Former Churchill lawmaker Frey remembered

George Frey

George Frey

FALLON - George Frey's life began and ended in the city limits of Fallon, and even though his life's journey took him halfway across the globe, he made his mark in Churchill County.

Frey, who died Monday at the hospital at the age of 90, was born in 1917 at the hospital on Broadway Street. His parents, Joseph and Ethel Frey, lived in Stillwater, the community helped raise Frey when his mother died a month after his birth.

"The women in Stillwater - the Kents, the Trigueiros, the Weishaupts, the Lawrences - those women took care of my dad," said Jerry Frey, who attributed his father's kindness toward others to the outpouring he received as a motherless child.

George's son, Churchill County Commissioner Norm Frey, said after his grandmother Ethel died, his grandfather Joseph was unable to hold on to the family farm in Stillwater and began farming for others around the valley before setting his sights on owning a ranch of his own again.

"They realized the river bottom ground was the best ground in the valley after working in Stillwater and Soda Lake," Norm said. In 1931, Joseph and his teenage sons, George and Charlie, began working the land that turned into an 800-acre ranch on the Carson River west of Fallon.

George graduated from the University of Nevada in 1942. Five years later, he served as an assemblyman in the Nevada Legislature and met his wife, Elenor, who was working in the governor's office at the time. Norm said the two carpooled back to Fallon one day, and the rest was history.

Once back in Fallon, George continued serving his community. He was president of both the Nevada Farm Bureau in the 1950s and the Federal Land Bank. He was also chairman of the Churchill County School Board in the late 1950s.

Leland Roberson worked for George on the ranch as a teenager and remembers him as an even-tempered man.

Roberson recalled refueling a truck during the harvest season and unknowingly putting diesel fuel into the gasoline engine. Once the truck cooled down, it wouldn't start again.

"I thought I was probably done, but he just laughed about it," Roberson said. "I never did see him mad."

Jerry also remembers his father's kindness. George would let his sons use the ranch shop and all its tools and supplies.

"We were trying to build tree houses with zero engineering knowledge," Jerry said. "We would weld projects and ruin things he had going on; we would light a fire and maybe burn something up. He never got mad. He just went from the ruins and finished his projects."

George married Irene in 1976 and welcomed four adult children into his life.

"Those kids just adopted Dad. It was just the best thing," said Jerry. "My father lived 15 to 20 years longer than if he hadn't met Irene.

"He always told us the word 'can't' never did anything, and it really stuck," said Jerry.

"He was my boss, he was my mentor and he was my business partner," said Norm. "I'm so blessed to have had a 50-year relationship with my father that was day-to-day. That's a family dream that's over 150 years old."

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