German Village Gazette

Society to honor Fred and Howard at ceremony

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Fred Holdridge (right) and Howard Burns.

The lives of Fred Holdridge and Howard Burns, who worked tirelessly in behalf of German Village, will be memorialized at a special ceremony at 6:30 p.m. June 17.

The late couple, who were the unofficial ambassadors of the neighborhood for decades, will have a brass plaque in their honor installed at Hausfrau Haven, a store they once owned at 769 S. Third St.

The public is invited to join the celebration, which will honor the lives and contributions of Holdridge and Burns.

The event is being sponsored by the German Village Society.

"Fred and Howard were pioneers of German Village, bringing fun to civic engagement," said Shiloh Todorov, German Village Society executive director.

"They were also trailblazers in Columbus' gay community," Todorov said.

"Their spirit of fun and passion for advocating for the village live on in members today and their story needs to be preserved for posterity."

The plaque will be posted to the exterior of the Hausfrau Haven. It was designed by Jody Graichen, Beth Ervin, David Schooler and Julie D'Elia, who now owns the store.

Wine will be offered by Hausfrau Haven and appetizers by Max & Erma's. The event also will feature the latest vignette in the Oral History project, led by John Clark.

For example, those who attend will be told the story of how Holdridge planted a tree in the middle of Beck Street.

The city told villagers it had no money to repair the brick streets and the only alternative was to pave over the roads with blacktop.

So, one Saturday morning a group of Villagers took it upon themselves to repair the brick.

"The potholes were so deep and Fred decided to emphasis this -- and he almost got into trouble for it -- by planting a tree in the street," said Jerry Glick, a longtime resident and friend of the couple.

The city relented and began a brick replacement program in the Village, Glick said,

On a related note, the June 17 celebration will take the place of the breakfast honoring the latest winner of the Fred & Howard Award.

In 1997, the German Village Society's Board of Trustees created the Fred & Howard Award to honor individuals "who have gone the extra mile to carry the message of German Village and the German Village Society to the rest of the world," according to Society records.

D'Elia purchased the store 18 years ago from Holdridge and Burns, who lived in an apartment upstairs.

"They came through the store when they'd come home at night," D'Elia said, adding that Holdridge often would set off the alarm when he'd pilfer candy after Hausfrau closed for the evening.

"I thought it was hilarious," D'Elia said. "Fred was quite a character."

Holdridge, president of the German Village Society Board for 16 years, died Dec. 23, 2010. Burns, his life partner for more than 50 years, died in 2001.