Nature 22

Dr. Walt Frey

September 4, 1942 ~ December 8, 2021 (age 79)


Dr. Walt and Melinda Frey passed away December 8, 2021. He was 79 and she was 62.  The two were inseparable in their life.  They were married February 17, 1990 at Tom, Oklahoma.  They were faithful Christians who most recently attended the Presbyterian Church at Idabel. 

Walt was born September 4, 1942 at Öhringer, Germany, the son of Erich and Charlotte Walter Frey.  He came to the United States at the age of fourteen and obtained his PhD in higher education at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.  Education was important to him. He met the love of his life, Melinda, at the E.T. Dunlap Center.  He became the director of the E.T. Dunlap Center.  He was a great civic leader and always tried to make a difference in everything he was involved in.  He was chairman of the McCurtain Memorial Hospital Management Board, chairman of the Idabel Industrial Authority, a perpetual member of the Idabel Masonic Lodge #264 and currently serving as the Lodge Treasurer, Idabel Chamber of Commerce President in 1994, Citizen of the year in 1995, involved in Tourism, and active in the Conservation of endangered species.  Parrots were especially important to him, having over six hundred at one time in his backyard in Idabel. 

Melinda was born February 16, 1959 at Bellingham, Washington, the daughter of Ralph and Ramona Richman Mitchell.  She was a graduate of Haworth High School, completed the LPN program in Idabel, then continued on to earn her RN degree at Eastern Oklahoma State College at Wilburton.  Caring for people was her gift and it was very important to her.  She worked in ICU at McCurtain Memorial for around twenty years, then the McCurtain County Health Department for eighteen years.  She was the true definition of caregiver and had a calling for making a difference in people’s lives.  She enjoyed swimming in her pool and caring for the flowers in her “Secret Garden”.  She loved taking pictures, traveling together with her family and short road trips.   Family and tradition were important to her.  She was a truly loyal friend and was always kind to people. 

They are survived by their daughter, Emily Forshee and husband Lance of Ft. Smith; son, Mitchell Frey of Oklahoma City; Walt’s son, Eric Frey and wife Kathy of Howe; Melinda’s sisters, Carla Mitchell of Tom and Michele Summerlin of Fairfax Station, Virginia; special friends, Brad Morse and Gretchen Adams, Bruce and Gwen Willingham, Billy Don Sikes and countless others; and numerous other relatives. 

Walt was preceded in death by his parents.  

Melinda was preceded in death by her father, Ralph M. Mitchell and brother, William Russell Mitchell.

A private celebration of their lives will take place. Inurnment will follow at Tom Cemetery.   

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the McCurtain Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.  Contact Leslie McGovern at 580-208-3100.


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