A former Camp Joy Board Chairman, Bob Wehling, emphatically stated, “Camp Joy would not have survived without Fritz Rauh.” Let’s delve into why…
In 1965, Joy needed to generate more income in order to remain afloat. At this time, Rauh joined the Camp Joy Board and became a member of the Executive Committee and Chairman of the Finance Committee. He proposed new potential source of revenue; he suggested that Camp Joy apply to the Community Chest and Council of the Cincinnati Area “for enrollment in its list of beneficiaries in order to receive support for operating expenses, thus giving an opportunity for securing contributions for capital expenses.” Becoming a Community Chest agency would take Camp Joy to a new level. It would require Camp Joy to meet independent operational standards and provide the camp with a regular annual funding source for programming.” (Ode to Joy-A History of Camp Joy.)
Fritz and his fellow board members made it happen! They added additional staff, who did a marvelous job getting a manageable budget together; they helped attract new campers and maintain current camp attendance. Bob Wehling noted, “Fritz cared passionately about Joy, there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for them. Fritz would give you the shirt off his back. A wonderful man. He donated a lot of his own money to Joy.”
Fritz’s philanthropic ventures and community involvement were legendary. Fritz’s son, Louis, recalled, “Dad was a motivator of people for social good. Dad’s activities stretched across religious, economic and cultural lines. He served on the board of The Jewish Hospital, Big Brothers, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Nature Center, the Civic Garden Club and the Fine Arts Fund. Two of his most prized activities included supporting Camp Joy and raising a substantial amount of money for the permanent housing of the Cincinnati Fire Museum. In the late 1930’s, Dad was one of the several businessmen who sponsored refugees escaping Hitler’s Germany. It required a major commitment because being a sponsor meant financially supporting and taking care of the refugee for at least five years.” Heroic.
Fritz was a very successful businessman; he was President of FREDERICK RAUH AND COMPANY, a premier Cincinnati insurance agency, which had been founded by his grandfather in 1872. His nephew, Buzz Brown, declared how much he loved working for Uncle Fritz. “He was my hero. He was such a positive role model. I never considered anything else.”
Fritz was a very charming and persuasive man. Case in point, he recruited Fritz’s son Louis’ wife, Margie, to serve on Joy’s Board. She served faithfully for many years, making meaningful contributions to the growth and maintenance of Camp Joy. Margie is still involved in serving Camp Joy today. Lucky Joy!
Although Fritz died in 1981, his spirit lives on in the hearts of many. A plethora of monetary gifts were given to Joy in his memory. There are plaques on the grounds of Joy honoring his legacy and a Camp Joy yurt is named after him. His life made a positive difference on this Earth – a true Camp Joy-real-life-super hero! Joy folks – and all who knew Fritz Rauh – were blessed. The world was/is a better place because of this man. Thank you, Fritz. You lived, you inspired, you loved, and were so loved. We thank you.