Remembering Ted Frey (1944-2022)


The Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation lost a founder, mentor and friend this week with the passing of Ted Frey. Ted served first as a champion of the community foundation model here in northern Michigan, sharing his combined business and philanthropic acumen with local leaders from around Little Traverse Bay. Ted guided the establishment of a lasting and local charitable resource for the people of Emmet County, a place he dearly loved. When the Community Foundation elected its founding board of directors in 1992, Ted was among them and continued his board service until 2006. His service to our organization, however, went well beyond his board role.

Maureen Nicholson, founding executive director of the Community Foundation, shared this remembrance: “Ted was a visionary, a forward thinker, always focused on the long-term outcome.  He embraced the community foundation concept, which was all about collaboration and building resources to strengthen a community.  In other words, local people coming together to solve local problems.

“From the very beginning years in 1991 and initial seed money, Ted gave us inspiration and always believed we could achieve more.  He was right!  A fearless cheerleader, tenacious, and wise, he quietly worked behind the scenes, in for the long-term, never seeking personal credit.  I’ll be forever grateful for his mentorship and friendship.”

Integral to our organization’s roots and growth over the last thirty years, Ted Frey kept his steadfast support primarily behind the scenes.

David (DJ) Jones, executive director of the Community Foundation, recalled an early visit with Ted after joining the staff in 2000. “He had such a presence and a natural ability to fill the room with his warm personality that was simultaneously intimidating and welcoming. What I always found most remarkable was his combined skills in both business and strategic visioning.

“Ted was a role model for me twenty-two years ago and still is to this day. I will always cherish his wisdom and words of advice. Our community has lost a tremendous, behind-the-scenes advocate for philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. I will miss him deeply.”

To Brenda and the entire Frey family, we send our heartfelt condolences.

To read more about Ted’s legacy, read the remembrance from the Frey Foundation.

To make a gift in Ted’s memory to the Community Foundation in support of local organizations Ted loved, click here.