GREEN BAY — Fr. Kenneth Frozena, 88, formerly of Sherwood, died April 22. He was born on Oct. 31, 1934, in Manitowoc, to the late Felix and Frances (Becker) Frozena. He attended St. Mary’s Grade School in Manitowoc, high school and junior college at the Salvatorian Seminary in St. Nazianz, and St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., where he received his degrees in philosophy and theology.
When Fr. Frozena was interviewed for both his 50th and 60th jubilees of priesthood, he credited his parents, especially his mother, Frances: “My mother was very involved in church,” Fr. Frozena told The Compass in 2010. “She was there all the time, her sister played the organ, so she always went to sing. The three priests’ Masses in the morning were one right after the other. If there wasn’t an altar boy, my mother got on the phone and I and my brother had to get over there and serve because we were only four blocks away.”
Fr. Frozena was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Stanislaus Bona at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay on June 11, 1960. He then served as parochial vicar at what were then St. Mary and, later, St. Joseph Parishes in Manitowoc.
His first priesthood years were also spent in high schools, including teaching at Marinette Catholic Central and, later, serving as the first chaplain (1965-69) at Roncalli High School, Manitowoc.
He also served at Holy Rosary Parish, Kewaunee, becoming co-pastor in 1969, and then as administrator at St. Mary Parish, Black Creek, and, later, at St. Michael Parish Suring.
Fr. Frozena became pastor of St. John Parish, St. John, in 1971. In 1974, he also became pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Sherwood. He served as pastor of St. John-Sacred Heart Parish for 34 years. He was always proud to say that he was one of the first priests in the Diocese of Green Bay to serve as pastor of two parishes at the same time. In 1995, the two parishes merged to form St. John-Sacred Heart.
St. John-Sacred Heart Parish dedicated the Fr. Ken Frozena Center in his honor in 2007.
Fr. Frozena also served as pastor at St. Mary, Hilbert, and St. Mary, Stockbridge, from 2002 until receiving senior priest status in 2005.
In 2007, he served as minister of sacraments at St. Edward Parish, Mackville, and St. Mary (Immaculate Conception) Parish in Greenville. In his senior priest years, he continued to help with celebrating weekend Masses at those parishes, as well as several others.
One of those was St. John Nepomucene in Little Chute, where he met Fr. Patrick Beno, who is now pastor at St. Agnes Parish in Green Bay.
“I met Fr. Ken in my first assignment at St. John’s in Little Chute,” Fr. Beno told The Compass. “He helped out with Masses for a time. In the years after, I visited him at his home in Sherwood and then when he was in assisted living.
“It was always comfortable and pleasant to see him, even if it had been a year since the last time. We would talk about our dogs, because he had a little white dog named ‘Angel.’”
Later, Fr. Frozena asked Fr. Beno to speak at his funeral.
“I learned that he wanted me to preach his homily back as far as about 10 years ago,” Fr. Beno said, “and I was really honored.”
When Fr. Frozena was interviewed for his jubilees, he always said that the best part of his priesthood had been the people. “That’s what you’re ordained for, is them,” he said.
Survivors include his brothers: Jerome (Cynthia) Frozena, Manitowoc, and John (Mary) Frozena, Crivitz; his brother-in-law: Roman Jadowski, Manitowoc; sisters-in-laws: Maxine Kelley and Helen Frozena, Manitowoc; and multiple nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
The funeral liturgy was held on April 27 at St. John-Sacred Heart Parish, Sherwood, with Bishop David Ricken as celebrant. A private burial was scheduled to take place at St. Mary Catholic Cemetery in Manitowoc.
Memorials may be made to St. John-Sacred Heart Parish, N369 Military Road, Sherwood, WI, 54169, for education and parish center needs.