Passing of Thomas J. Froehlich, Ph.D. #personal #thought-leaders

Stan Garfield

It is with sadness that I report the passing of Tom Froehlich, who was a member of this community.


Thomas J. Froehlich, Ph.D., 81, of Kent, OH, passed away peacefully on March 7, 2022, surrounded by his beloved cats, Papageno, Nefertiti, and Portia.

Dr. Froehlich was Professor Emeritus, School of Information, Kent State University, where he worked for 27 years, and where he continued to teach post-retirement. Most of his work was about ethical considerations in the information professions, which combined his background in philosophy (Ph.D., Duquesne University, 1975) and his M.S. in Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh (1982). His teaching areas included: information science, information ethics, information architecture, knowledge management, network and software resources, online searching, computer programming and user interface design. In recent years, he became passionate about misinformation, disinformation, and fake news, and developed a new teaching and research stream in this area including a course titled The Age of Disinformation, journal articles, presentations both national and international, and at the time of his death, he was writing a book called 10 Lessons for the Age of Disinformation.

A visionary at Kent State’s iSchool, Dr. Froehlich was the founder and former Director of the Master of Science Program in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management (IAKM) from 2001-2011, which has since expanded into master’s degrees in Knowledge Management (KM), User Experience Design (UXD), and Health Informatics (HI). A kind and generous colleague, he was a mentor to many students and faculty colleagues. He opened his home to visiting professors, students, and hosted many parties. He shared his love of music and gourmet food with all and loved any excuse for a celebration.

Dr. Froehlich (Tom) was the fourth son of the late Helen and John Froehlich. He was born January 15, 1941 in Johnstown, PA, where his family has been operating the family meat market, Alex Froehlich Packing Company, for four generations. Tom is preceded in death by his parents, Helen and John, his brothers, Richard and David, and his niece, Nancy. He is survived by his loving family, sisters Ann Russel and Kay Mulvaney, brother John Paul Froehlich, sisters-in-law, Vinnie Froehlich and Barbara Froehlich, fourteen nieces and nephews and many dear friends in the iSchool and Kent Community.

Tom’s passions were many, including gourmet cooking that stemmed from the cooking shows of Julia Child, classical music, cultural arts, gardening, his beloved cats, his church, and most importantly his dedication to humanity. Tom was a loyal and kind brother and loved to travel with his family. His mentorship, cooking lessons, worldly advice and visits with his nieces and nephews are cherished and will be greatly missed. His amazing cookery, snarky humor and devoted and loyal friendship is irreplaceable by those near and dear to him.

Jennilyn Wiley

Having worked with Dr. Froehlich while at Kent State, it is hard to imagine the program without him. His work on topics central to information literacy was of great value to scholarship and practice. Thanks for including this in memorandum in the group Stan.

For those interested, his course on disinformation is outlined in Chapter 3 of a 2020 book:
Froehlich, T. J. (2020). Ten lessons for the age of disinformation. In Navigating fake news, alternative facts, and misinformation in a post-truth world (pp. 36-88). IGI Global.

Chuck Georgo

Thomas has chapter 3 available online here: