Randell J. Froedge, 14, schoolboy, rescued William C. McCord, 75, zoo keeper, from an attack by a bear, Crown Point, Indiana, July 21, 1955. McCord was feeding the animals at a zoo and entered a cage occupied by two fully-grown bears each weighing 250 pounds. While McCord was scooping water from a feed-trough, one of the bears approached him from behind, wrestled him to the floor with its forepaws, and seized his leg tightly in its jaws. McCord called out for help to Randell, who worked part-time at the zoo and was just outside the door of the cage. Without hesitation Randell entered and stepped close to McCord’s legs. The other bear remained atop its den 25 feet away. Randell picked up the shovel McCord had been using. Holding the shovel by the end of the handle, Randell swung it and struck the bear a hard blow on the side of the head. The bear released McCord and ran to the far end of the cage. Randall drew McCord to his feet, led him from the cage, and locked the door. McCord sustained deep lacerations of the leg but recovered. 43550-4019
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Randell “Randy” J. Froedge, 59, of Hebron, Ind., died on Dec. 20, 2000. He was the son of Samuel and Robbie Froedge.
Froedge graduated from Crown Point High School in Crown Point, Ind., in 1959, and retired as a station electrician from Northern Indiana Public Service Co. after 27 years of service. He enjoyed doing woodworking for family and close friends. He was married to his wife, Sylvia (Shirey), for 24 years.
After he saved a zookeeper from an attacking bear, the Chicago Tribune wrote a story about him that it published on Aug. 9, 1955, according to the website for the Lowell, Ind., Public Library.
“I looked at that cage later and asked myself, ‘You mean you went in there after that bear?’ I guess I was too excited when it happened to realize what I was doing.”
In the story, the zookeeper says, “I’d probably be in the morgue if it hadn’t been for you.”
(Edited from an obituary published in The Times of Northwest Indiana in Munster, Ind.)