Cover photo for Thomas Francis Fritz, DDS's Obituary
Thomas Francis Fritz, DDS Profile Photo
1942 Thomas 2023

Thomas Francis Fritz, DDS

March 2, 1942 — October 16, 2023

Detroit Lakes

Thomas Francis Fritz passed away peacefully on October 16, 2023 with his wife Cathy by his side.

He was born on March 2, 1942 to Francis and Florence (Christofferson) Fritz, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, the place he would call home the remainder of his life.  He graduated from Detroit Lakes High School in 1960.  He went on to attend St. John’s University and then the University of Minnesota Dental School graduating in 1966.

Tom married the love of his life, Cathy Ortenstone in 1964.  He is survived by Cathy, his three children and eight grandchildren; Mark (Cindy) Fritz (Jacob, Greta, Carly, Tommy) Detroit Lakes, MN; Michael (Wendy) Fritz (Ian, Sydney), Detroit Lakes, MN; and Karin (Jeff) Fritz-Staley (Max, Ellie), Minneapolis, MN. 

After graduating from dental school, he returned to Detroit Lakes and joined the dental practice of Drs. Rogstad and Cherry.  He was drawn to the profession because he thought it would provide him with more opportunities to hunt, fish and golf but soon realized it was his vocation.  He cared deeply for his patients and was a servant to his community.  He held a strong belief that everyone deserves access to quality dental care. His faith influenced his practice.  He charged little or nothing for dental work for families in need.  Working into his 70’s, he would often say that he practiced as if “Jesus was in my chair” and that best described his approach to his lifelong work.

Tom was a passionate outdoorsman.  He purchased the Round Lake Duck Camp in 1968, and hosted numerous people and events. While duck, deer hunting, walleye, and trout fishing were the excuse for getting together, the memories and stories made there (both famous and infamous) will be remembered and shared for generations.  The duck blind, deer stand or seat in his old fishing boat was where he was most content, more so when he had a grandchild in tow.  He was a dedicated advocate to preserving the habitats that he so often enjoyed.  Tom was a member of the Issac Walton League of America and numerous other conservation organizations.

His love of the outdoors and commitment to the community also extended to the Detroit Country Club, the oldest public golf course in Minnesota, of which at the time of his death, he was the longest continuous member.  Tom began by caddying as a child and ended up serving on the board of directors for 30 years.  He also served on the board of the Minnesota Golf Association.  Perhaps he was rewarded for all his years of service by scoring a hole-in-one on all four of the DCC’s par 3s.

A man of deep faith, Tom attended Holy Rosary Catholic Church his entire life, where he received 5 of the 7 sacraments.  He was deeply devoted to Mass and genuflected until he was physically unable.  Tom served on the parish council, Holy Rosary School Board, and sponsored numerous confirmation candidates.  In the early 1990s, Tom discovered how much he enjoyed starting the day by attending Mass and made every effort to attend daily Mass for the next thirty plus years.

Tom also loved to travel.  He traveled the world with both his family and closest friends.  He particularly enjoyed touring cathedrals and attending Mass around the world. Tom was a natural and gifted storyteller. He loved Robert Service poetry.

He deeply loved his family and looked forward to every opportunity to spend time together.  In 2004 he and Cathy purchased a cabin on beautiful Bad Medicine Lake.  He used the gorgeous setting to lure his family (and their dogs) in for long summer weekends where many wonderful memories were made.  He was happiest when he was surrounded by family.

Tom truly was successful at making people’s day just a little bit better and he will be greatly missed by all who met and interacted with him.  His was a life well lived.

He may be gone physically, but we will be seeing him often in the sunsets, in the woods and lakes of Minnesota, the fields of North Dakota, and the mountains of Montana.   As well as in the ducks, geese, eagles, and the wind in the White Pines on Teacracker and Bad Medicine Lakes.  

Tom was preceded in death by his parents, his siblings Mike Fritz and Nancy Beach, and by his seven hunting dogs.

The visitation for Tom will be held on Saturday, October 21, 2023 from 4 to 6:30 PM at DAVID-DONEHOWER FUNERAL HOME (609 US HWY 10 E., Detroit Lakes, MN 56501).  A time of sharing stories as well as a prayer service will close out the evening beginning at 6:30. Visitation continues on Sunday, October 22, 2023 from 1 to 2:45 PM at HOLY ROSARY CATHOLIC CHURCH (1043 Lake Avenue, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501).  A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 3 PM with Fr. Chuck Huck presiding.  Burial will be in Holy Rosary Cemetery.

The family wishes to thank the staff of Ecumen Detroit Lakes-TCU as well as the team from Hospice of the Red River Valley.  Their kind and compassionate care of Tom will forever be remembered.

For those wishing, memorials in Tom’s memory are appreciated to Apple Tree Dental-Becker County or to Hospice of the Red River Valley.

David-Donehower Funeral Home is serving the family.  For more information, please visit DavidDonehower.com

 

Follow link below to view livestream:  https://www.youtube.com/live/PI7yfewFPEE?feature=shared

 

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, October 21, 2023

4:00 - 6:30 pm (Central time)

David-Donehower Funeral & Cremation Service

609 US Hwy 10 East, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501

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Prayer Service

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Starts at 6:30 pm (Central time)

David-Donehower Funeral & Cremation Service

609 US Hwy 10 East, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501

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Visitation

Sunday, October 22, 2023

1:00 - 2:45 pm (Central time)

Holy Rosary Catholic Church

1043 Lake Ave, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501

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Mass

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Central time)

Holy Rosary Catholic Church

1043 Lake Ave, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501

Burial following Mass at Holy Rosary Cemetery

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