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Gunnar Frey, Jr.

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“My deepest sympathy to you at the death of your father. You are in my thoughts and prayers. ”
1 of 14 | Posted by: Judy Harpestad - Wells, MN

“Marsha,If it was you that texted me a message. Thank you. I was saddened to learn of Gunnar's death. I will always remember him as such a sweet,...Read More »
2 of 14 | Posted by: Betty Scheider - MN - Friend

“Dear Dave, sorry for your loss of your dad. I have happy memories of him as our teacher. How he ever put up with all our disruptive behavior those...Read More »
3 of 14 | Posted by: Genell Cummings - Rochester, MN

“So many memories of Gunnar and Abbi. Wherever they went they were so happy and so engaged. Whether out in the neighborhood, watching birds and...Read More »
4 of 14 | Posted by: Marsha Berry - St. Paul, MN

“Dave and Marsha, very sorry for your loss of your father. I still have very fond memories of the neighborhood and your dad. ”
5 of 14 | Posted by: Robert (Bob) Feist

“Mr. Frey was one of my favorite teachers As I remember I had classes with him my junior and senior year. One was business law. But what I remember...Read More »
6 of 14 | Posted by: Jerry Passer - Cedar Rapids, IA

“Where to begin...Dave and Marsha, you have my deepest sympathy. Your dad was an amazing man - dedicated, loving, hard-working, PATIENT - the list...Read More »
7 of 14 | Posted by: Libby Bergen - Shakopee, MN

“What a beautiful tribute to Gunnar. You even captured the twinkle in his eye with your words. It brought back so many memories of our times together....Read More »
8 of 14 | Posted by: Dawn Bruner - Tustin, CA

“So many wonderful memories, your dad was loved and respected by so many students. Our prayers and thoughts are with you all. God Bless ”
9 of 14 | Posted by: Greg Scheid - Blue Earth, MN

“Just reading the obituary brought back all the reasons your dad was well loved & respected by so many of his students!! I was your baby sitter, one...Read More »
10 of 14 | Posted by: Denise Anderson - CO Springs, CO

“Marsha & David,I was sorry to hear of Gunner's passing. Your Dad was a great man full of integrity and character! He did so much for the community...Read More »
11 of 14 | Posted by: Georganna Wright - Burnsville, MN

“My deepest sympathy in your loss. Thoughts, hugs and prayers. I fondly member Mr. Frey is so many ways--thru Spanish classes (I was Bernardo), thru...Read More »
12 of 14 | Posted by: Brian Wanzek - Palm Springs, CA

“My deepest sympathy in your loss. Thoughts, hugs and prayers. I fondly member Mr. Frey is so many ways--thru Spanish classes (I was Bernardo), thru...Read More »
13 of 14 | Posted by: Brian Wanzek - Palm Springs, CA

“My deepest sympathy in your loss. Thoughts, hugs and prayers. I fondly member Mr. Frey is so many ways--thru Spanish classes (I was Bernardo), thru...Read More »
14 of 14 | Posted by: Brian Wanzek - Palm Springs, CA

Patriotic Emblem

Gunnar Frey, age 96, died Wed., November 29, 2017 at his home in Minneapolis, surrounded by family, caregivers, and Abbi, his loving companion beagle.

The Memorial Service will be held 11:00 am Mon., December 18, 2017, at Open Doors United Methodist Church, Wells, MN. Visitation will be one hour prior to service and 4:00-7:00pm Sun., Dec. 17 at Bruss-Heitner Funeral Home in Wells. Memorials preferred to the Wells Library Foundation.

Gunnar was born in Des Moines, IA, on March 18, 1921 to Swedish immigrants Anny and Gunnar Frey, Sr. His mother died when he was a young child and he grew up with his father and other relatives throughout Iowa, New Mexico and Texas, graduating from High School in Austin, TX. Gunnar proudly served in the U.S. Army Air Corps, 12th Air Force, during WWII, from 1942-1945. Upon returning from the war, he first attended Iowa State University in Ames, then graduated from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. He later received his Master's degree from Mankato State University.

Gunnar married the love of his life, Ruth Ramona Carrothers, in Waterloo, IA on July 19, 1947. They had two children, David and Marsha. With the full support of his wife, he switched careers from accounting to teaching, knowing it was his true calling. He taught for 50 years, first in Emmons, MN, then in Wells. "Mr. Frey" taught Business courses and Spanish, from 1952-1984, then returned as a substitute for 18 more years, teaching any time he was needed (and on any subject). He could never get enough of those teenagers! He cherished his former students all his life. After moving to Minneapolis, he still gravitated to all the young people he met, neighbors, community volunteers, and caregivers. In 1969, "Mr. Frey" was named a Teacher of Excellence for the state of MN.

Ruth and Gunnar Frey and Mavis and Lyle Wright together opened the A&W Drive-in in 1960 in Wells. (Now the Dairy Queen). The original sign showing mugs of root beer for 5 cents lives on in the Wells Museum. Such a grand adventure with so many stories to tell by the school kids they employed and all those 'first dates' for many of you.

But, he was more than just a teacher and business owner. Gunnar and Ruth Frey were committed to Wells and gave countless hours as volunteers. An Albert Lea Tribune headline once stated, the "Frey's have Wells in their Blood". So true. Gunnar served as mayor for 13 years (overseeing the building of the Senior Hi-Rise, the Community center and the Public Library). He was a Utilities Commissioner for 12 years, became a Lions charter member (awarded the Melvin Jones Award), spent 50 years committed to the Chamber of Commerce, and was a lifetime VFW and American Legion member. He served on the Community Fund Board, the Golf Course Board of Directors and numerous community committees. He loved delivering Meals on Wheels. Gunnar was a lifelong member of the Wells United Methodist Church, serving as trustee, volunteering for many committees, driving the elderly to church.
Gunnar was named Outstanding Citizen in 1981 and had the pleasure of being Grand Marshall in the Kernel Days Parade twice – most recently just after his 90th birthday.

One of the most important descriptions of "Mr. Frey" is his passion for life and his capacity for seeing the good in the world. His quiet faith allowed him to gracefully embrace the last years of his life. He always said he wasn't afraid to die, but until then, he planned to live every day to the fullest. Many of you have memories of him playing bridge or whist, swimming, golfing, calling 'Bingo' games for the Lions, inviting people to the cabin and in recent years riding around town on his scooter or in his golf cart. He loved to travel with Ruth and then later with his children and granddaughter Mackenna. In later years, even with his mobility issues, he went to OR, TX, Mexico, AZ, and FLA. He swam with dolphins. He golfed with a disability golf cart. He rode roller coasters. Once he moved to Minneapolis and lived with his daughter Marsha and her partner Pat, he wanted a full life. It was always, "Where are we going today?" Twins, Vikings, Gophers, the State Fair, outdoor concerts, Farmer's Markets, nature trails, flower shows, riding light rail … And if he couldn't get out, then just people-watching on the front porch, talking to neighbors or following his passion, watching birds in the back yard. He traveled everywhere in his power wheelchair, with his "co-pilot" Abbi on his lap. They were the hit of the neighborhood.

Gunnar is survived by his son, Dave and granddaughter Mackenna, Beaverton, Oregon; daughter Marsha and partner Pat, Minneapolis; companion beagle, Abbi; niece Marlys Woock, Iowa; nephew Tom Carrothers, Colorado; as well as numerous cousins and their children, living in the U.S. and Sweden. He was preceded in death by his wife Ruth in 2002, his sisters-in-law, his parents, and his nephew Doug Marshall in 2014.