Freda Roenigk, 100, of Sarver, passed away on December 26, 2020 at Concordia Lutheran Ministries.
Born July 10, 1920 in Brackenridge, PA, she was the daughter of Fred Mack and Catherine Callahan Mack
Freda was a member of Emory Chapel Methodist Church in Sarver.
Freda's favorite holiday of the year was Christmas and it was remarkable to think that she died peacefully in her sleep after her 101st Christmas. She was the daughter of the greatest generation. Freda saved everything, wasted nothing, chose Good Will over Gimbels, even though she could afford the latter. She had a steel trap memory for dates, events, birthdays, anniversaries, and anything she perceived as bad behavior.
She spent many days easing the ills of those closest to her including her father, mother-in-law Edna Roenigk, sister Anna and her husband of 70 years, as their earthly bodies drew to their ends. Freda also nursed countless sick animals-kittens, piglets, birds, calves, foals, puppies and you name it back to health.
Freda’s farmhouse was a virtual playground for generations of nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. Where some might have seen piles of junk crammed into upstairs bedrooms or basement corners, imaginative young minds discovered storehouses of dress-up costumes, makeshift toys and make believe.
All of her grandchildren, even those who moved away from the farm at young ages, filled their minds with knowledge gleaned from Grandma Freda. She taught them to French braid on the tails of Belgian draft horses, the words to popular Christmas carols and church hymns, and the proper timing for re-telling silly jokes about dogs that chased cars, caught them and buried them in the backyard.
Grandma Freda passed along the lost art of paper cutting and crafting, and extolled the virtue of hand-made Valentines and Christmas wreaths. Her sewing machine was used for hemming and patching. She explained the necessity of donning long sleeves and fastening rubber bands around the loose fabric at the ankles and wrists before heading into the wooded areas behind the farm to pick blackberries. When her grandchildren returned with full buckets, she doused their stockpiles in sugar or baked homemade blackberry pies. Her preferred was peach pie! Their farm grown buckwheat was a favorite for the grandchildren’s pancake breakfast with cups of sweet tea. Canning smells came from the basement as white sheets sparkled on the clothesline. Christmas cookies were everyone's favorite.
Freda preferred to dance instead of walk and sing instead of speak. She was accessorized with stylish summer hats. Zither music was a favorite. She loved to sing along as her father played the zither since she was a little girl. She was an outspoken woman, known as a witty raconteur with a penchant for entertaining embellishment. Deciphering fact from fiction was a task left up to the listener. She played the guitar and piano by ear and sang as an alto and soprano harmonizing with her sister in the Emory Chapel Church choir for decades. Two weeks ago Freda and her 95 year-old sister, Judy had face timed from FL to sing their favorite, “You are my Sunshine”! “Freda was sometimes outspoken, but she was never out-sung.”
Fairs and parades were a time for showing their beautiful Belgian horses. Freda’s job was to decorate the wagon and create “prom night” up-do’s for a barn full of horses.
When Freda’s sons recently cleaned out the wooden bureau that lived in her kitchen for decades, they found her silver pinking shears and packets of white doilies and construction paper in the second drawer down. Anyone who’d ever reached into that drawer to retrieve those jagged-toothed scissors can close his or her eyes and conjure the clackety-clack of its round, metal handles and the smell of musty oak and crafting glue.
It saddens us that we were not able to spend time with you in the last year of your life, but we cherish the times we did have. Though we could not hug or kiss you, we pray that you remembered that we love you. Watch over us Grandma Freda until we see you again.
Surviving are her daughter, Carol J. Roenigk of Worland, WY, four sons, Albert T. "Ouch" (Carol Gamble) Roenigk of Sarver, Leland B. (Joanne) Roenigk of Hudson, OH, Frederick A. (Joy) Roenigk of Cape Coral, FL and Charles L. (Belinda) Roenigk of Butler, her daughter-in law, Karen Roenigk of Sarver, her sister, Judy Herring of Stewart, FL, 13 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and 17 great-great grandchildren.
She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband L.B. Roenigk on September 17, 2011, one son, James D. Roenigk, her sister, Anna Mack and two brothers, Thomas Mack and Richard Mack
Private family services will be held Wednesday, December 30, 2020 at the Fox Funeral Home, Inc. in Saxonburg.
Interment will follow in Saxonburg Memorial Church Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to the Emory Chapel Methodist Church in PO Box 196 Sarver, PA 16055
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