CARDINGTON — Willard James Frey born June 20, 1924, died Jan. 21, 2014, at age 89. He was born to Edward B. and Fannie (Rupp) Frey in Fulton County, Ohio. He was married to Delores Ann (Short) on Aug. 14, 1946, in a lawn ceremony officiated by his father at the bride’s home. He owned and operated a trucking business, and farmed his father’s farm (originally his grandfather, Jacob C. Frey’s farm) at Archbold, Ohio. He raised corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, hay, sugar beets, steers and turkeys.
In 1961 he purchased and moved his family onto a grain and livestock farm in Morrow County, Ohio. He also operated a 10,000 chicken/egg-laying house. During these years he served as Harmony Township trustee. He was elected and served on Morrow Electric Co-Op board of directors for 18 years, serving as secretary for 13 years. He was also appointed to the board of Buckeye Power Inc. and served as an advisory board member for Farmers Home Administration. In addition, he was elected as director to the Marion PCA Board for nine years serving part of that time as vice-chairman of the board.
His wife, Delores, of 49 years (died Nov. 7, 1995) and two grandchildren preceded him in death. Surviving are their four children, Sue Ann (Ed) Overholt of Fredericktown, Mary Jo Wilson and Peggy (Chris) Arndt of Mt. Gilead, and Lee Frey of Cardington; 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. Surviving are two sisters, Rhoda King of Archbold and Alice Yutzy of Plain City; sister-in-laws, Clara Frey of Wauseon and Irene Short of Archbold; and brother-in-law, Charles Shenk of Columbus; as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by brothers, Warren and Lester Frey of Archbold; and sisters, Myrtie Baer, Helen Rychener of Pettisville and Ruth Shenk of Columbus.
He married Valetta Beck on Feb. 1, 1997, in a ceremony held in the little church with a pot-bellied stove and antique organ in Sauders Village, Archbold, Ohio with their children and grandchildren attending. They resided at Fairlawn Duplexes, Archbold.
He was a member of the Gilead Mennonite Church, Mt. Gilead, serving as treasurer and trustee and later in life attended the West Clinton Mennonite Church, Archbold. He and Valetta volunteered at Care-n-Share and he donated his woodworking creations for mission auctions. Besides farming, he enjoyed family gatherings, family history, woodworking making vases, bowls, cutting boards, rolling pins and trays for family and friends, reading, family vacations as well as worldwide travel.
Surviving are his wife, Valetta, of 17 years, and her children, Jay Mark (Karen) Beck, Jane (Ed) Waidelich, Sam (Tracy) Beck of Wauseon and Sandra Beck of Archbold; nine grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made to Gideon’s International or Mennonite Central Committee.
Funeral services will be at the West Clinton Mennonite Church, 18029 County Road C, Wauseon, OH 43567, on Friday. Calling hours will be from 2 to 4 p.m., with the service following at 4 p.m. with Charles Gautsche officiating.
Friends may also call Sunday, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the Gompf Funeral Home, 440 South Center Street, Cardington. Willard’s funeral service will follow at 3 p.m., Sunday with Pastor Sean Evans officiating. Willard’s burial will be in the Maple Grove Cemetery.
To share a memory of Willard or to send a condolence to the Frey family, please visit www.gompffh.com.Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.