In 1878 Frederick William Toenges emigrated from Germany where he had worked as a shoe cobbler. He settled in Fort Wayne, Indiana and continued working as a cobbler. Frederick soon recognized that retailing would be more rewarding and in 1891 established a shoe store at 1127 Maumee Avenue. In 1891 he married and he and his wife Elise had 10 children. Two of his sons, John and Arthur, joined their father in the business. Grandfather Frederick died in 1930 and John and Arthur carried on the business. In 1942 Arthur’s son Fred W. Toenges, began working in the store after school and on week-ends even though he was only 14 years old. In 1946, John died and Fred W. became a full time employee after graduating from High School.
Fred W. continued his education at Indiana University’s Fort Wayne campus in the study of Business and Engineering, while still working 60 hours a week at the shoe store. Fred’s pedorthic education consists of studies at Ball State University, Temple University, Northwestern Medical University, New York University and the United States Hospital at Carville Louisiana. Fred was the President of the Pedorthic Footwear Assn as well a President of the Board for Certification in Pedorthics. He served on the National Board of the Diabetic Assn and while there Co-Authored a Physicians Manual for the care of the diabetic foot. Fred also worked at Lutheran Hospital’s Crippled Children’s Orthopedic Clinic and St. Joe Hospital’s Diabetic Clinic. Fred considers the "High-Light of My Career" as being chosen by the Olympic Committee as one of 11 Certified Pedorthists (out of 1,800) to serve athletes from all nations at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
The youngest son, Ross, has assumed the responsibilities of the business. Ross graduated from Purdue University in 1988 with a BS degree. He attended Northwestern University in 1992 for Prosthetics and worked in the Orthotics and Prosthetics field in Columbus, Ohio from 1992 through 1995. During which time Ross became a Certified Prosthetist. In 1995 Ross helped to start Toenges Prosthetics and worked in the same facility as his dad, Fred W., and brother.
His father, Fred W., wanted to retire so Ross bought the business in 2007. Ross and Angela have one son and two daughters. Their son, Max, continues the tradition as the 5th generation of Toenges working at the store.