Eight Bells: Frederick Frye, MD
Published on February 8th, 2021
Dr. Frederick Annable Frye, eldest son of Frank Augustus, Jr. and June A. Frye passed away quietly at home at the age of 86 surrounded by family on January 21, 2021. He was a third generation Californian and second generation San Diegan.
Fred attended Stanford University where he received his BS and then on to USC Medical School. He married his college sweetheart, Joy, in 1955, moved back to his hometown San Diego in 1963, soon opening his own private pediatric practice.
After more than 35 years he retired from the practice and went to work for AETNA as a regional medical director, then as a Global Medical Director for AETNA International in Hartford, CT, and then returned to San Diego, to work for Mercy Physicians Medical Group as a Medical Director for a few years until he fully retired. Fred was President of the San Diego Medical Society in 1979 during a time of change.
While Fred was in college he lettered in soccer and rugby and always loved running. He began to run seriously during the 70s and started with 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons and marathons, and also ran the Olympic Torch in San Diego in 1984 and in 1996.
Fred knew from an early age that he wanted to learn to sail. He did not grow up in a sailing family but he loved the water and learned to sail from his friend’s father, Captain Rayburn in Navy knockabouts in Coronado.
When he returned to San Diego, he joined the San Diego Yacht Club in 1964 and eventually owned a Swan 431 which he raced in 1976 to Manzanillo, Mexico. He went on to compete in the Newport to Ensenada 19 times along with all the other races to Mexico. Fred loved the Mexican races, but also did the 1997 Transpac race and won class in his Tayana 52. “It’s always been a dream of mine to do the Transpac,” said Frye. “Now I don’t have to do it again.”
Fred worked his way up the chairs at the San Diego Yacht Club to become Commodore in 1987. The America’s Cup was won by Dennis Conner that year and an impossible challenge came from Michael Fay for the next race. The club kept the cup for ten years. He never stopped working for SDYC and was on the Future Planning Committee until he died.
In 1990-91 Fred had worked up the ladder to become president of San Diego Rotary Club 33. The Rotary Motto was his personal mantra; “Service Above Self’ was always foremost in his mind. His father and his maternal grandfather had both been Club 33 presidents (his grandfather was district governor). Sons Fred, Jr. and Christopher have been president of their respective rotaries and daughter Barbara is currently a new member of a Rotary club in Sacramento. The Rotary legacy is strong in this family.
After returning from his time in Connecticut, Fred was elected to be President of the San Diego Zoo Global. He was already retired with time available and he went to work at the zoo every day for two years. Fred had been a member of and had gone to the zoo since he was a small child and his mother dropped him off to spend the day with Belle Benchley. He loved the zoo and was determined to continue the good works of past chairmen.
He organized the first conference on “The Future of Zoos” which helped to determine what direction zoos should go toward the conservation of endangered species and how they could all work together to insure the future survival of these wonderful creatures.
Before and after his time in Connecticut Fred served on the Board of Directors of the Maritime Museum of San Diego. He finally had to step down from his position due to health reasons. He was a staunch supporter of the San Salvador project and contributed to its building. The grateful museum director and staff organized a “scandalizing of the spars” on the Star of India after he passed away.
When he and Joy reached their 25th anniversary, she said she needed a break from cooking so he took cooking classes from George Munger at the Perfect Pan and obtained his diploma from the cooking school. For the next 20 years, he did most of the cooking at home and they collaborated for dinner parties. He also planned the menus and did most of the cooking on sailboat races.
This sparked his interest in wines and that’s when he started collecting. That led to his becoming a member of the Chevaliers du Tastevin, a Burgundy based wine and food organization with chapters world-wide. Again, he worked his way up the channels to become first a local then national officer in the organization which led to many friendships and trips to Paris and Burgundy in France and many cities in the U.S. where there are chapters.
Also, a member and recently President of The La Jolla Wine and Food Society, he studied everything he could about wines around the world outside of Burgundy. He was awarded gold and silver medals for his service to the Wine and Food Society and in November 2020 he was named Mr. San Diego by Rotary Club 33 for all of his years of service to the San Diego Community. It was a great honor.
He loved his children dearly and was very proud of their accomplishments. He set a very high bar for them to follow and they are all very competent and caring adults who are raising wonderful children. Fred lived life to the fullest and set a great example for us all. He was a high achiever with high energy, a hard worker and loved life. He made everything fun.
Fred is survived by his wife of 65 years, Joy, brothers Frank A. Frye, III (Linda) and Milton Frye (Carolyn), Daughter Barbara Singleterry (Shawn), sons Fred Frye, Jr. DVM (Diane), Christopher Frye (Jamie), and Robert Frye (Steven Naugle), Grandchildren Nolan Mooney, Daniel Mooney (Lindsey), Christopher Mooney, Hannah Frye, Emma Singleterry and James Frye, Great Grandchildren Aidan Mooney, Annabelle Mooney, Ethan Mooney, and Finnley Mooney.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests a donation to The San Diego Zoo Global, Rady Children’s Hospital, or the Maritime Museum of San Diego.