Writer Richard Frisbie, authored seven books and raised eight children
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As the father of eight, Richard Patrick Frisbie, an author, journalist, sailor and outdoorsman, took inspiration from Teddy Roosevelt by making “Everything’s bully!” the motto for family outings.
In his 1969 book, “It’s A Wise Woodsman Who Knows What’s Biting Him,” he built on that idea, creating the concept of “red blood density points,” which are accrued by weathering the inevitable adversities of outdoor adventures.
“He was always a lot of fun, and really enjoyed his children and grandchildren,” daughter Felicity Frisbie recalled. “He took us on expeditions every weekend –– camping, hiking, to the beach, or, if it was too cold, to the museums.”
Born in Moline in 1926, Mr. Frisbie, who grew up in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood, died in his sleep at his Arlington Heights home on Aug. 28, of natural causes. He was 91.
With his wife of 68 years, Margery Frisbie, he was the co-author of “The Do-It-Yourself Parent.” His book “Basic Boat Building,” was based on a sailboat he built himself in his basement and garage and sailed for decades on Lake Michigan.
His other books were: “How to Peel A Sour Grape”; “Who Put the Bomb in Father Murphy’s Chowder?”; “Family Fun and Recreation,” and “Daily Meditations for Busy Grandpas.”
“Mr Frisbie was a great man –– warm, funny, knowledgeable, courteous, inquiring and modest,” said author Craig Sautter, who also is a faculty member at DePaul University’s School for New Learning. “The inevitability of old age did not diminish his enthusiasm or optimism. He always took an interest in others.”
Mr. Frisbie was a 44-year member of the Arlington Heights Memorial Library board, including serving four terms as its president, where he was a strong advocate for intellectual freedom. He also served a term as president of the Illinois Center for the Book and as president of the Society of Midland Authors, for which he also was a longtime board member. The Illinois Library Association in 2004 named him trustee of the year and gave him the ILA Intellectual Freedom Award. He also served a term as president of the the North Suburban Library System.
“Dick’s energy, enthusiasm, and creativity speaks to the warm regard everyone in the profession of journalism and the literary arts held for him,” author Richard Lindberg said. “He will be deeply missed by all whose lives he touched.”
Mr. Frisbie was one of the Quiz Kids on the popular 1940s and 1950s radio and TV show of the same name. He attended St. Ignatius High School in Chicago, where he lettered in football. He attended the University of Chicago until he was drafted into the Navy in World War II. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Arizona after the war.
After graduating, he got a job as a news reporter and then assistant features editor for the Chicago Daily News. He met his wife while covering a story for the Daily News about a well-known defected Soviet spy, Elizabeth Bentley, at Chicago’s Mundelein College, which had hired Bentley as a social studies teacher. Margery Frisbie handled public relations for Mundelein, and the couple married in 1950.
After leaving the Daily News, Mr. Frisbie moved into the world of advertising, eventually becoming creative director of Campbell Ewald’s Chicago office.
In 1966, he opened Richard Frisbie Communications, where he worked until he retired in his 80s. He also was editor of Chicago Magazine from 1971 to 1973, and was a frequent contributor to a wide array of magazines.
Both Mr. Frisbie and Margery Frisbie also were longtime activists in the Catholic Church, promoting social justice issues.
Mr. Frisbie also was an avid amateur musician, playing mandolin, piano and trumpet, and a computer enthusiast, often providing tech help for family members and friends.
“I am so grateful for being raised by someone who lived by his values,” daughter Teresa Frisbie said. “He was brilliant and could have achieved success in any field, but he showed us a great life is built on loving relationships, good health, and work that you love.”
In addition to his wife, Margery and two daughters, he is also survived by daughters Anne Malone, Ellen Frisbie and Margaret Frisbie and sons Paul, Patrick and Thomas, who is a member of the Sun-Times editorial board; 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be Friday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Lauterburg & Oehler Funeral Home, 2000 E. Northwest Highway, Arlington Heights and Saturday at St. Edna Church, 2525 N. Arlington Heights Rd., in Arlington Heights from 9 a.m. until the time of the funeral mass at 10 a.m.