Mary Frey, wife of trustee emeritus Gene Frey ’52 and mother of current trustee Carol Wolfe Frey ’83, passed away July 16 at the age of 87.
Mary and Gene were co-chairs for the Ever Press Forward campaign (1994-2001). The campaign goal was $120 million, and the total raised was $250.4 million. Gene and Mary each received honorary degrees for their work on the campaign and for their many years of community service and philanthropy.
“Mary and Gene have exemplified the virtues of faith, hard work, family life, hospitality, civic leadership and philanthropy,” President Emeritus Father Dennis Dease said. “As co-chairs of St. Thomas’ successful Ever Press Forward capital campaign, she and Gene never missed a one of the scores of chicken dinners it took. Mary was a very good woman, a person of faith committed to the common good who has left this world a better place.”
A major priority of the Ever Press Forward campaign was the $37 million Frey Science and Engineering Center, which comprises Owens Science Hall and O’Shaughnessy Science Hall. The center, which is 210,000 square feet, was completed in fall 1997. Mary and Gene were founding donors to the Minneapolis campus.
The Frey family is also the namesake of the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library and the School of Law’s Frey Moot Courtroom.
Mary and Gene have made generous contributions to one of St. Thomas’ largest endowed scholarships – The Frey Opportunity Scholarship, which, since inception, has awarded over 6,000 scholarships. Many of those awards went to students whom they supported over multiple years, so in a sense Gene and Mary were like a second family to them.
“With intellectual integrity, emotional aptitude, and connection to faith, I am committed to pay it back for the next generation of students like you have done for me and so many others,” scholarship recipient Amin Mahamoud ’21 wrote in a thank-you note to the Freys.
When The Frey Opportunity Scholarship gift was given to the university in 2008, it was the largest single gift to scholarships that St. Thomas had ever received. Gene noted that rising cost of college education inspired him to make the gift.
Generous donations from Gene and Mary, as well as the Ryan/Sterbenz Estate, have made possible the DFC Excellence Continuation Scholarships, full-tuition scholarships for select Dougherty Family College students to pursue a bachelor’s degree at St. Thomas. The Eugene and Mary Frey Endowed Chair at Dougherty Family College also is named after the couple.
Survivors include Gene; sons James and John ’89; daughter and trustee Carol Frey Wolfe ’83; five grandchildren; six great-grandchildren and sister Sarah Frost Evans.
Visitation will be held Tuesday, July 20, from 4-6 p.m. and one hour prior to Mass at Our Lady of Grace Church in Edina, Minnesota. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Wednesday, July 21, at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Grace Church. A livestream option of the Mass will be available. There will be a private burial at Lakewood Cemetery.