For 25 years, John Friedrich has been growing with the City of Red Wing both figuratively and literally. Figuratively, because his career has blossomed far beyond the garbage collection route he was initially hired for, and literally, because one of John’s jobs is as the City Arborist, where he oversees the planting and care of the trees in our parks and boulevards. It was his work with trees, in fact, that initially got him hired all those years ago.
John and his brother cut trees on contract for the City. His company, Friedrich Tree Removal, was successful, but John wanted the stability of a regular job. He set his sights on working for the City and knew that Ron Bucholz, the Public Works Director at that time, was his way in. “I was persistent,” John recalls with a grin. “Ron finally hired me just to get me off his back.”
Like most people hired in Public Works, John began working on a garbage route, but it was a lot different then. He drove a 3-wheeled scooter instead of the large trucks we use now, and John was working for the City before we even started a recycling program. He’s had a front-row seat as we’ve changed with the times, but things began to change the most for John once he became a MN State Certified Arborist. Being an arborist often put John outside in the quiet, peaceful places where our trees preside, including the City’s three cemeteries.
John is now the City’s Cemetery Superintendent, a job that suits him well. He enjoys quiet satisfaction in caring for the remembrances of those who have gone before us. In fact, most of John’s own family is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, where John’s office is located. He’s the fifth generation of Friedrich’s in Red Wing, and he intends to have his own remains placed alongside his forefather’s in Oakwood. Incredibly, John is the third John Friedrich to work for the City. He had two grandfathers who worked for the City; one in garbage, and one in water services. John’s father has also served on the City Council, so you could say public service is Friedrich family tradition, a tradition we’re glad John has kept. Thank you for 25 years of service, John Friedrich!