Courtesy of  Ray Leisy, Club Historian
This week will be a change from the year by year chronicle of Wooster Rotary’s history for a history of the death of the last founding member of Wooster Rotary. The following is a verbatim reprint found in the “Woostarian.”
Last week Rotarians bade farewell to Herman Freedlander, the last living charter member of Wooster Rotary and beloved benefactor of the community in which he lived and worked for nearly a century. Herman, who faithfully attended Rotary until early this year when declining health made it an impossibility, died May 30. [1974] Services were held June 3 with Rotarian J. Garber Drushal assisting Rabbi Paul Mandel. The following excerpts from the Wooster Daily Record are an appropriate tribute to a Rotarian, who perhaps more than any other followed Rotary’s motto to the letter, and for his entire life put “Service Above Self.”
Born in Buffalo, New York, Herman Freedlander came to Wooster with his family as a child and built a department store business recognized as one of the largest west of the Hudson River.
He built the store that bears his name by insisting on service, one price to everyone and good values to all. He took command at the age of 18 when his father, who had started the store in 1884, died at the early age of 42.
Herman Freedlander not only built a store; he was the leader in building a community. Few of the fine things that has occurred in this area have not felt the support of the Freedlander family. Some of the gifts are known to the public, but there were many personal incidents of charity and encouragement about which no one knows.
Herman underwrote most of the cost of Christmas Run swimming pool. More recently, he donated funds to establish the 30 acre Feedlander Park and the olympic sized swimming pool and chalet. The Freedlander Clinic (speech therapy) at the College of Wooster is a living memorial to Herman; the new Herman Freedlander Theater, now under construction at the College, was made possible by the Freedlander Foundation.
Herman, one of the 24 charter members of Wooster Rotary was cited in 1962 as the best example in vocational service. In 1964 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Wooster College. In 1973 Boys Village honored Herman for his financial assistance which was instrumental in keeping the Village solvent in difficult early years.
All of us extend our condolences to Harold and Lois and other members of the Freedlander family.
Rotarians and all other members of the Wooster community are grateful for Herman’s many acts of kindness and his continued service to our community. We are all better for having our lives touched by a truly great humanitarian, Herman Freedlander.