Commissioner Amanda Fritz—mourning the sudden death of her husband in a multi-vehicle crash in Salem on Wednesday morning—has announced plans for what she's hoping will be a fun-loving, irreverent public memorial or Dr. Steven Fritz this Sunday afternoon in Terry D. Schrunk Plaza.
The event's planned for 5 pm, and there's more than a gentle suggestion that anyone showing up dress flamboyantly rather than formally—in honor of Dr. Fritz's apparent penchant for expressing his "inner weirdness." (Case in point? In the family photo we ran with our post on the tragedy yesterday, Dr. Fritz was wearing a "24-Hour Church of Elvis" T-shirt. That made all of us over here smile.)
Dr. Fritz, a psychiatrist at the Oregon State Hospital, was carpooling with a colleague in his infamous zebra-striped 1993 Nissan Sentra—better-known by its license plate "ZENTRA"—when a pickup truck in a crash across Interstate 5 crossed the median and hit his car head-on. The car was a famous sight for Salem-to-Portland commuters. Today's announcement says Fritz first heard her husband was in a crash from friends and others who'd recognized the Nissan in news reports and called her up.
If you haven't read it, the O's Brad Schmidt wrote an elegant piece about Dr. Fritz and all the lives he touched in Portland's arts and mental health communities, and also how he and his wife worked for years to support one another while raising three children who've all since been launched into adulthood. All of those worlds—the political and the not—will come together on Sunday.
Fritz's office has also issued a list of organizations where donations in Dr. Fritz's name might be directed, in lieu of flowers and cards.
Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz has announced plans for events to celebrate the life of her husband, Dr. Steven Fritz, who died suddenly in an automobile accident in Salem, OR on September 24, 2014, while on his way to work at Oregon State Hospital. He was killed instantly by a pickup crossing the median on I-5 in wet weather, hitting his beloved zebra-painted car. He had often loaned it to his wife for community parades. Commissioner Fritz first heard about the crash because passers-by recognized the car and contacted her.
One of Steve’s friends wrote on hearing the news, “If you've ever thought your car was boring, and you'd like to paint it up, say, turn it into a zebra car? Well DO IT, people! And when you die, people will not sit around wondering, "Did she do the things she wanted? Did he express his inner self? Did she tragically ignore her inner weirdness?" They will be horrifically sad, but they will smile every time they think of you, your car, those stripes.”
“That comment illustrates why people loved and were inspired by Steve,” said Commissioner Fritz. “He made the most of every day, finding entertainment even in mundane chores like the daily commute. Our children and I are greatly comforted by the outpouring of support we’ve received. He touched so many lives, in great and small ways. We appreciate seeing the recognition that he made a difference in our community – while at the same time having fun.”
Everyone is welcome to attend the public Celebration of Life on Sunday, September 28 at 5 p.m. in Terry Schrunk Plaza, SW 3rd and Jefferson. Participants are encouraged to bring a candle, and to have fun dressing in whatever you feel is appropriate to honor him and/or amuse yourself and others. A private family service will be held on Saturday, by invitation.
The family suggests donations to honor Dr. Fritz in lieu of flowers and cards be made to:
New Oregon Arts & Letters
Send check to New Oregon Arts & Letters, PO Box 2863, Portland, OR 97208
The Salvation Army, Portland Tabernacle Corps or West Women’s Shelter