Terry Frey, a Red Lion pharmacist easily recognized by his trademark suspenders and lovingly remembered for his kind and giving heart, died in his home Friday. He was 75.
"He was a very caring person. He'd give you the shirt off his back and never ask anything in return," said his wife Joan Frey.
Joan and Terry were high school sweethearts, eventually marrying on Friday, April 13, 1956. They celebrated their 56th anniversary this year, proving 13 was their lucky number, according to their youngest son Dave Frey.
"Mom is 13 days older than Dad, and for 13 days of the year, he would joke and remind her he had to sleep with an old lady for 13 days," he said. "My dad loved his family. He was a real family man."
Terry Frey was born in Red Lion on Oct. 9, 1936 to the late Allen A. and Dorcas I. (Stitley) Frey and grew up in the house his father built in 1943. He graduated from Red Lion High School in 1954 and from Temple University in 1958.
The pharmacy: But most of his life was spent as the owner and operator of Lion Pharmacy in Red Lion.
"Customers would just love to see him. He got to know every single person," said Dawn Strevig, a manager and pharmacy technician who worked there with him for 30 years.
He frequently went "above and beyond" to help anyone who had a hardship, she said.
"If someone couldn't afford to purchase medicine, nine times out of 10, he would just give it to them," she said, referencing bygone days of IOUs and ledgers.
Among his belongings, Terry Frey still has a book of loans he floated, Dave said.
"Many are outstanding and will never be paid," he said of the personal loans. "If someone needed a car or something, he helped. That was Dad."
That caring heart was lauded this week through online guest books and calls to family, they said.
"He touched so many lives in so many ways," Dave said.
One of those lives was Strevig's.
"I walked in the pharmacy when I was 17, and he took me under his wing. He treated me like a daughter. He would do anything for anyone, even people he didn't know," she said.
While she worked for him, he became both a mentor and father figure, she said.
"I learned from him. He was one of the most influential people in my life. Because of him, I try to live honestly and be caring," she said.
Giving: His family attributed that big heart to his Christian beliefs.
"He never hesitated to tell people about his faith and family. He was a goodwill ambassador," his wife said.
Dave recalled once asking his father about tithing and if he should always give 10 percent. And his father's response was less about percentages and more about giving, he said.
"He said you should always help when you can, where you can," he said.
One year, that meant donating money to have a Santa shanty in Red Lion. And the first year of it being in place, there wasn't a Santa available, so the pharmacist dressed up that year.
He was an active member of his community. A member of Zion United Methodist Church in Felton, he was a teacher, and served on the pastor, parish and cemetary committees. He was also a member of the Red Lion Rotary Club, Red Lion Jaycees, Red Lion Country Club, Red Lion Ambulance Club, board member of Core States Bank and belonged to the York County arm of the Pennsylvania Pharmaceutical Association.
Terry Frey also enjoyed golfing, hunting, fishing, gardening and spending time with his family. And while doing all of that, loved ones said he was often wearing suspenders. He had many, but everyone remembers the red pair.
"They were his trademark," Dave said. So much so that they will be part of his funeral, he said.
Terry Frey is survived by his wife Joan (Hotlzapple) Frey and three sons, Jeffrey (Christine) Frey, of Red Lion; Scott (Traci) Frey of Boalsburg; and Dave Frey of Harrisburg. He also leaves seven grandchildren, Matthew Jackson, Zachary Frey, Wesley Frey, Erin Frey, Nathan Frey, Brooke Frey and Sydney Brown; and two great-grandchildren, Ryan Jackson and Kyle Jackson.
In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by a daughter Alana (Frey) Brown.
Viewings will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Life Tributes by Olewiler & Heffner Funeral Chapel & Crematory, Inc. at 35 Gotham Place in Red Lion, and 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday at Zion United Methodist Church in Red Lion at 1155 Felton Road. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the church.
Memorial contributions may be made to Zion United Methodist Church, 1155 Felton Road, Red Lion, PA 17356; or Red Lion Ambulance Association, 312 Horrace Mann Ave., Red Lion, PA 17356.
- Candy Woodall can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.