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Shawnee County Casualties in WWI
Stories of Valor and Tragedy on the Battlefield

Fay FREIDBERG, War Department, Washington, DC
Fay Dreidberg headstone Fay Freidberg

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There is a short article by Doug Wallace in the Shawnee County Historical Society's publication "The Home Front" titled "A War Department Casualty" covering a young Topekan who died in the service of her country shortly after the official end of the war.

"Fay Freidberg's 1914 T.H.S. annual, The Nm-Skulls, stated her description as "Sunny", her occupation as "Chatting", her ambition as "Paderewski" and her favorite expression as "Well, my goodness!" From Topeka High this native Topekan, daughter of a local jeweler, attended the University of Kansas majoring in music, specifically the piano. Sometime during the summer of 1918, Miss Freidberg left for Washington, D.C. where she enlisted in war work. She found a job in the casualty division of the adjutant general's office. A fellow employee, quoted in the January 1, 1919 Topeka Daily Capital said Fay "was also a faithful canteen worker, her cheery smile brightening the hearts of everyone wherever she went."

She planned to return home permanently early in the new year, but late December Fay was stricken with the influenza then sweeping the country. After her mother dashed to be near her side, Fay initially rallied and seemed to be getting better. Suddenly her condition worsened-as was so often the case-and she passed away of pneumonia on December 30th. On the Shawnee County Victory Highway Memorial, Fay Freidberg is recorded as the only [Shawnee County] woman member of the Department of War to have died in the Great War in the service of the United States."

Fay Freidberg was buried in Topeka Cemetery Jewish Section Lot 10 on 3 Jan 1919)

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