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Hoehler, Fred K.

Fred K. Hoehler (1893-1969) —  Executive Director of the American Public Welfare Association, International Social Work

Introduction: Fred Kenneth Hoehler was a public welfare and social service administrator. He was director of public welfare in Cincinnati, OH, he became head of the American Public Welfare Association during changes following passage of the Social Security Act in 1935; his leadership enhanced the understanding between public welfare workers and social workers in private agencies. World War II led him to administrative positions with U.S. and United Nations programs for international relief and rehabilitation which initiated a life long involvement with social work internationally. In a variety of administrative positions he worked for nearly twenty years in Chicago city government with Mayor Daley and with Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson.

Early Years: Fred K.  Hoehler was born at Shenadoah, Pennsylvania on June 6, 1893.  He received his prep-school education in Philadelphia and entered the Pennsylvania State College as a candidate for Bachelor of Science in Forestry.  He graduated as a Forester and Logging Engineer in 1915.  During his school career he participated in athletics, particularly in football, wrestling, and Lacrosse.  As a forester, he served with the U.  S.  Forestrey Service in Superior National Forest, with the Commer Diggins Co., Cadillac, Michigan, and the Mobray-Robinson Co., Quicksand, Kentucky.

In 1915 he came to the University of Cincinnati for graduate work and to organize the University Y.M.C.A.  While there, he assisted in coaching football, was boxing and wrestling coach, and was Secretary of the Alumni Assoc. From 1917 to 1919 he was First Lieutenant for Field Artillery, U.S.A. One and one-half years later he returned to the University of Cincinnati and continued his work there.

Career in Public Welfare: In 1928 he was called by Col.  C.O.  Sherrill, City Manager of Cincinnati, to serve as Director of Public Welfare for the City and by the County Commissioners for Hamilton Country.  He served in this capacity until November, 1933.  In the spring of 1933 he organized the County Department of Public Welfare which has carried all unemployment relief cases in Hamilton County since then, according to the regulations of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration.  He served as Hamilton County Civil Works Administrator until January 1, 1934.

In November, 1933 he was appointed Director of Safety for the City of Cincinnati by Mr.  C.  A.  Dykstra, City Manager, also retaining his connection with the City Welfare Division as Acting Commissioner.  He served in this capacity until November 30, 1935, at which time he accepted the position of Director of the American Public Welfare Association with headquarters in Chicago.  Hoehler later served as President of the American Public Welfare Association for three years.

On November 18, 1917, he married Dorothy Stevens, daughter of C.  A.  Stevens, Cincinnati.  They had two children – Fred, Jr.  and Caroline Ann.

Hoehler was a member of the Cincinnati Association, University Club, “C” Club, Masons, Congregational Church, American Association of Social Workers, Oola Khan Grotto, Cincinnati Gyro Club, Cincinnati Peace League, Foreign Policy Association.  He also served as President of the Local Chapter of the American Association of Social Workers. Hoehler served on the Advisory Committee for Mr.  Harry Hopkins, Federal Emergency Relief Administrator; on the Economic Security Committee; and the National Youth Administration Board for Ohio.

Reference: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Social Welfare History Archives. Minneapolis, MN:

How to Cite this Article (APA Format): Social Welfare History Project. (2011). Fred K. Hoehler (1893-1969) — Executive director of the American Public Welfare Association, international social work. Social Welfare History Project. Retrieved [date accessed] from

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