JD Frey memorial scheduled for July 13
By ALLEN GEMAEHLICH
Virgil ‘JD’ Frey was more than a umpire and coach, he was a friend.
The former umpire and Mesa State College softball coach died last weekend at his home in Mesquite, Nev. A memorial service is scheduled from 4-8 p.m. on July 13 at Columbine Park.
“I knew Virg not only as my coach, but as a friend,” current Mesa State coach Kris Mort said. “Virgil was always a fun-loving guy. He always showed up with a smile. He was like a grandfather figure. You looked forward to seeing him, because you knew he it was like going to see your grandpa. He was always ready for a good time and surrounded himself with people who were smiling and laughing.”
Mort played for Frey in 1992. The Mavericks won the RMAC championship that season and Frey was selected the RMAC coach of the year.
Four-time All-RMAC catcher Tanya (Alvarez) Gutierrez played three years for Frey from 1991-93 and has many fond memories of him.
“He was a good guy to play for,” Gutierrez said. “He was always looking out for his players. He taught us how to treat people and appreciate the gals you played with. He was a coach you could talk to.
“I remember my last game, there were three, four, five of us seniors. He came up and gave us a hug and said it was an honor to coach you then he’d say ‘Let’s go to Wrigley
Field and I’ll buy you some beers.’ It was nice of him to acknowledge that.”
Frey was a member of the Grand Junction Umpire’s Association for nearly three decades.
He officiated three national tournaments and numerous state and regional tournaments. In 1986, he was inducted into the Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Okla., as a charter member of the National Indicator Fraternity.
Frey was born Dec. 5, 1940 in Herman, Minn. He graduated from Arlington High School in Arlington, Wash., and served for the Army in the 298th MP Company from 1960-63. He completed the Provost Marshal General’s School and was awarded two marksman badges and a good conduct medal.
He married his first wife, Linda Sass, on April 10, 1964 in Arlington, Wash., and had two daughters, Connie (Don) Piccoli of Durango and Joni (Chris) Crespin of Grand Junction. Frey had four grandchildren.