Jeremy Friehling was a second year medical school student at Ohio State University. He got his undergraduate degree from Duke University. He was a friend and a colleague in college, but I didn’t know that he was also the son of David Friehling, Bernie Madoff’s accountant. David Friehling pled guilty to embezzlement charges that could incur up to 105 years in jail. I found all of this out about my friend Jeremy when I read his obituary last night. Jeremy was found dead of a self-inflicted gun shot wound in his apartment in Ohio.
Jeremy and I met at Duke during resident assistant training, and we had a rough start. He was pre-med and told me that his definition of success was getting a high-paying job in a competitive field, and I told him that was a narrow definition. What about JK Rowling? She never got a high-paying job in a competitive field before her incidental success with Harry Potter. Isn’t she a success? What about Mother Teresa?
Despite the fact that we started off on the wrong foot, we both got over it. I forgave Jeremy for what I considered a lack of insight, and he forgave me for my outburst. It didn’t take me very long to realize that Jeremy Friehling was a very nice guy. He was super-dependable. If you needed someone to cover an on-call shift, Jeremy would do it. He would delete all the excess messages on the pager for the next RA on-call, a chore that most of the other RAs disregarded. “Us RAs, we look out for each other,” he told me.
He was so hard-working. Oh, I can’t tell you how hard he worked while he was at Duke. He managed the enormous workload of being pre-med, whilst doing due diligence as an RA, was completely devoted to fitness, and was a present friend. He was so disappointed one time when I couldn’t cover his on-call shift that coincided with his friend’s wedding. He was a pretty quiet guy but he just gave off the impression of being a kind person.
Jeremy Friehling was so much more than a news story about Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme, although he was victimized by it in more than one way. Rest in peace, friend. I won’t forget.