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Arthur “Fred” Friedman (March 16, 1931 – March 31, 2024)

Arthur “Fred” Friedman (March 16, 1931 – March 31, 2024)

Arthur “Fred” Friedman passed away quietly and peacefully this morning at 5:54am (March 16, 1931 – March 31, 2024) at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs.  Just two weeks ago, he lunched with friends at one of his favorite restaurants, Lulu, on his 93rd birthday, March 16. The Saturday before, a group of Fred’s admirers gathered at our home for a lunch laden with laughter, shrimp and chardonnay: a trio of Fred’s enjoyments.

A native of Denver, and a proud Coloradan, Fred moved to the Desert about 28 years ago, and quickly became a regular with the gay “Prime Timers” group and a devotee of “Oceans” restaurant where we shared many a repast. During the Korean War, he served in the Air Force, based in Manila, which fostered a passion for travel. Over the years, he took a number of cruises, including one Atlantic crossing on the ”SS France”. A lover of fine food, he confirmed what has always been written about that classic liner: “not only the best French food afloat, but the best French food in the world.”  

His favorite European city was Paris. His favorite in the US, San Francisco.  His favorite opera, “Tosca” which he enjoyed “at least 15 times.”  During the last two years, he wasn’t able to make it back to Paris, but he was able to visit San Francisco, take two cruises and even get to LA Opera for “Tosca” (“Angel Blue in the title role was lovely, but the Scarpia was weak”).  He was a man of great height, great intellect and great kindness. His breakfast was fueled by the New York Times crossword puzzle (he did it in ink), followed by a copious diet of books: he devoured several per week. At the time of his passing, he was reading a biography of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and several tomes of weights more appropriate to a gym than a bookshelf.

Armistead Maupin once said “we have a biological family, and a logical one.” We want to thank the many people in that latter category who helped enliven Fred’s final years, especially the folks at Stonewall Gardens Assisted Living, where he was part of a community of gay elders who know that aging, indeed as the saying goes, is not for sissies.  Most importantly, Fred’s last few years have been made comfortable by the love and support of friends such as Renee Bohm, Michael Temlin, Ken Foster & Note Meewang, Bob Walker & Ernie Phinney and many others who delighted in Fred’s company along with the folks at Desert Elite, a wonderful service that provides transport for those with limited mobility.

— Alfredo Casuso & David Perry