Frauenfeld, August

Biography

Known on-air as Austin Fields, August’s career began as a student obtaining a B.A. degree in radio broadcasting at Bob Jones University in South Carolina, and as a summer school graduate at the National Broadcasting Institute in Chicago.

Starting as a continuity writer at CKRD, Red Deer, in 1949, he proceeded to CKPR, Fort William, as announcer and PR Director; then to CKOM, Saskatoon, as announcer and night news editor.

Back in Edmonton, Alberta in 1953, August paired part-time announcing at CFRN, with acting in CJCA’s Beaver Playhouse.

During his career, he was both interviewer and interviewee, counting as a highlight interviewing The Happy Gang. August was frequently on the other side of the microphone after his retirement from broadcasting in the early sixties. He was interviewed about his work as Director of Child Welfare, Government of Alberta; as Director of Westfield Youth Centre, Edmonton; and as Director of Oak Hill Boys Ranch, Bon Accord.

One moment he’ll always remember from his broadcasting days was when, during a devotional program on CKPR, he introduced a visiting minister from Kakabeka Falls as the minister from Kakafeka Balls. Red-faced, he carried on!

filed 2006

Obituary

FRAUENFELD, August (February 25, 1925 – March 21, 2007) August Frauenfeld has decided to leave us on his voyage of a lifetime to be with his heavenly Father. August left peacefully on March 21, 2007 after battling cancer for several months. His children Janice (Rick) Comrie, Celeste, Paul, Patrice (Paul) Hojka, Angela, his eight grand-children, and friend and former wife Evelyn Laws will miss him dearly. He also leaves to mourn two sisters, Sarah Fibke, Sally (Herb) Liske, many nieces, nephews, cousins and cherished friends. Special thanks to August’s close friend Gordon Dickau who was there for him on a daily basis through his illness. August was born in Bruderheim, Alberta, son of Reinhold and Adeline Frauenfeld. He graduated in 1949 from Bob Jones University South Carolina with a degree in Radio Broadcasting, drama and music. He worked in radio for a few years as “Austin Fields”. He started his public service in 1952 with the Alberta government as a public trustee, social worker and was instrumental in opening and directing Westfield Diagnostic and Treatment Centre (now -Yellowhead Youth Centre). After retiring, he became the director at the Oak Hill Boys Ranch in Bon Accord, Alberta until the age of 72. He then continued at Oak Hills as a Board Member and volunteered his time as a member of the Youth Justice Committee. August dedicated his life to his family, church, friends, community, and the children of Alberta.

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August Frauenfeld, longtime advocate for at-risk children and youth, took pleasure in knowing his love and commitment healed many

By The Edmonton Journal
April 4, 2007

EDMONTON – Before he blew out the candles on his cake, August Frauenfeld looked into the faces of his family and felt serene.

He was at peace, even knowing that his 82nd birthday celebration would be his last.

He had lived his life fully, had raised five children, who now had children of their own.

There were hundreds of other children whose lives he touched during a career spent in child welfare, a crusade he continued long after he retired.

A longtime social worker, he found his niche — and his passion — working with children.

He was instrumental in opening and directing Westfield Diagnostic and Treatment Centre — now the Yellowhead Youth Centre — for children facing wide-ranging emotional issues, from sexual abuse to abandonment.

While showing a Journal reporter through the centre in 1969, Mr. Frauenfeld said: “Children should know that people care for them and that they are loved for what they are.”

Mr. Frauenfeld took early retirement after several years with the provincial government, then promptly accepted an offer to become the executive director of the Oak Hill Boys Ranch at Bon Accord, a residential treatment facility for boys aged 11 to 16.

He remained on the board even after he retired in 1996, and continued his work with youth, hearing young offenders cases in the Alternative Measures Program.

“August had such a huge impact on treatment programs involving youth, and on the ranch,” says Stacey Charchuk, assistant director at Oak Hill and one of Mr. Frauenfeld’s longtime colleagues.

“Many of the values and the wisdom he shared during his years here, about working with young people, remain an integral part of the program today.”

He believed in developing relationships with troubled kids and often got down on hands and knees at the ranch to garden side by side with the boys.

“He had a real love of the land,” says daughter Janice Comrie. “He wanted kids to learn about looking after it, and about getting things to grow.”

Respect for the land came naturally; Mr. Frauenfeld was born in 1925 on a farm in Bruderheim, the son of Reinold and Adaline, and grew up during the Depression.

He got a degree in radio broadcasting in 1949, and actually worked in radio for a time as “Austin Fields,” before opting instead for public service in 1952.

He and his wife, Evelyn, had five children together and remained friends even after their divorce in 1983.

He had strong faith, and directed the choir for a time at the Moravian Church and later at Braemar Baptist church.

A diagnosis of lung cancer last fall barely slowed him down at first.

He continued doing all the things he loved — singing, gardening, socializing and attending Eskimos games with neighbour and best friend Gordon Dickau.

Despite his deteriorating health, his birthday party was a celebration.

“We were all together as a family,” says Janice, “which was exactly what he wanted.

“He felt he had lived a long and healthy life, and didn’t think he could expect much more than that. It made it so much easier for us that he was OK with where he was going.”