Obituary: Romaine Keith Friesen


Obituary: Romaine Keith Friesen

Feb. 19, 1943 – Oct. 24, 2022

Romaine “Rome” Keith Friesen was born Feb. 19, 1943 to Wendell and Hannah Friesen in Hamilton County, Nebraska. He passed away on Oct. 24, 2022, in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 79 years. Passionate about history, Rome always had a plethora of stories to share. He was an encourager, a wonderful teacher, loving husband, brother, father, and grandfather.

Rome grew up in the small town of Henderson, Nebraska. He was the second oldest of four children. His parents owned a corn and cattle farm. Rome graduated from Henderson High School in 1960. Rome excelled in basketball, music and theater. Rome attended Freeman Junior College, Freeman, South Dakota, for two years and graduated from Bethel College North, Newton, Kansas.

Rome married the love of his life, Judy Kelley on Oct. 8, 1966 in Omaha, Nebraska where he began his extensive teaching career. Rome taught in the Omaha Schools for three years until 1969, when he and Judy moved to California, where he became a beloved history teacher at Laguna Beach High School.

Passionate about teaching the history of international relations, Rome founded the Laguna Beach Model United Nation’s chapter that became a Laguna institution that inspired students to move into careers in international relations. In addition, Rome organized an annual student delegation to the UN General Assembly in New York, including arranging student scholarships.

After retiring from teaching, Rome continued to be actively involved in supporting the community. He served on the Model United Nations board, was a docent at Laguna Museum of Art and the Mission San Juan Capistrano. He and Judy enjoyed traveling to Lake Tahoe, New York, Europe, Asia and they went on safari in South Africa. A devoted Creighton University basketball fan, in his busy retirement he never missed traveling to New York City to attend the Big East basketball tournament.

Rome’s wife Judy Kelley of fifty-one years preceded him in death in 2017. He leaves behind his daughter Michelle Friesen, son Greg and wife Kristin Friesen, granddaughter Kayla and husband Dylan Knight. His brother, Elgie and wife Karen Friesen, his sisters Wyona & Kathy and their husbands, Ed Friesen and Chuck Schmidt, in addition to several nieces and nephews.

“We Are Not Makers of History. We Are Made by History.” Martin Luther King Jr.

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