Photo of Richard Froehlich
Mr. Richard M. Froehlich

Obituary of Mr. Richard M. Froehlich

September 24, 2021

Richard Froehlich passed away suddenly of cardiac arrest on Friday, September 24th. He is predeceased by his husband, Dr. Joseph DiVito, who passed away five months to the day before Richard's passing. Richard embraced life, love, and family. His absence will be felt heavily by all who knew him and those whose lives were improved by the impact of his work.

Richard is survived by his siblings and in-laws: Steven and Linda Froehlich, Charles and Gail Froehlich, Alan and Jodi Cohn, Jo Ann Cohn, Shari and Martin Cohn-Simmen, Vivien and Tom Barcia, Barry and Deborah Cohn, Jennifer and Colin Marsh, Thomas DiVito; his nieces and nephews and their partners in life: Jennifer, Lindsay and Michael Cohen, Betty and Jocelyn Cohn, Hannah Cohn-Simmen, Michael Barcia, Eric and Athena Froehlich, Sam Cohn and Joey Martin, Andrew and Christina Froehlich, Anthony Cirranello, Tim O'Loughlin, David and Vanessa Barcia, Adam and Ariel Cohn, and Isaac Froehlich; his grand-nieces and nephews: Makenna and Harrison Barcia, Anna-Cate and Chelsea Grace Froehlich; as well as uncles, aunts, and cousins: Audrey and Charlie Falk, Bernice and Bob Szita, Arthur, Judy, Noah, Jeremy, and Kaila Falk, Rogerio, Naomi, and Joshua Falk.

Richard joined the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) as General Counsel in 2003 and was promoted several times to his last position as First Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, where he directed the Corporation's bond finance and operating activities. Richard has been a primary coordinator of HDC's award-winning preservation efforts that have led to the continued affordability of over 140,000 units of low and middle-income housing in New York City. He has also been a leader in designing and implementing HDC's participation in Mayor Bill De Blasio's Housing New York plan to build and preserve 300,000 units of affordable housing in New York City. Richard was a member of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, a self-regulatory organization created under the Federal Securities Act Amendments of 1975 to regulate the municipal finance industry, for a four-year term until October 1, 2018. Richard was also elected to the board of the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies in 2014 and served as its President.

Richard's work with NYCHDC was a source of great pride for him. He knew that his work was important, that he brought tremendous expertise to the task, and that his contributions mattered, improving the lives of New York Citizens.

Richard was also the consummate teacher, bringing his vast knowledge of public and affordable housing finance into the classroom as an adjunct associate professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation where he taught courses on affordable housing finance and public finance.

Prior to joining HDC, Richard was a Counsel at the law offices of O'Melveny & Meyers LLP where he was involved in numerous multi-family housing transactions representing equity investors, lenders, credit enhancers, and issuers in bond-financed transactions. He was a 1988 graduate of Columbia University School of Law and a 1985 graduate of Columbia University's Columbia College.

Rich had a passion for the arts and particularly for music, a passion he lived in his commitment to the Stonewall Chorale, which he joined in 1991. He was honored in 2019 for his long tenure with the Chorale, as he was one of the longest-serving members.

Rich also enjoyed traveling with his husband Joe all across the United States and Europe, and though they both enjoyed the historical, cultural, and natural splendors of their travels, their most frequent and important travels were to see family and friends. Rich was gregarious and generous. He was a great listener, a problem solver, and, when that skill was needed, a peacemaker, who always kept the big picture in mind—the love of family and friends.

These skills were never more evident when Joe received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Rich provided unwavering support while they navigated their way through this difficult journey. The love and grace they shared and showed through this time have left an unforgettable impact on everyone they knew.

A memorial celebration for family and close friends will be held on Thursday, September 30, at 11 am at Greenwich Village Funeral Home. A zoom broadcast of the funeral will be available at Meeting ID: 995 8608 2813

The funeral will be followed by a public gravesite burial at Wellwood Cemetery (West Babylon) at 2:30 pm.

In lieu of flowers or other gifts please consider supporting any of the following: New Destiny, an organization aiding survivors of domestic violence, the Stonewall Chorale, two organizations that Rich supported consistently over the years, or the SUNY Downstate Joseph DiVito M.D. Scholarship and Education Fund.

Here is the zoom invitation for Rich's memorial services.

This link should work for both the morning service 10:30 to Noon) and the afternoon service from the Graveside (2:15 to 4:00).
*Times are approximate*

Topic: Memorial Celebration for Richard Froehlich

Time: Sep 30, 2021 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 995 8608 2813

Funeral Services

Funeral Service

September 30, 2021

10:30 AM to 12:00 PM

Greenwich Village Funeral Home

199 Bleecker Street

New York, NY 10012

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I knew Rich via the affordable housing world. I appreciate his passion for affordable housing. I also appreciated how honest and straightforward Rich could be. The only time that he cursed at me was when I made a disparaging remark about the New York Rangers. He will be missed by many.

