A so called Western Deba/Yo Deba could be what that person needs - this is a very heavy version of a chef knife, explicitly designed to deal with things like "half frozen food", "small bones" (commonly found descriptions in catalogs).
Do not confuse with the true japanese style deba (single bevelled and thick as a cookie.), that would be a pessimal knife choice for such a use(r). These look even more brutal/sturdy than the Yo-Deba but they aren't, you will need a whetstone and/or a first aid kit very quickly if you abuse it.
A so called "lobster splitter" would be the all-western equivalent.
Another, more rare designation for such knives (from japanese and japanese style makers) is "Reito-Kiri", these are explicitly designed for handling frozen food; not everything designated as a Reito-Kiri is chef knife shaped (some are serrated or double-handled).
Avoid hidden-tang handles (like those found on aforementioned chinese cleaver or more delicate japanese types) on knives used for really rough work: Your blade could literally fly off the handle and cause an accident.
"prying stuff open" and "chopping hard up and down" are two very different requirements when it comes to knife selection. Hard chopping (not TOO hard chopping) can actually be done well with a thin and quite hard knife - such would be a disastrous choice for prying. This exactly applies to the chinese vegetable cleaver that was suggested.