Dr. Michael J. Froning, age 71 of Mountain Brook, Alabama, passed away on May 1st, 2013. Dr. Froning was the Executive Director of the Birmingham Education Foundation. Prior to that, Dr. Froning served as Dean of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Education from 1999 to 2010. Dr. Froning and his wife Lyn moved to Birmingham in August 1991, so that he could implement and direct the Russell Mathematics and Science Center at the Alabama School of Fine Arts.
Dr. Froning, son of J. Fendall and Doris, grew up in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, the oldest of 5 siblings: Anne, Mary, Andrew, and Peter. He followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather to the University of Notre Dame, from where he was graduated in 1963 with a degree in mathematics. He received a Master of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University in 1964 and began his long career as an educator at Western High School in Baltimore, Maryland. He and his wife, Lyn, were married in Buchanan, Michigan, in 1964 and their two children, Michael and Sarah, were born in Baltimore.
His commitment to social justice in education for women and people of diverse cultures was profoundly influenced by his service as a public school teacher in American Samoa and Hawaii from 1968 to 1974. He returned to the Pacific Islands emotionally and physically many times throughout his life to strengthen and deepen these core beliefs. From 1975 to 1991, Dr. Froning and his family resided in Amherst, Massachusetts where Dr. Froning was a public school math teacher and department chair. His continued dedication to gender equality in math led him to pursue a doctorate in Math Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, which he was awarded in 1990.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Lyn, his son Michael and daughter Sarah, his five grandchildren Maya, Ariel, Henry, Sophie, and Ariana, his mother Doris, his two sisters Anne and Mary, and his brother Andrew.
Visitation hours at Ridout's Valley Chapel, 1800 Oxmoor Road, Homewood, AL 35209 will be Saturday, May 4, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. A memorial service will be held Sunday, May 5, at 3 p.m. at Unity of Birmingham, 2803 Highland Avenue South, Birmingham, 35205.