Fredrick H. "Fritz" Medenwald
89, passed away peacefully on 2/8/13. Being just 19 days shy of his 90th birthday, Fritz was born in Indianapolis on February 27, 1923; he was one of six children born to the late William S. and Regina B. Medenwald.
Fritz graduated from Washington High School and studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Tennessee while serving in the Air Force. Fritz left home to serve in the military in 1941, at the young age of 18, to train as a pilot with the Army Air Corp. He continued with that career, serving during WWII, the Korean War and the beginning of Vietnam, retiring with the rank of Major in 1964 after 23 years of service.
During his military years, he served as a test pilot at Wright Patterson Air Force Base (now the Air Force Museum) where met his loving wife of 55 years, the late Laura V. Medenwald. They later moved to Edwards Air Force Base, where he was involved with the testing of the Xl, successfully breaking the sound barrier during his service there. They traveled all over the world, living on various Air Force bases, shared many happy experiences and made many life long friends. Some of his experiences can be found in the Library of Congress, as requested by Senator Lugar to submit information regarding his WWII memories. After retiring from the Air Force, Fritz returned to Indianapolis in 1965 and went on to work with Allison Gas Turbine. He joined Allison's, working on development of gas turbine engines for use in helicopters, ultimately creating and collaborating on the design of the Bell, Hiller & Hughes engine. His worldly travels continued as he represented Allison's in the sale and service of the Bell Helicopters. Traveling to other countries brought great enjoyment to Fritz, as he learned about and respected the many cultures he visited; he was dubbed the "traveling ambassador" for the company. Upon completion of 23 years with Allison's and achieving an eighth level management position, Fritz retired a second time in 1988. After his second retirement, Fritz and Laura enjoyed their time traveling together, enjoying their family, and living between their homes in Indianapolis and Marco Island, FL. He led an exciting life and told great stories of all of his experiences with enthusiasm and gratitude of a life well lived.
His memory will be cherished by his surviving children, Cindy Hawkins (Terry), Mari Williams (Steve), Sue Salge (George), Fred Griffin and seven grandchildren, Mike Hawkins, Kelly Fleishman, Jennifer Williams, Jaclyn Shapiro, Dillon Salge, Derek Salge, and Devon Salge. He is also survived by his only living brother, James Medenwald.
Friends may call Wednesday February 13, 2013 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Flanner and Buchanan-Washington Park North , 2706 Kessler Blvd. West Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana 46228. Funeral service will follow at 7 p.m. Entombment will be on Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 10 a.m. in Washington Park North Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to: Honor Flight.org. You may express a condolence or share a memory of Fritz at: http://www.flannerbuchanan.com
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