burgers, movies, Broadway plays and the company of friends.
Fred is preceded in death by his life partner of more than 50 years Howard W. Burns, parents Robert and Helen Holdridge, brothers Robert (Bob), Hiram (Hipe) and his favorite Aunt Margaret. He is survived by several nieces and nephews, devoted friend Julie D’Elia, and many, many others who loved him, laughed with him and will cherish his memory. Friends may call on Tuesday, Dec. 28 from 5-8 p.m. at Schoedinger Midtown Chapel, 229 E. State St. A funeral service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 29 at the German Village Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St., the Reverend Mary Kay Beall Carter officiating. Entombment in Greenlawn Cemetery Mausoleum will be followed by a 5 p.m .reception at the Meeting Haus. In lieu of flowers, those who wish may contribute to the German Village Society, 588 S. Third St., Columbus, Ohio 43215.