Fred Toenges, Fort Wayne shoe and pedorthic leader, dies

The company announced Mr. Toenges' death Wednesday evening.
The company announced Mr. Toenges' death Wednesday evening.(Fred Toenges Footwear)
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 8:09 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Fred W. Toenges, longtime outfitter of footwear and pedorthic devices, has died, the company confirmed on Wednesday.

In a letter to customers, staff said he was “a remarkable man with a million stories and plenty of one liners.” His cause of death was not made public.

Toenges began working at the company in 1942 when he was just 14 years old, according to the company’s history. His grandfather, Frederick Toenges, emigrated from Germany and founded the company in Fort Wayne in 1891.

After graduating high school, Fred W. began work as a full-time employee in the family business. He attended college at Indiana University Fort Wayne while working 60 hours a week at the store. He furthered his education at a number of colleges and universities including Ball State, Temple University and Northwestern Medical University.

Mr. Toenges wrote books instructing doctors on how to care for the feet of diabetic patients. He also worked for the children’s orthopedic clinic at Lutheran Hospital and St. Joe Hospital’s diabetic clinic. He considered his work as a certified pedorthist for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece the highlight of his career.

An entrepreneur who shepherded his family’s company into the 21st century, Fred Toenge’s name was known to many. He retired in 2007 after passing the business down to his son, Ross.

The company maintains a store and clinic in the Parkwest Shopping Center near Jefferson Pointe.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

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