Frederika Merriman Naylor, of Newbury, OH, passed away August 14, 2023, three weeks before her 90th birthday. Frederika, known as Fritz, was born September 7, 1933, in Cleveland to Mayhew and Arthur Merriman (both deceased), and was the cherished “little baby sister” of Elizabeth and Art (both deceased). She grew up on Chatfield Rd. in Cleveland Hts., graduated from Hathaway Brown School in 1951 and from Sweet Briar College in 1955, where she majored in comparative religion.
Fritz loved the theater, and spent summers at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. She was closely involved with the Cleveland Play House and its resident company while pursuing a PhD in theater. At the Play House, she was mentored in scene design and painting by Paul Rogers, a beloved, lifelong friend. She taught tech theater at Cleveland State University and the University of Texas at Austin, and took pride in her students at CSU who later began careers at the Play House. She found a new path as head of HR at Sun Financial Services, Cleveland. Fritz married Lester Naylor (deceased) in 1984 and gained loving stepsons, Bill and Jim, whom she considered her sons.
Fritz retired from Sun but, with her kind interest in people, taught reading through North Coast Education Services. She combined this and a vibrant social life with her many childhood, school, and professional friends, until the covid pandemic shut down her teaching and travels.
That isolation took a toll on Fritz, who rather rapidly declined into the fog of dementia; yet she was ever a dignified, cheerful Southern lady as Mayhew had raised her! In her final two years, she lived at Holly Hill in Newbury.
Fritz is survived by stepsons, Bill (Lynne) and Jim Naylor; sister-in-law, Ronnie Merriman; nieces and nephews Lisle, Art (Jennifer), and Charlie (Sarah) Merriman and Amy Herrick (Peter); many grand-nieces and -nephews; and six great-grand nieces and -nephews. Her family wishes to express deep gratitude to her dear friends of many years, Estelle Painter and Jason Fuh; the Hospice of the Western Reserve; and the memory-care staff at Holly Hill.
There will be a brief service at Lake View Cemetery this fall. Donations may be made in Fritz’s name to the Hospice of the Western Reserve or to the National Wildlife Federation.