After a long and full life, Francis Loyd Frye left this earthly existence from his home in Brawley, California, on Jan. 6, 2018, at the age of 99.
He was born in Davidson, Oklahoma, on June 5, 1918, the first of four children born to Winnie G. and Joseph H. Frye. He was raised in Frederick, Oklahoma, and graduated from high school in 1936. Shortly thereafter, he and two friends desired to “see the world” and with only $20 in his pocket, came to California.
Francis settled in Ventura, attended junior college there and proudly graduated after two years. While there he was in the school orchestra and marched with the school band in the Rose Parade as a trumpet player. He also learned to fly in Oxnard, California, and eventually became a civilian flight instructor with Bassett and Phelps Flight School. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the flight school was moved inland, away from the West Coast, for fear of being bombed by the enemy. It was at this time that he was relocated to St. George, Utah, where he met Edna Rae Gardner. After a year courtship, they were married on Sept. 4, 1943.
The young couple made their first home in Ely, Nevada, as Francis continued as flight supervisor covering Ely and Ogden, Utah. As the war ended and the need for pilots decreased, Francis chose to pursue dentistry as his future occupation, but due to circumstances beyond his control, the option of mortuary school arose. He attended The School of Mortuary Science in Los Angeles and upon graduating, took his state boards and became a licensed embalmer and funeral director in California, Arizona and Utah. After working five years at a mortuary in Utah, the Fryes purchased Hoopes Funeral Home and moved to Brawley on July 1, 1953. He and his wife continued serving the community of Brawley and the Imperial Valley as the local funeral home for 65 years.
Mr. Frye was very active in the community. He was a member of the Brawley Chamber of Commerce, the Elks Lodge #1420 (Past Exalted Ruler 1959-1960/Past District Deputy 1963-1964), the Brawley Rotary Club (past President 1960), Masonic Lodge #402 F&AM, Eastern Star-Alamo Chapter (Worthy Patron 1962 & 1972). He was a member of the Stockmen’s Club, the Rustlers and the Imperial Valley Pioneers Museum.
He was the recipient of the Branding Iron Award in 2009 for his leadership skills and devotion to the city of Brawley.
Brawley residents have been touched by kindness and caring from Mr. Frye and his wife. His compassion and professionalism always linked hand in hand. He loved his association with people.
Mr. Frye was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his family has been strengthened by his faith. He is survived by his wife of 74 years, Edna Rae, and three daughters, Shannon (Kenneth R. Smith), Sydney (Michael S. Presley), and Sheila (Jay Kruger). Also surviving are 15 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers the Frye family has requested donations be made to the Rotary Foundation (Brawley Rotary Club), P.O. Box 1442, Brawley, CA 92227 or CHEMPI (California Hawaii Elks Major Project In.), 5450 East Lamona Ave., Fresno, CA 93727-2224.
- Friends may gather from 6-9 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 15, to visit with family at Frye Chapel.
- Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 10 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 490 West D Street.
- There will be a viewing Monday, Jan. 22, from 5-7 p.m. at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff, St. George, Utah.
- Burial will be Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 11 a.m. in the family plot in Pine Valley, Utah.
Friends and family are invited to sign Francis’ online guestbook at www.spilsburymortuary.com.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Spilsbury Mortuary, 435-673-2454.
For condolences, full obituary and funeral listings please visit Spilsbury Mortuary online.