WASHINGTON — Ron Froman, former Chief of the Peoria Tribe (Oklahoma) and first Chairman of the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC), passed away on May 28, 2006 from a long illness. He was 65.
In addition to co-founding and serving as the first Chairman of NAIHC, Froman served as the executive director of the Creek Housing Authority, business director of the athletic department of Oklahoma State University, chairman of the board of the Peoria Housing Authority and Chief of the Peoria Tribe. Later he started a consulting firm that assisted numerous tribes throughout the state in financial matters.
“I am proud to follow in the footsteps of a great and committed leader,” said NAIHC Chairman Marty Shuravaloff. “Our membership and Indian families across the country have benefited from his pioneering spirit and vision. He will be sorely missed.”
Born on June 29, 1940 in Miami, Okla., Froman graduated from Miami High School. He served in the Army as a Russian interpreter during the Vietnam War (1962-65.) After serving, he graduated from Oklahoma State University with a business degree in accounting.
He is survived by his wife, Winifred Froman; three daughters, one stepson, one stepdaughter, five grandchildren; four step-grandchildren, one sister and three brothers. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers.
Froman and other Indian housing leaders helped to found NAIHC in 1974 to counter Congressional actions that included legislation to terminate the Indian housing program. The House version of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 was not going to include appropriations for Indian housing, which since the early 1960s had been part of public housing administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Froman and Tim Foster, Chairman of the Yakama Nation Housing Authority in Washington, were among tribal housing leaders who went before a congressional conference committee at the 11th hour to successfully argue for restoring appropriations into the reconciled bill.
“Ron read the first half of the proposal, and I read the second,” recalled Foster.
“The vision at the time was just trying to survive,” Froman told NAIHC in 2004. “Most of our time was spent testifying before relevant committees in Congress and writing regulations.”
Froman expressed pride in the organization he helped found.
“NAIHC turned into a great advocate for Indian housing and a tremendous resource for those responsible for delivering housing in Indian Country,” Froman said.
“On behalf of everyone at NAIHC, we express our heartfelt sympathies to Chairman Froman’s family, friends and colleagues,” said NAIHC Executive Director Gary Gordon. “He began his career as a pioneer in Indian housing and remained a committed leader in Indian Country throughout his life.”