Stephen Edward Fritz, Ph.D.
November 3, 1945 – November 15, 2021
Stephen Edward Fritz, Ph.D., 76, of Loudon, Tennessee, passed away on Monday, November 15, 2021 at Parkwest Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee with members of his family by his side. Dr. Fritz was born in Bellville, Illinois on November 3, 1945, and was raised in Freeburg, Illinois by his parents, Lester Fritz, the former mayor of Freeburg and Violet (Virgin) Fritz, a former teacher at Freeburg High School. He had one older sister, Janice Fritz. Dr. Fritz graduated from Freeburg High School in 1963 where he met his beloved wife, Patricia (Pat) Surber. They were married on August 27, 1966 and have two sons, Andrew and Alexander. Steve felt his greatest success and accomplishments in life were his two sons who he and Pat raised to become an attorney and doctor who continue to touch people’s lives and give back to society in amazing ways. His four grandsons brought him such joy and pride. He loves watching them in all their academic and athletic accomplishments. Mentioning their names brought the biggest smile to his face. Steve was a huge sports fan and loved watching all teams especially the TTU Red Raiders and Tennessee Volunteers. His hobby was reading scholarly works and academic research. He and the love of his life, Pat, were devoted to each other and their family. Dr. Fritz earned his Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky (1972) and his M.A. from Southern Illinois University, (1968), both in British History. His B.S. degree was awarded, Magna Cum Laude, from Murray State University (1966) in History and English. He also conducted post-doctoral work in British Foreign and Imperial Policy and Diplomacy at the Exeter College and the Queen’s College at Oxford University, England from 1976-78. Dr. Fritz’s expertise on the topic of David Lloyd George, a former British prime minister, led to numerous publications and presentations. Dr. Fritz had a long and distinguished career in the field of higher education with more than four decades of leadership at both private and public universities across the United States. Over the course of his career, he served at eight colleges and universities in eight states, where his forte was described as “addressing and successfully leading colleges through extreme challenges and issues.” He began his career in academia in 1970 at Pikeville College, Pikeville, Kentucky, where he held a variety of positions including Vice President for Academic Affairs, Chairman of the Division of Social Science, Director of Graduate Studies, and Professor of History. In 1984, he was appointed executive vice president and dean of North Carolina Wesleyan College, Rocky Mount, North Carolina, before becoming president in 1986. From there, he served as president at Hiwassee College, Madisonville, Tennessee, for eight years before applying his strengths in fiscal management and endowment growth to a new career path as an investment executive for PaineWebber in Knoxville, Tennessee. Four years later, he returned to higher education as provost and then president of Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont before making the move to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2003 where his leadership was instrumental in the development of the School of Arts and Science at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and where he served as the dean over its five departments. Dr. Fritz was then selected to serve as president at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire in 2005 before becoming president of Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Nebraska in 2007. At Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, Dr. Fritz served as the Dean of the Honors College beginning in 2010 before accepting a position on campus as Director of Development for the National Ranching Heritage Center and the Museum at Texas Tech University in 2014. In his final higher education position, he served as the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin in Green Bay in 2015. In addition to all of his leadership roles in higher education, Dr. Fritz served on the Air University Board of Visitors, United States Air Force, Maxwell AFB, Alabama from 2006 to 2013. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Patricia; his two sons, Andrew (Laura) and their two sons, Dylan and Ian from Las Vegas, NV, and Alexander (Sarah) and their two sons, Brandon and Evan from Verona WI; and his mother-in-law, Louise Surber from Freeburg, IL. He is also survived by several cousins, Jeffrey (Marsha) Hacker, Donna (Russ) Schmidt, Carol (Gary) Wilbur and Linda Tarrent. He is preceded in death by his parents, Lester and Violet Fritz, his sister, Janice L. Fritz, and his father-in-law, Donald Surber. A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, December 4, at 11:00 a.m. at Lakeview Funeral Home, 5000 North Illinois Street, Fairview Heights, Illinois, followed by interment at Lake View Memorial Gardens. Visitation will be Friday, December 3rd from 4-6 P.M. and at 10:00 A.M. on the morning of the service. A luncheon will follow at the funeral home. Memorial contributions can be made to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (https://donate.imaginationlibrary.com) or Hope for the Warrior (https://www.hopeforthewarriors.org)
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Stephen Edward Fritz, Ph.D.
