O’FALLON, Mo. - The family and friends of Brian Froneyberger gathered on the football field of the Ft. Zumwalt West Friday evening to honor the memory of a man who courageously fought head and neck cancer to be around his family for as long as he could.
Froneyberger was a parent and coach who was directly involved in the lives of many students. That connection was evident in the way students rallied behind his family.
“This is the neatest group of kids that I’ve ever seen,” said Dan Froneyberger, Brian’s father.
Dan attended the vigil on Friday and recalled how moved he was by students who visited his son in the hospital.
“They stayed and visited probably an hour or two. From there they went into the hallway. They came back individually and each one said something, kissed him on the forehead and whispered in his ear,” said Froneyberger. “It was the most touching thing you’d ever seen.”
Brian’s widow Donna was moved to tears Friday talking about that hospital visit.
“It was maybe just a couple of hours before he took his last breath and everyone one of them came in there and whispered to him how he touched their lives and how he was making each of them stronger,” she said. “He showed some of them what a real dad was supposed to be and they are going to carry that with them forever. There were so many things they said that were just beautiful.”
Students said it’s been painful and powerful to watch the way Brian fought to be with his family and moved to see how much their community cares.
“It just makes me happy that we have these people around us that will always be there for us and love us,” Ft. Zumwalt West student Ainsley Riggle said.