W. John Friedlander, 82, died in the early morning of Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, in his Lake Placid home.
He was born May 22, 1931, in Cincinnati, Ohio. From Cincinnati, he earned a bachelor's degree with a double major in English and government from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he lettered in football, basketball and tennis. He did graduate work at the University of Cincinnati, University of Vermont and Oxford University in England.
After two years in the Navy and a stint on the taxi squad of the Green Bay Packers, he found his niche in teaching, coaching and administration of private education.
Starting with the former Viewpoint School in Amenia, he moved to his alma mater of Berskshire School in Sheffield, Mass. His next post was the Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J. before St. George's School in Newport, R.I. He brought his teaching (English) and coaching experience to Lake Placid's Northwood School in 1965 and was appointed headmaster the following year until his retirement in 1996. Although the financial future of NWS was dubious when he took over, he also handled fundraising and left the school with a $3 million endowment.
During his 30-year tenure as headmaster, he was recipient of the 1988 Distinguished Bowdoin Educator Award and was cited by a New York State Legislative Resolution in 1991 for his achievements in the field of education.
He was also a member of the National and New York State Associations of Independent Schools, New York State Athletic Commission, Secondary School Admissions Testing Board, Clarkson University Advisory Council and Governor's Advisory Council on the Aging.
Membership on community boards include the Lake Placid Education Foundation, Lake Placid Sinfonietta and North Country Community College, which he chaired for eight years.
His greatest contribution, however, is the influence he had for four decades during the formative years of thousands of young people. Many wrote or returned for visits to confirm this fact, thanked him and payed him tribute. They always appreciated his sense of humor and understanding. Many mentioned the voluntary "drop-in" visits to the office of "The Big Guy," "Cheese" or "Freddy," as he was affectionately referred to among students.
Paramount in Headmaster Friedlander's philosophy was giving a young person a second chance, creating an opportunity for him/her to succeed and gain confidence in order to become a happy and successful adult.
In addition to his wife Linda, he is survived by his sister Joan Fox of Cincinnati; four children: Catherine Schilling of Goffstown, N.H., John Walter Friedlander of Aragon, Ga., Patricia and Diana Friedlander of Lake Placid; and six grandchildren.
Calling hours will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19 at the M.B. Clark Funeral Home in Lake Placid. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 20 at St. Agnes Church in Lake Placid. A reception will follow at the Comfort Inn in Lake Placid.
Donations in W. John's memory may be to the W. John Friedlander Fund at Northwood School or to the humane society of one's choice.