Dr. Francis “Frank” L. Friel


ROCKFORD – Dr. Francis “Frank” L. Friel, 89, of Rockford, died peacefully on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, at home with family by his side.

The youngest of eight children, he was born Jan. 17, 1934, in Amboy, to Edwin and Mary “Molly” (Morrissey) Friel. He was a beloved chiropractor for 47 years, caring for patients at the former Friel Chiropractic Clinic, 2606 Broadway, in Rockford.

Frank was raised on a farm and completed his first eight years of education in a one-room country grade school, riding on his horse “Dick” four miles to and from school each day. In 1951, he graduated from Amboy High School with many friends that he kept in touch with all throughout his life.

In 1953, he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Following "boot camp," Frank was sent to JAG (Judge Advocate General) school for a six-month study of Military Law and Court Reporting. He then deployed to Seoul, Korea, where he served as Secretary to the Commander of the 3rd Transportation Railway Command for the duration of his service.

Upon discharge, Frank returned home and enrolled at National Chiropractic College in Chicago, graduating in 1959. He interned for two years at Stitzel Chiropractic in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, before returning to Rockford to build his own successful practice which continued over the next 45 years.

Frank is survived by his devoted wife of 40 years Rita, (Knuth White); children from first marriage to Barbara (Rufh) [divorced 1972], Cathy (John) Friel-Dombeck, Beth (Tom) Schaefer, Tricia Friel, and Tim (Kim) Friel; step-children Larry White and Julia White Heglund; 11 grandchildren, Chris, Tim, Sam, Jared, Nick, Brienne, Samantha, Kay, Jill, Natalie and Jacob; 3 great-grandchildren, Felix, TJ and Camryn; and many special nieces, nephews; and dear friends, neighbors and former patients.

He was preceded in death by twin sisters, Mary Jane (Delmar) Long and Helen (Kenneth) Hornbeck; and five brothers, Joseph (Josephine), Luke, Charles, Edward (Joyce) and William, who died as an infant.

Frank belonged to Holy Family Catholic Church; was a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association, Northern Illinois Chiropractic Association, National College Alumni Association; former long-time member of Rockford Lion’s Club and Mauh-Nah-Tee- See Country Club; an avid golfer, life-long gin rummy player and Chicago sports fan.

The family would like to give special thanks to the wonderful, “sent from heaven” home caregiver, Lambaa, who was with Frank and his family for the last two months.

On Saturday, Feb. 11, there will be a 9:30 a.m. visitation followed by 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 32 N. Jones Street, in Amboy. Burial will be in St. Patrick Cemetery in Amboy.

Please share memories and condolences online at www.fitzgeraldfh.com.