W. Roger Fry, lawyer who loved nature and carvings, dead at 77


W. Roger Fry liked to recall events in Music Hall when the old Hook & Hastings pipe organ was still in use.

The conversation would often turn to his great-great-grandfather, Henry L. Fry and his son William H., who designed and carved, with help from their wood-carving students, the great screen that surrounded the organ.

“The native black walnut, darkened with lamp black and oiled with linseed oil, was carved with life-like birds, flowers and acanthus leaves that can be seen on so much of their work. William’s daughter, Laura A. Fry, also an accomplished carver, worked on the screen, as well,” Mr. Fry told The Enquirer last May, as the hall closed for renovation.

Mr. Fry did much to preserve a legacy that belongs as much to Cincinnati as to his own family. His and his wife Pat’s collection of Fry-carved furniture is the largest private collection of such furniture in existence, rivaled only by that at Cincinnati Art Museum.

Mr. Fry died on May 2 at his Indian Hill home after a battle with ocular melanoma, a rare and aggressive cancer that his family says he fought until the end. He was 77.

For more than 50 years, Mr. Fry practiced law at Rendigs, Fry, Kiely & Dennis, a firm co-founded by his father, William Fry. He started as a law clerk while taking night classes at Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law, from which he graduated first in his class.  He was revered by his colleagues, said John Cobey, who recently told his friend that he had “not only built an institution based on professionalism, but you also built friends who respect and cherish you.”

Outside of the office, Mr. Fry and his wife were passionate and devoted ambassadors for Cincinnati’s rich artistic past, said Amy Dehan, curator of decorative arts and design at Cincinnati Art Museum.

“He knew and appreciated the importance of Cincinnati as an art center long before many did,” Dehan said. “Over the years, he and Pat generously funded Cincinnati-related research initiatives and art acquisitions at the museum. With some frequency, they graciously agreed to host collectors, scholars and other museum constituents for visits to their home to view their extensive collections of Cincinnati art-carved furniture, Cincinnati paintings and Native American art.”

Mr. Fry spent decades finding, collecting and preserving the unique furniture carved by his forbearers, resulting in the finest and largest private collection of its kind. He shared both his research and his artworks, and happily lent them to institutions for exhibition, Dehan said.

His passion for collecting art took him to far-flung corners of the globe, where he befriended everyone from cowboy artists to Alaskan Eskimos. For a special exhibition at Cincinnati Art Museum in 2007-08 entitled, “The Lure of the Arctic: Eskimo and Inuit Artifacts,” the couple provided more than 200 artifacts from their collection, including an authentic kayak and an Eskimo umiak (open boat).

Mr. Fry’s love of nature took him on numerous scientific expeditions with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. As a result of his participation in collecting data about threatened penguin species on Isla Noir (Black Island) off the coast of Chile, the Chilean government recently agreed to protect those environments needed for the penguins to survive.

“Clearly he was one of the kindest, most generous and lovely guys I ever knew,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard. “For the past three decades, he had been directly involved in expeditions for the Zoo from Alaska all the way down to the coast of South America. He worked with our animal staff to research, conserve and even collect endangered birds.”

Wildlife artist John Ruthven accompanied his friend of 50 years on many expeditions and recalled their search for the rare ivory-billed woodpecker.

“Here is one of Cincinnati’s finest attorneys down in the cypress swamps of southern Alabama along the Choctawhatchee River searching for this rare bird. Not only was Roger great at his profession, but he was a wonderful naturalist,” Ruthven said. “We didn’t find the bird but we added a lot to its history.”

A longtime council member for the Village of Indian Hill, Mr. Fry and fellow council members rescued a Camp Dennison gravel mine from development, turning it instead into a multi-lake park known as Grand Valley. An ardent supporter of maintaining Indian Hill’s rural character, he also helped to establish Rheinstrom Park.

Family members remarked that in everything he did, Mr. Fry took the time to learn and master, and he did it all with a wonderful sense of humor.

“He was such an inspiration, and he was always there. I feel like he was one of my best friends,” said his son, William.

In addition to his wife of 53 years, Patricia K. Fry, Mr. Fry is survived by three sons, Ted, of Milford; Addison, of Madeira; and William, of Terrace Park; two sisters, Linda Mallett of North Carolina and Allison Montgomery of Charlottesville, Virginia; and six grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati OH 45220; Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202; Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati OH 45203, Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 or Stepping Stones Learning Center.

Visitation and memorial service, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Remembrance 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.), Wednesday, May 10, Thomas-Justin Memorial Funeral Home, 7500 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45236.

