NEW ULM, MINN. -- Dr. Theodore Roosevelt (Ted) Fritsche, an ophthalmologist and member of a local medical dynasty who served as mayor of New Ulm, died Friday at his home. He was 97.
His grandparents on both sides were among New Ulm's founders, settling there in the 1850s. His father, Dr. Louis Fritsche, the first licensed physician in Minnesota, was elected mayor in 1912. He was removed from office by the state during World War I for alleged "pro-German propaganda," but but he was reelected in 1920.
When Ted Fritsche was born in 1906, his father named him after the U.S. president, whose policies he admired.
Ted Fritsche was one of four brothers who studied medicine and returned to New Ulm to join their father at what was known as the Fritsche Clinic. He received his medical degree at the University of Minnesota in 1931. He went to work in New Ulm in 1933 and retired in 1984 after 51 years of practice.
Fritsche served two terms as mayor, from 1952 to 1958, and as president of the Minnesota Mayors Association. He and his wife, Lois, helped found the sister-city relationship between New Ulm and the German cities of Ulm and Neu Ulm. He also helped start a student exchange program between the sister cities' Rotary Clubs. The Fritsches represented New Ulm at the 1,100th anniversary celebration of Ulm, Germany, in 1992.
Survivors include two sons, Ted Fritsche of Marshall and Tom Fritsche of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and two daughters, Jane Watson of North Oaks and Katherine Fritsche, of Ruffin, N.C. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at United Church of Christ, New Ulm.