MISSOULA — Clifford A. Frey passed away one day after his 95th birthday. He was born March 30, 1923, at St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula to Fritz and Bertina Frey. During his early years, they lived in a number of places in western Montana including Tarkio, Valley Creek and in Missoula. Farming and ranching being their true calling, they settled down on 80 acres in the Mullan Road area west of Missoula. With the backing of an uncle and neighbor, Dad was able to buy the neighboring 80 acres right out of high school. He was president of the FFA Chapter his senior year at Missoula County High School and was proud to have instructed the Vo-Ag classes when his teacher took a half year leave.
In 1946 Dad married Opalmae Hames and her son Tony. They built a small dairy that converted into a beef operation in 1956. Crops included sugar beets, wheat, barley, and alfalfa and clover for hay and silage. He partnered with son Fred in the 1960s raising hogs. To support the farm and his family, Dad worked at Sunset Memorial Gardens, American Crystal Sugar Company, Highlander Brewing, sold Farmers Union Insurance, and retired from the Missoula County Road Department in 1985 with 16 years of service.
Dad enjoyed hunting and fishing with his family and friends. They won a 16’ wooden cabin cruiser in 1952, the beginning of many wonderful family times at Flathead Lake, and in 1965, purchased the lake place with The Big Pine Tree.
Dad served on the board of the local Soil and Conservation Service for many years and ran for county commissioner in 1970, promoting the need for the current Reserve Street bridges. He was active in Eastern Star, the Masonic Lodge, and the Shriner's and was a board member for Rainbow Girls.
Cliff is survived by his children, Tony Frey (Margaret) of Helena, Fred Frey, Dale Frey (A’ Lisa), and Sally Frey (Cam), all of Missoula; grandchildren Travis Frey (Mandy), Cody Frey (Tiffany), of Missoula, and Erica Siate of Butte; six great-grandchildren, and his cousins. Mom passed away in 2010 after their 64th anniversary. They are together again at the Big Pine Tree.
A celebration of Dad’s life will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 20, at Sunset Memorial Gardens officiated by Chaplain Dan Dixon. A luncheon will follow in the community room. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to Flathead Lakers, PO Box 70, Polson, MT 59860 and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, PO Box 8249, Missoula, MT 59807.