It is with deep sorrow that I share with you news of the death of F. Charles Froelicher. Chuck’s family informed us that he died peacefully at home last night, surrounded by family. He was 90 years old. We have lost a great man, a visionary, an educator, outdoorsman, patriot, and philanthropist.
Chuck was a luminary and a legend who shaped and inspired education, outdoor recreation, and philanthropy in this state. During his two decades as headmaster (1955-1975) at CA, he is credited with transforming CA from a declining military academy to a prestigious, successful, college preparatory school. Chuck created the modern version of Colorado Academy: a school committed to the development of the whole child through a balanced program of academics, arts, athletics, and character education. And over the past nearly four decades, Chuck has remained steadfast in his involvement in and commitment to CA.
Chuck was the fourth youngest of five children. He was born December 9, 1924 in Philadelphia to an esteemed family of educators. The family moved to Baltimore, where his father had been headmaster of the Park School. Chuck graduated from there and entered the U.S. Navy’s V-12 Program, attending Mount St. Mary’s College, Villanova University, Princeton and Northwestern before receiving his commission as an ensign in the U.S. Navy. He served from July 1945 until August 1946, and he completed his college training at Johns Hopkins University.
While at CA, Chuck helped found and became president of Colorado Outward Bound, an organization dedicated to outdoors adventure and skill building. He promoted an appreciation and love for Colorado’s mountains as a founder of the Copper Mountain Ski Area. He was a supporter of Platte River Redevelopment and became the first executive director of the Gates Family Foundation. He also led the effort to purchase and endow one of the huts in the very popular Tenth Mountain Division Hut system. The hut bears the name of his brother, Staff Sergeant Sangree Mitchell Froelicher, who was killed in action in Italy in WWII.
In the foreword to a book written about Chuck’s years at CA, 1964 alumnus John Sullivan wrote, [His] "is a remarkable story of one man’s vision and its delivery. Chuck Froelicher tried to teach all of his students to make a difference, and he certainly set the right example.”
On a personal note, I could not be more grateful to have had the steady support and friendship of this school leader during my seven years as head of school. He has been a constant source of wisdom and an example of what leadership and legacy can mean. One of my fondest memories is sitting with Chuck in his old office in the Welborn House shortly after I was hired. He shared with me stories of his early days at Colorado Academy. Over the years, Chuck and I would talk about our respective outdoor adventures, our love of history and politics, and our vision of schools and education. I will miss those conversations greatly.
According to Chuck’s and his family’s wishes, Colorado Academy will host a celebration of his life. Once we have more information about the date of the service, we will let the CA community know.