Posted by: Mitch Bragin - Washington, DC - September 28, 2021

The loss of Rich is absolutely heartbreaking and devastating. His contributions to the affordable housing finance industry is not only felt in New York City but throughout the entire country. Rich served on the NALHFA board as its President since 2018 with such passion and dedication. I will deeply miss working with him and our frequent conversations. My deepest condolences to his family and to all those that had the privilege of knowing him. His legacy will live on forever.

Posted by: Jonathan Paine - Washington D.C., DC - September 28, 2021

Rich was an integral part of a fierce and talented group of journalists when we were all students at Columbia University in the 1980s. I was lucky to share the "news editor" role with him, and to spend night after night until the wee hours of the next day, putting out the student newspaper, shoulder to shoulder.

Those memories do not dim with time, and my affection for him from that intense period of friendship did not either.

My sincere condolences to his family on this terribly sad loss.

Rest in peace, dear Rich.

Posted by: Sharon Waxman - Los Angeles, CA - September 28, 2021

Rich will be terribly missed. He was a strong voice in the Affordable Housing World, both in helping create policy and interpreting rules but also in sharing his knowledge with others. I had the honor to work with him through the ABA. He was also a pleasure to be with in person, with a good sense of humor.

Posted by: Glenn Graff - Buffalo Grove, IL - September 28, 2021

Dear Froehlich Family,
I am so sorry of Rich's passing. My heart is deeply hurt. I have known Rich since the very first days of HDC and enjoyed every moment with Rich. He is always looking out for me and very sweet to me. He is a true friend. I will miss him very dearly.

Rest In Peace Rich and Joe.


Posted by: Annie Lee - New York, NY - September 29, 2021

Richard Froelich was a colleague who I worked with while at HPD and when developing affordable housing in Harlem. He was always helpful with solutions to various hurdles encountered and he was a fun guy. I often saw him at conferences of the Affordable Housing Section/Real Estate of the ABA. He will certainly be missed throughout the affordable housing community. Rest in peace and power Richard.

Posted by: Lucille McEwen - New York, NY - September 29, 2021

I am so sorry to hear of Professor Froehlich's sudden passing. I took a course of his, Public Financing for Urban Development, at Columbia University in 2019. Through a very thoughtfully designed curriculum he shared his immense knowledge as well as his passion for affordable housing development. He was an inspiring teacher who brought good humor and joy with him into the classroom. I am thinking of his family, friends, and loved ones during this challenging time.

Posted by: Anna Stokes - Brooklyn, NY - September 29, 2021

Rich was always supportive of me in the affordable housing industry. On numerous occasions he encouraged me to continue learning, continue working in this industry and continuing the good fight. Since 2007, when I moved to New York and started working at HDC he encouraged me to join boards, go to grad school and keep learning. He even encouraged me to travel when I could - go while you're young, take your early retirement, NY affordable housing will be here when you get back he would say. I always felt his support through the years. No one sang baritone in board meetings like Rich. No one championed NY affordable housing innovation like Rich. He will be sorely missed.

Posted by: Mrs. Stark - Hawthorne, NY - September 30, 2021

I offer my deepest condolences to Rich's family and friends. I got to know Rich when we both served for many years on the Board of Directors of New Destiny Housing Corporation. He was dedicated to New Destiny's mission and was greatly respected by all of us on the Board. I always found him to be a warm, funny, and delightful human being. I know he will be greatly missed in the affordable housing community and by all who knew him.

Posted by: Paula Sarro - New York, - September 30, 2021

A good man who will be missed
Will be remembered as a Dedicated coworker and overall gentleman

Posted by: Michael Martino - Tuckahoe, NY - September 27, 2021

Rich was a giant in our industry. His contribution to facilitating the development of affordable housing in New York City is immeasurable. More importantly, his intelligence, sharp wit, compassion, curiosity and commitment to doing the right thing made him a joy to be around. He will be missed and remembered.

Posted by: Todd Gomez - New York, NY - September 27, 2021

The world got darker a little bit without the shining light of Richs empathy, compassion and humanity I was honoured to experience while trying to be a little help through the difficult journey with Joes tragic fate.
I was shocked and devastated to find this obituary after I started being worried not to hear from him anymore and make some research.
Im feeling with all his family and friends he was so proud of and happy with, words can not express how big the loss is.
My only little consolation is thinking about him and Joe being together again walking through Elysium hand in hand.

He will never be forgotten and missed forever.

Posted by: Martin Reiszky - Berlin, - October 12, 2021

I was so sad to hear about RIch's passing. I worked with Rich at The Spectator in college. He was a few years old than me, and a great teacher and friend. My condolences to his family.

Posted by: Elizabeth Cohen - atlanta, GA - November 10, 2021
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