Tony FrigoIssue Date: December 14, 2017
Tony Frigo, 94, of Tempe, Az., formerly of Ashwaubenon, passed away Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 at his home surrounded by family.
Born to Pasquale Frigo and Camilla (Rocheleau) Frigo, he was the fifth child of 16 children. His father emigrated from the Veneto region of Italy at the age of 23 to make cheese in what would become his new homeland. His mother's family emigrated from the province of Quebec, Canada and settled in Coleman, where Camilla's father offered boarding at his farmhouse, where they met. He and his brother, Luigi created Frigo Cheese Corp., one of the largest manufacturers of Italian cheese in the United States.
He spent his youth in northern Wisconsin growing up in a multi-lingual household in Aurora. When he attended grade school, the teacher sent him home because he only spoke Italian and French. His father brought him back the next day and told the teacher it was her job to teach him English. He eventually went to Guardian Angels Boarding School in Oneida.
He attend the University of Wisconsin dairy short course in 1941, where he learned to make cheese like his father. In 1942, he and his father went to Washington, D.C. to register the standard for Asiago cheese with the Food and Drug Administration " the same cheese they had been making for generations in Italy.
Drafted in World War II, he could not serve due to deafness in one ear. He worked in the cheese business throughout his early career. He left his position with Frigo Cheese as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing shortly after selling the family business.
He met Frances Lenora Dougherty through mutual friends while she worked in the Diocese of Green Bay. Both devout Catholics, they shared their faith and love and were married in July of 1949. The first of 10 children was born nine months later and over 15 years, nine more children were born.
In 1981 he became Village President of Ashwaubenon and expanded both commercial and housing developments, while maintaining quality of life in the community. After serving five two-year terms, he left politics at age 68 and focused on his family and community and charity-related causes.
He was President of Brown County Civic Music, the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Nativity Parish Council and St. Catherine's Library and Bookshop. He served on the Boards of St. Mary's Hospital, the National Cheese Institute, the Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association and many other organizations. He received Citizen of the Year Award from the Ashwaubenon Business and Professional Association, but the best recognition was the love from his wife and children.
He is survived by his wife, Frances; 10 children and their spouses, Catherine, Maureen, Regina, Rosanne, Jane, Joan, Mary Clare, Paschal, Raymond and Monica; 17 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; two brothers, Fr. William Frigo and Paul Frigo and over 50 nieces and nephews.
Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by 13 siblings.
Visitation will be held with friends and family to pay respects and share memories on Saturday, Dec. 16 at Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, 2270 S. Oneida Street, Ashwaubenon from 9 a.m. until time of the Funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. A reception will be held after the service. Blaney Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Donations can be made to the Chris Mulloy Heffelbower fund at Cancer Legal Care, 6 Pine Tree Dr., Suite 120, Arden Hills, MN 55112. Services will also be held in Tempe, Az.
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