Roger Fry Receives John P. Kiely Professionalism Award

W. Roger Fry, an attorney who has been with Rendigs for 54 years, was honored by the Cincinnati Bar Association at their Annual Meeting on April 29, 2016.  Roger received the John P. Kiely Professionalism Award which recognized “his reputation of professionalism and commitment to his clients and his practice” (CBA Annual Meeting Program).

Per the CBA website, this award is given to “a trial lawyer for possessing outstanding trial skills and demonstrating the highest degree of professionalism, civility and ethical standards in his or her daily practice.”

The award is named after Rendigs Partner John P. Kiely who was widely lauded for his ethical approach to the practice of law.

Roger delivered a sincere acceptance speech which touched on John P. Kiely’s professional life at Rendigs and thanked the firm and the greater Bar community for their support.  Two tables of Roger’s friends and family joined to celebrate him at the luncheon.

We are honored to practice alongside Roger and are proud of the award that he has received.

Roger Fry Award 2  Roger Fry Award

In For A Penny, In For A Pound



Does your business hire labor through staffing agencies or subcontractors? Do you share
workers with another company? If so, new interpretive guidance from the U.S. Department
of Labor (“DOL”) Wage & Hour Division suggests you should pay careful attention to those
shared workers and their hours, as your business could be responsible for more of their
wages than you might expect.

Read More – March 2016 – Joint Employment Interpretations

Roger Fry to Receive CBA Professionalism Award

Rendigs attorney W. Roger Fry will receive the John P. Kiely Professionalism Award during the Cincinnati Bar Association Annual Meeting on April 29, 2016.

Per the CBA website, this award “recognizes a trial lawyer for possessing outstanding trial skills and demonstrating the highest degree of professionalism, civility and ethical standards in his or her daily practice.”

The award is named after Rendigs Partner John P. Kiely who was widely lauded for his ethical approach to the practice of law.

Roger has been with Rendigs for 54 years.  His practice focuses on litigation, with an emphasis on construction, commercial law, and insurance coverage. He also has substantial experience in art and tribal art law, firearms litigation, fire litigation, and class action litigation.

Roger is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and an Advocate of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is also a member of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel.

Official Statement Regarding the Emilie Olsen Family Lawsuit

Rendigs was retained by the Olsen family to investigate the 2014 death of their 13 year old daughter, Emilie.  After months of gathering and reviewing hundreds of documents, conducting numerous interviews, and reviewing applicable law, it is our conclusion that Emilie’s suicide is a direct result of the sustained bullying, discrimination, and harassment that she suffered at Fairfield City Public Schools.

On December 11, 2015, Rendigs filed a 22-count Complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio against the Fairfield City School District and others on behalf of the Olsen family.  We will vigorously pursue this case in order to vindicate our clients’ rights and to affect change within the Fairfield school system.

Respecting the privacy of the family during this difficult time is of the utmost concern, and, as such, we and the Olsen family aim to advance this case in the courtroom, not the media.  No further statements will be made at this time.

Rendigs is proud of the 10 attorneys who have been selected to the 2016 Ohio Super Lawyers list.

Karen Carroll – Medical Malpractice, Defense
Thomas Evans –  Medical Malpractice, Defense
Michael Foley – Business Litigation
W. Roger Fry – General Litigation
William Fry – RISING STAR, Business Litigation
Jeffrey Hines – Medical Malpractice, Defense
Peter Ney – Product Liability Defense
David Peck – Alternative Dispute Resolution
Arthur Phelps (Ted) – Health Care
Jonathan Saxton – General Litigation

Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit SuperLawyers.com.

2016 Best Lawyers

In addition to being recognized as a 2016 U.S. News & World Report Best Law Firm, 11 attorneys have been recognized as Best Lawyers in America©.  This is Rendigs’ largest class of Best Lawyers representing nearly 40% of our firm’s attorney.

Don Adams – Admiralty & Maritime Law

Karen Carroll – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants

Tom Evans – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants

Mike Foley – Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

W. Roger Fry – Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Mediation

Ed Goldman – Commercial Litigation, Construction Law, Insurance Law, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Jeff Hines – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants

John McLaughlin – Insurance Law

Pete Ney – Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Ted Phelps – Insurance Law

Jon Saxton – Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
Per the Best Lawyers website: “Inclusion in Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer-review. The methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area. Best Lawyers employs a sophisticated, conscientious, rational, and transparent survey process designed to elicit meaningful and substantive evaluations of the quality of legal services. Our belief has always been that the quality of a peer-review survey is directly related to the quality of its voting pool.”

We are proud of the recognition that these attorneys have received for their commitment to their practice and to our clients.

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