Described by her children as a “life-long teacher”, Hazel Fritz encouraged her students, children and grandchildren to develop their intellect through books. She was also a patron of the arts, and supported local artists by purchasing their works.
It was fitting for Dennis and Adele Fritz, of Franklin County and Lucie Fritz, of Pennsylvania, Hazel’s children, to establish the Whitewater Valley Library District Art Endowment through the Franklin County Community Foundation.
The gift from the Fritz’s is the first step in growing an endowment for the library to purchase artwork from local artists, with a focus on Franklin County and Indiana artwork. It will also provide a place in the county to display artwork, with provisions in the endowment to provide funds for the renovation, maintenance and display of artwork in the county’s libraries. Without an art museum, the library provides a place for art-rich Franklin County to proudly display the work of her talented citizens.
According to the Fritz family, Hazel grew up near Klemme’s Corner and earned a two-year associate’s degree from Ball State University. She began teaching in 1933 at Collett Andersonville, and Plum Grove, all one room schools in Franklin County before World War II. She was married during wartime and gave birth to Dennis and Lucie. She returned to teaching in 1953 and taught at Blooming Grove, Lawrenceville, and Brookville. In 1975 she retired from her career and love.
“She always encouraged reading,” Dennis Fritz said. “I’d say the library was a latchkey for us. She enjoyed reading and loved books.”
“She took great delight in teaching her grandchildren to read,” Lucie Fritz added. “This is something that had she thought of, she would have loved to do herself. We just found that this was very appropriate.”
During a brief meeting with the Whitewater Valley Library District Board of Directors, Dennis shared with them his slogan for the endowment: “Don’t let your kids argue over your art – let the library have it.”