Marilyn Mullins (Bisoux)
December 2, 2021
I was in the same class in high school with Steve and my memory of him is that he was the best dressed man both in high school and even up until today that I’ve ever known. It was fun being in the class with him. I am attaching a fun photo from grade school. His “partner in crime” was Gary Joseph. Steve will be missed and I send my condolences to his family.
December 1, 2021
Dear Pat & family,
I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Steve.
My heart is so sad. I recall your years in Nebraska at Midland. What a wonderful experience to have you both representing & promoting our college. And with class!
I smile with these memories, and hope that you can reflect on your decades of Steve’s devotion to family & education.
May God grant you peace.
Retired Midland Alumni Director
Dr Vickie Cooper
November 30, 2021
Dear Fritz Family,
When God made Dr. Fritz, he threw away the mold. I mean, he was indeed one of a kind MAN. God gifted him with intelligence, grace, vitality, vigor, endurance, leadership and he went above and beyond to take care of his sweetest of sweets, his Patricia Fritz.
There was much to be learned from this beautiful soul and any and everyone who was graced with his presence was blessed with his wisdom and sense of humor.
The Fritz family has much to give God thanks and gratitude for Dr. Fritz's life. He left a legacy that will be remembered for centuries to come.
One of my fondest and most enjoyable memories of Dr. Fritz was at the ATC Staff Christmas party. It did my heart a world of joy to see him and Pat dancing down the Soul Train line!
Oh what a blessing it was to see the 2 of them enjoying life and one another. I have included a photo of this moment in time.
Dr. Fritz, you have definitely made your mark in West Texas.
November 30, 2021
"Monsignor" It was truly a blessing to have worked with you, but most importantly becoming friends!!! I will carry with me our little conversations and your 3rd Generation Mafia character. You are true classy gentleman and I was not lying when I said " I want be like you, when I grow up!!"
November 29, 2021
Dear Pat and Family,
I am sad to hear about Steve. I was on the Board of Trustees at Midland Lutheran College when Steve led us through some difficult times. I complimented him many times about his "relentlessly positive" attitude. No matter the challenges, Steve was always focused on what could be done, rather than what was behind us. I always admired his strength of character.
Although my contact with Steve since those days in Nebraska has been limited, I will miss him.
What a classy guy!
November 28, 2021
Dear Pat and Family,
Sincerest condolences on Steve's passing. Steve had a distinguished career and has left a wonderful legacy of accomplishment and service for his sons and grandchildren. He is at peace.
John H Heiligenstein
Cynthia and Kevin Schilling
November 28, 2021
Kevin and I send our deepest condolences.
I Cindy, grew up knowing Pat all my life as I lived across the ally from the wonderful Surber family.
Tom & Jim were like brothers, Don & Louise like second parents.
I remember Pat's 16th birthday like it were yesterday.
Home made ice cream, cake, love and laughter. Pat & Steve were always happy & excellent role models. I am proud to have been part of their life.
I know the love this family has for one another and this love and the love of the Father will comfort Pat & all the family. Steve would sit quietly when Pat was home visiting her mum as we would chat away & laugh. What a patient and KIND man. I am sorry I couldn't be there but Australia is far far away but Pat know you and yours are in my prayers and thoughts. Love to you all from across the big pond.
November 24, 2021
PAT,ANDREW,ALEXANDER AND FAMILY . WORDS COULD NEVER EXPRESS MY FEELINGS, BUT I WILL TRY. WE SPENT OUR YOUNG DAYS WITH GRAMPS AT THE ILLINOIS CENTRAL DEPOT. WE ALWAYS RODE THE IC LINE . SO MANY MORE MEMORIES. WHILE OUR JOBS SEPERATED US FOR MANY YEARS. IT DID NOT TAKE LONG TO RECONNECT THE LAST 15 YEARS. YOU WILL BE MISSED BY ALL WHO KNEW YOU. AS MY DEAR FRIEND DICK NAGY ALWAYS SAID WE HAVE 3 THINGS IN COMMON , #1 WE ARE ALL BORN, #3 WE ALL WILL DIE AND WE ARE DOING OUR BEST TO FIGURE OUT THE MIDDLE. THE MIDDLE IS REALLY PRETTY SIMPLE---ACCEPT JESUS INTO YOU HREART AND MAKE THE MOST OF EVERY DAY. PRAYERS FOR ALL AND GOD BLESS FROM ALL THE HACKERS