Friday, July 31, 2009

A bit more about J.J. Friis

There was a very nice and very well-attended funeral service for J.J. Friis this morning. At the reception afterwards, there was a table full of photos of him, including this older one (above) with his parents. Since I don't know how long the Register will keep J.J.'s obituary on their website, I'm posting it below:

Friis, James Jessen, of Orange, who was active for many years in Orange County musical and historical organizations, died Monday, July 27, 2009, at the age of 81, from the effects of a stroke.

Friis was born in Santa Ana on March 1, 1928, the son of Leo Jessen Friis and Lena Jane Carlson Friis, who had come to California from Iowa in the 1920s. The family resided in Anaheim.

Musical studies began early in his life, with drums at age 4, later piano, and by the time of his graduation from Anaheim High School in 1946, he also played the organ. He graduated from Pomona College in 1951 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in music composition.

Friis also held leadership positions in the Musical Arts Club of Orange County, Santa Ana Community Concerts, and was a past dean of the Orange County Chapter of The American Guild of Organists. He also served as organist (and frequently choirmaster) of several local churches, among them St. Michael's Episcopal church, Anaheim, St. Joseph's Episcopal Church, Buena Park, and the Church of Christ, Scientist, Laguna Hills.

With his father, Friis founded Friis-Pioneer Press in Santa Ana, a firm noted for the publication of books of Orange County history. He served several terms as president of the Orange County Historical Society, as well as the Old Courthouse Museum Society, and was a member of the Anaheim Historical Society, the Orange Community Historical Society, and the Historical Society of Southern California.

The Native Sons of the Golden West, a fraternal organization of those born in California, was a major interest of his life, and he served several terms as President of Santa Ana Parlor #74 and as Grand Organist for the statewide organization. Friis was also a member of Anaheim Masonic Lodge, Long Beach Scottish Rite, and Al Malaikah shrine, Los Angeles.

Friis is survived by his wife, the former Harriet Lampert, who is also an Orange County native.

Funeral Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, July 31, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal Street, Orange. Visitation will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 30 at Shannon-Bryan Mortuary, Orange. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Trinity Episcopal Church, the American Diabetes Association , or the Charitable Foundation of the Native Sons of the Golden West (mail to Santa Ana Parlor #74, c/o Treasurer, 14932 Gainford Circle, Irvine, CA 92604).

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