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Life-long Bellevue resident Froelich celebrates 100th birthday

By Heather Graves

BELLEVUE – Bellevue resident Luella “Lou” Froelich certainly never expected to live to 100, nor was it something she ever really thought about.

“Funny, she thinks a lot of people turn 100 these days,” said Sue Bessert, Froelich’s daughter.

As she looks back over the last century, Froelich credits her longevity to taking one day at a time, and living each day to the fullest.

“She always held hope in a new day,” Bessert said. “It would be better tomorrow. She saw the good with her positive attitude.”

Froelich was born in Kaukauna Feb. 20, 1920, at just 3 1/2 pounds to parents Al and Harriet (VandenLangenberg) Guns – the second oldest of nine children.

She moved to Bellevue with her family when she was 4 years old, where she spent her childhood and would later raise her own family.

As the oldest girl in her family, Froelich was looked to for help with younger siblings.

“When a new baby was born into the family, my mother, would live with her relatives and handle all the child rearing and housework,” Bessert said. “Later her parents allowed her to work in the big city (Green Bay) cleaning rooms at St. Vincent Hospital.”

It was Sept. 28, 1940, when Luella married the love of her life Wencil “Vennie” Froelich at St. Philip’s Church in Green Bay.

The newlyweds moved into the old house on Eaton Road in Bellevue (which belonged to Wencil’s great uncle and aunt), and still stands today.

The pair had no electricity or indoor plumbing. Their kitchen had only a cook stove and an icebox.

It was here that they raised a family – six children (Jerry, Jeanne, Richard, Steve, Cheryl and Sue) – on their family farm full of cows and chickens.

Cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, supporting the kids’ with their school work and activities plus yardwork, outdoor vegetable garden and flower beds on the farm – Froelich had her hand in everything, always the staple in her family’s lives.

As her children grew, Lou began dabbling in other things.

In 1960, the Froelichs started the Junior Jets 4-H Club. Lou served as the general leader for 20 years.

Froelich worked as her husband’s secretary when he was elected town chairman. She was elected president of the St. Bernard Altar and Rosary Society, joined the Brown County Homemakers and was an active member of the Woodside Ladies Golf League.

“She is known to many as fun to be with, easy to talk to and very kind,” Bessert said.

Lou and Vennie spent their retirement traveling, playing cards, visiting casinos and enjoying happy hours with friends and family.

Bessert said her mother kept a diary and pictures of their many adventures.

Lou and Vennie celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2010.

Less than a year later, Vennie passed away at the age of 94.

Froelich now calls the Bellevue Retirement Community home, where she continues to live each day to the fullest.

“Since she moved into the Bellevue Retirement Community she has blossomed,” Bessert said. “The new surroundings allowed her to meet new people in many situations just like hers. And she kept her positive attitude, and it is contagious.”

Froelich said her six children and their spouses, 16 grandchildren and their spouses and 41 great grandchildren give her hope.

“Just ask her,” Bessert said. “Every day she prays for all 84 of them to keep them safe. Simple things like family, faith and day-to-day living – that’s what my mother continues to count on.”

Loved ones gathered at The Spot Supper Club in Green Bay on Saturday, Feb. 15, to help Lou celebrate her monumental birthday.

Bellevue Village Board President Steve Soukup read a proclamation honoring Froelich for her accomplishments over her 100 years.

“We thank her for all she has done for the village,” Soukup said.

Froelich was graciously overwhelmed by all of the people who came out to celebrate her.

“So many people came,” Froelich said. “I guess we have a big family. Everybody said how good I look. I can’t believe I’m 100. I’m so thankful to have so many people who love me and care for me.”

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