German Village has lost one of its most enduring creative forces and neighborhood advocates.

German Village has lost one of its most enduring creative forces and neighborhood advocates.

Fred Holdridge, half of a ubiquitous pair that included his longtime partner, the late Howard Burns, died Dec. 23 at his South Third Street apartment.

He was 86.

Local residents and friends described the duo as the "popes" of German Village, a warm and colorful pair who were deeply devoted to their community.

"It is the end of an extraordinary era in German Village," said Jerry Glick, a former member of the German Village Society who is still active in local efforts. "When I came here in 1978, it was Fred and Howard who embodied the heart and soul of our community.

"Their tireless energy and creativity made the village a place where we wanted to live and outsiders to visit. We owe them an enormous amount of gratitude for their efforts and their friendship."

Katharine Moore, former executive director of the German Village Society, said the two came to German Village at a crucial time in its history, when there was much controversy surrounding the formation of the German Village Commission.

"They absolutely shifted the culture of the neighborhood, and you feel it today," Moore said. "It's been true for 30-plus years."

Holdridge, president of the society for 16 years, owned Hausfrau Haven on South Third Street with Burns, who died in 2001.

Their influence even reached beyond German Village. At one time, they were regular columnists for ThisWeek Community Newspapers. Holdridge also had a passion for the arts.

For more on this story, read the Jan. 6 edition of ThisWeek German Village.