Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Robert G. Friedman

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. - Robert G. Friedman (aka "Jerry," "Curly" or "Sam"), 89, passed on Dec. 1, 2022, in St. Joseph, with wife Shirley by his side.

Jerry was born at Cook County Hospital in Chicago on Nov. 10, 1933, to Marion and Charles Friedman. He lived in Chicago and Ironwood for the next six years. Then, he attended grade school at St. Hedwig Orphanage in Niles, Illinois, St. Ambrose High School in Ironwood and St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin.

Jerry enrolled in Army ROTC in college, received a U.S. Army reserve commission upon graduation, and entered the military. His initial assignment was at Fort Devon, Massachusetts, and then the IG Farben Building, Frankfurt FRG. There, he met his future bride, Shirley Jean Collins, a U.S. Army Nurse Corps nurse from Kadoka, South Dakota, and they married in 1956. They were blessed with five children. Upon discharge, they moved to Wild Rose, Wisconsin, where Jerry taught high school mathematics and history. After two years, he opted to return to active duty with a regular commission for a career in the U.S. Army.

Jerry's initial assignment upon return to the military was Fort Sill, Oklahoma (Field Artillery School). Two years later, he transferred to the Finance Corps and attended school at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana (Army Finance School). Assignments thereafter included Fort Eustis, Virginia, ASCOM City (Seoul) Korea, Fort Gordon, Georgia, Camp Zama, Japan (payroll, FECOM), Saigon, Vietnam (payroll, funding and allocation, currency stabilization, MACV), Fort Harrison, Indiania (Finance Center), Fort Leavenworth, Kansas (Command and Staff School), and Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He retired from the Army in 1977 at the rank of lieutenant colonel with 24 years of service.

Upon retirement from the Army, Jerry worked at Indiana Department of Public Welfare as a chief accountant from 1977 to 1984, and then as a civilian in the Army at Fort Harrison (M.B. Emmett J. Bean Federal Center, formally the Finance Center) from 1984 until full retirement in 2008. He had 48 years of government service with many honors and medals.

Jerry had many stories: of his youth, as "man of the house at his grandmother's," speaking Polish, sneaking into Green Bay Packers games, pocket watches, and fishing on Lake Superior; his relationships with his mother, Marion, and brother, George, and finding his father's tombstone in Chicago; formative years in Michigan with aunts, uncles and cousins, and Copper Peak; his path to college and into the military; newfound family he sought out in his later years, including brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. He was forever a Packers fan. He was always maintaining a fleet of vehicles for the family. He bowled, was tech savvy and supported, with his wife, their children, grandchildren, extended and "adopted" families in their endeavors in education and athletics.

Jerry was preceded in death by his father, Charles Friedman; and mother, Marion Augustine; brothers and sisters, Vic and Bill Bulinski, George Augustyniak, Roachelle Cerney, Samuel, Solomon and Hinda Friedman; and many relatives.

He is survived by wife, Shirley; children, Russ (Gail), Michael, Terri, Dani (Gary), and Kevin (Lori); grandchildren, Dane (Brittany), Kelsey (Austin) and Abbey; and great-grandchildren, David, Siah, Evee and Hezzy; and many relatives.

Jerry's inurnment will be at the Black Hills National Cemetery at Sturgis, South Dakota, in July 2023.

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