Ice boating competitor a tailor at family shop in the Spitzer Building
Edward A. Fromme, who with his father and brother offered custom-tailored suits from their shop in the Spitzer Building downtown, died Tuesday under hospice care at Aspen Grove, an assisted living community in Lambertville. He was 89.
He had Alzheimer’s disease and developed pneumonia, his daughter Christine said.
He closed Herman Fromme & Sons Custom Tailoring in the late 1980s, more than 60 years after his father, Herman, founded the shop. The Toledo Club’s tailor got some of his fabric, his daughter said, and he sold or gave away the rest. He did some work for customers afterward from his South Toledo home.
He was a child when his father bought a cottage at Devils Lake in Michigan, and that’s where he and his wife, Mary, spent recent years.
The son of Mathilde and Herman Fromme, he was born Dec. 29, 1927, the year his father started the tailor shop and about four years after his parents arrived from Germany.
He grew up on Alvin Street in West Toledo and was a 1945 graduate of Central Catholic High School. He served a two- year hitch in the Army at the end of World War II and was stationed in the Philippines.
He returned to his hometown only to depart for two years of study at a tailoring school in New York.
“It was something that was expected back then. They were a very German family,” his daughter said. “His brother, Ludwig, was in the family business with Grandpa Herman. It was a tradition that you follow in the trade.”
The elder Mr. Fromme studied at the Berlin School of Design and went to Cologne to learn how to be a designer and cutter, he told The Blade in 1977. And so, his schooling complete, the younger Mr. Fromme joined the shop on the eighth floor of the Spitzer Building. The elder Mr. Fromme took pride in having “& Sons” in the shop’s name, The Blade reported in 1977.
They divided duties and aimed for comity, working together for years in close quarters.
“It was definitely a team effort,” his daughter said.
Suits — for men and women —were made to customers’ exact dimensions, and most were measured in the shop. Downtown workers were regulars, the elder Mr. Fromme told The Blade, but clientele came from Detroit, Sandusky, Bowling Green, even Palm Beach, Fla.
The well-heeled asked to be measured for their bespoke wear at home, and Mr. Fromme called regularly on the estates along East River Road in Perrysburg Township. He also paid visits to the Manor House at what is now Wildwood Preserve Metropark when it was the Stranahan estate, his daughter said.
“He definitely took pride in his work, more than anyone I’ve ever known. He was a businessman all the way,” she said, recalling that at home he preshrunk fabric — silk, wool.
“I grew up with the smell of wet material,” she said.
His attachment to boating and fishing, begun on Devils Lake, continued through his 70s. He raced ice boats for decades on Maumee Bay and was a member of the Toledo Ice Yacht Club. He and his brother were devotees of Rebel sailboats and took part in competition. He was 1969 Rebel National Champion.
He was a longtime member of the Toledo Lions Club.
His daughter, Carol Fromme, died in 1986.
Surviving are his wife, the former Mary Kassmann, whom he married June 13, 1959; daughters, Christine Doyle and Cindy Fromme, and his quadruplet grandsons.
Visitation will be from 2-8 p.m. Monday at the Coyle Funeral Home, with a Rosary service at 7 p.m. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Patrick of Heatherdowns, where he was a longtime member. Visitation at the church is to begin at 9:30 a.m.
The family suggests tributes to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.