Donald Frey
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Donald S. Frey, Jr., died September 20th, 2020. He was 83.

Still here to love and miss him are his siblings, Richard Frey, Robert Frey and Janet Rohlf, and their spouses, his children, Bruce Frey and Carol Williams, and their spouses, his stepson, Jonathan Smith, and his grandsons, Christopher and Cory. Don also had many nieces and nephews and cousins who provided an eager audience for his jokes and anecdotes, of which he really had only five or so. Two of these five jokes featured a duck.

Don graduated from Denison University, where he made many dear friends who stayed in his life for more than sixty years, and earned a Masters degree from the University of Chicago. He worked for decades as a social worker with the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, most of that time in their Community Service Office, working for social justice. The final years of his working life, he was in private practice. Don was active in the civil rights movement in the turbulent 60's in Topeka and supported causes dedicated to justice and acceptance. He was grateful to have met three great loves in his life and he truly regretted that they overlapped.

After retirement, Don volunteered at Audio-Reader, a radio service for the reading-disabled at the University of Kansas. For the last ten years, he had a weekly radio show where he and his son read small town news, played old rock and roll records, and discussed Don's 1930's Broadway show about the American labor movement. (The fact that the play was imaginary and Don hadn't been born until 1937 did not hamper his enthusiasm for sharing anecdotes about the experience). Don enjoyed classic movies, great literature, Kris Kristofferson songs, and gathering with his family for reunions in a beloved New Jersey beach resort town. At the beach, though, he seldom went into the water because of the crabbies. His greatest love of all was old-time radio. He collected and shared and was an expert on radio dramas and comedies from the 30's through the 50's. His favorite show was The Great Gildersleeve, a long-running family comedy about a slightly pompous, occasionally misunderstood, but ultimately well-meaning fellow. He never saw the irony.

Don died peacefully with his son beside him, the voices of his daughter and sister on the phone in his ear, and the sounds of The Great Gildersleeve filling the room. His popular book, Great Tales of the Sea, is out-of-print and may never have been published. If you'd like to honor Don, consider donating to Audio-Reader at A memorial service will be held in the future.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Lawrence Journal-World on Oct. 2, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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4 entries
October 12, 2020
Don was a wonderful man and a compassionate counselor. We loved his sense of humor. Don was in our wedding in 1993 and came to our vow renewal in 2013. We will miss his smile and kind heart
Ginger Chang
October 5, 2020
My condolences to the family . May you find comfort in your treasured memories
and Gods promise to return our loved ones . 1st Thessalonians 4 : 13 & 14 .
October 3, 2020
My wife, Beth, told me she had read this obituary and she wondered if this man was the father of Bruce Frey. She showed it to me and after further inspection we found that it had to be Bruce's Dad. Sounds like this man might have enjoyed that bit of investigative journalism we undertook. In any case, Beth and I offer our condolences to Bruce Frey (whom we know) and Bruce's nuclear and extended family. He sounded like a very inquisitive man with ideologies about social justice which endure as important from his youth to this day. He also enjoyed the Oldies which is a trait that I know is shared by his son, Bruce.
With Sympathy, Bob and Beth Harrington
Robert and Beth Harrington
October 3, 2020
I didn’t know Don, but after reading that brilliantly written obit, I wish I had. Kudos to the author for penning a perfectly wonderful tribute!
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