Obituaries Saugatuck/Douglas Commercial Record

Obituary: Estelle Friedl

Estelle Friedl, 94

Estelle Friedl (Estela Alicia López Barajas) of Saugatuck, age 94, passed away surrounded by love on May 7, 2024.

She was born on Sept. 1, 1929 in San Francisco del Rincon, Guanajuato, Mexico to Felipe López Mireles and Aurora Barajas Salgado. In addition to San Francisco del Rincón, she lived in Purísima del Rincón, Guanajuato and Mexico City. While she eventually settled in the United States, her love of Mexico and its culture always embodied her life.

Inspired to learn English to pursue a career as a translator for the U.N., she attended St. Frances College in Fort Wayne, Ind. But fate had different plans for Estelle. She met the love of her life, Leander (Lee) Friedl, and they were married on Aug. 15, 1956 in Mexico City.

The young couple established themselves in North Judson, Ind, where they raised three children. In addition to being an amazing homemaker and the backbone of the family, Estelle taught Spanish and dance. She would periodically work as a translator or as a substitute teacher and in her later years, helped teach migrant children.

She was a devoted wife, supporting Lee’s many business ventures and opportunities, which eventually relocated them to Portage, Wisc., where they worked together on Gumz Farms until retirement.

Estelle was a woman of many talents and interests. She spoke five languages and was blessed with artistic ability. She had a passion for dance, music, crafting and painting.

In her youth, countless hours were spent water skiing and swimming in Acapulco. She became an avid runner in the 1970s and continued that passion into her early 80s. She loved all things exercise — yoga, workout classes, cross-country skiing, hiking and walking. Estelle had a deep appreciation for nature and never turned down an adventure. She was fearless!

Estelle was an incredible mother and intuitive problem-solver. Her advice was always spot on. Her children knew that their mother had their back and that they were profoundly loved.

Moreover, Estelle had presence. She was a woman of extreme beauty, grace, intelligence and kindness. The way she carried herself was noticed by everyone!

She is deeply missed by her beloved husband Lee and her children: Michele Friedl (Tom Tauber) of Castle Pines, Colo.; Philip Friedl (Alicia Villarreal) of Boulder, Colo.; and Melisa Friedl of Saugatuck. Her grandchildren are Brennan Tauber (Caitlyn Schwarz); Devin Tauber; Gabriel Tauber and Nicholas Villarreal Styles. She adored her grandchildren and they adored her.

Honoring her deep and unrelenting faith, a private family funeral service will be held at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Douglas on Tuesday, May 21, at 11 a.m. 

The family would like to express profound gratitude to all those who helped care for Estelle with love and compassion, with a special thank you to the Hospice of Holland team.

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