David B. Frey Sr., 83, C&P executive

April 30, 2004|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

David Benjamin Frey Sr., a retired Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. executive and yachtsman who was a co-founder of an organization that aids needy students, died of cancer Tuesday at his St. Michaels home. He was 83.

Mr. Frey was born and raised in Catonsville, and graduated from Catonsville High School in 1938. He earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1943 from the University of Maryland.

He enlisted in the Navy that year and, as part of its midshipman school, attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University.

Mr. Frey served with amphibious forces in the Pacific aboard the USS Jupiter and USS Westmoreland as navigator and division officer, and participated in five major battles including Iwo Jima and Leyte Gulf.

He began his C&P career in 1946 as an engineer and became an area manager. He retired in 1981.

For years, Mr. Frey lived on Burley Creek in St. Margarets, between Annapolis and the Bay Bridge.

His interest in sailing began as a 10-year-old, canoe racing on the Magothy River. In 1932, a friend of his father said he had a 16-foot sailboat stuck in the mud and shallow water near Sparrows Point, and offered the boat to them if they could raise it.

They dragged the boat ashore, transported it home by trailer and restored it.

"My addiction started then," Mr. Frey told The Evening Sun in 1976.

Mr. Frey owned and raced several yachts, all named Saga, and became a well-known racing figure on the bay. In addition to the 15 races he participated in annually, he and his family also enjoyed cruising.

Mr. Frey had served as chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association's Delta Division, and enjoyed promoting the sport, which he claimed was for people from all walks of life.

"Sailing isn't necessarily for the affluent, for the Vanderbilts and du Ponts," he told the newspaper. "It's a throwback to our heritage when people braved the elements to cross the ocean to get to America. There were a lot of seasick people who staggered up on our shores.

"It was, and still is, an exercise in using the winds, waves and currents to get from A to point B. A lot of talent, traits and devices come into play," he said.

After retiring, Mr. Frey gave up sailing, sold his boat and home, moved to St. Michaels and took up golf.

Energetic and spirited, Mr. Frey immersed himself in community activities. He had served on the board of the Talbot County Children's Council and Talbot County Parks and Recreation Department.

He had been chairman of the Anne Arundel County chapter of the American Red Cross.

In 1981, Mr. Frey and Bill McLeod established the Bay Hundred Youth Task Force after St. Michaels native and former Oriole Harold Baines - now the Chicago White Sox bench coach - gave them a $1,000 donation to establish a scholarship fund for needy high school graduates.

The Harold Baines Scholarship Fund, through the task force, raises money through an annual Harold Baines Golf Tournament, held on the Eastern Shore.

"Dave wanted to do something to help kids who wanted to go on to college, trade school or community college, and that's why he got involved with the Bay Hundred Youth Task Force," said Mr. Baines' wife, Marla A. Baines, a member of the organization's board.

The scholarship is presented to graduating seniors from St. Michaels, Easton and Cambridge-South Dorchester high schools.

"He was just a wonderful man who was concerned about people," Mrs. Baines said. "He was a generous and giving guy, and his death is a big loss. But the foundation will continue and this year we're presenting the first annual David B. Frey Scholarship in his memory."

Mr. Frey was a communicant of Christ Episcopal Church in St. Michaels, where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Mr. Frey is survived by his wife of 48 years, the former Joan Ann Margerum; two sons, David B. Frey Jr. of Huntersville, N.C., and Thomas P. Frey of Emerald Isle, N.C.; two daughters, Bettye Gale Bartholomay of Towson and Susan Frey Cloud of Dover, Del.; two brothers, Donald T. Frey and Robert C. Frey, both of Baltimore; a sister, Rita Berry of Baltimore; 11 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. His previous marriage to the former Betty Ann Waltemeyer ended in divorce.

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