Robert Friedrichs

Robert W. Friedrichs

1923 - 2012 EXETER, NH Bob Friedrichs, 89, left this world suddenly and peacefully "after his favorite meal of the day" on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012. He had gracefully accepted a period of diminished capacity and been a resident of the skilled unit at the Ridge at Riverwoods the past six years, and was formerly a longtime resident of Williamstown, Mass., for 33 years.

Born Feb. 16, 1923, in Bath, Maine, to Hans Friedrichs and Gladys Donnelly, he was the second of four brothers. Raised in the Chicago area and Lake Geneva, Wisc., he attended Antioch College and graduated from Oberlin in 1946. He went on to teach English in Shiangdu, China, in 1947-48 with the Oberlin in China program, then attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he met Polly, his wife of 61 years, and received his PhD in Sociology, with a thesis entitled, "The Principles of Altruism."

He was Professor of Sociology at Drew University 1958-70 and Williams College 1971-93, and won the Sorrokin Prize for his book,"The Sociology of Sociology," which was widely read in his field. He was an inquisitive lifelong reader of the NY Times, though on sabbaticals in Tokyo, Japan, in 1963-64 and Cambridge, England, 1970-71 and 1977-78, he was able to get by with the daily International Herald Tribune.

He enjoyed summers on Martha's Vineyard with his family, and moved to Exeter in 2004. He attended a number of churches throughout his life before settling on Unitarian Universalism, and was a member of the First UU Society of Exeter.

He is survived by Polly and their three children, Robin Moriarty of Needham and West Tisbury, Mass., Paul Friedrichs of Exeter, and Carl Friedrichs of Williamsburg, Va.. as well as eight grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and two of his brothers, Gordon and Edward Friedrichs, who still reside in Wisconsin.

He was predeceased by his brother, Donald.

MEMORIAL NOTICE: A memorial service will be held Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Exeter.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made either to Riverwoods at Exeter, memo line-Spencer Fund Scholarship for Nurses, 7 Riverwoods Dr., Exeter, NH 03833 or the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Exeter, PO Box 627, Exeter, NH 03833. For more information, please visit

Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Oct. 16, 2012