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Officials pay tribute to Thomas Frey, former Monroe County executive

Elected officials on Saturday paid tribute to former Monroe County Executive Thomas Frey, who passed away at Isaiah House earlier in the day.

“Tom Frey will long be remembered for his dedication and service to our community as a member of the Rochester City School District board, the New York State Assembly, the state Board of Regents and as the second Monroe County executive,” said Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo in a statement. “We mourn the loss of this great community champion but know that Tom’s legacy of improving the lives of Monroe County residents lives on through his staunch support for Monroe Community College and the Greater Rochester International Airport.  We offer sincere condolences to the family of Tom Frey."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released this statement: “I am deeply saddened by the passing of Tom Frey, a former Monroe County executive, Assemblyman and great New Yorker. Tom dedicated his life to the service of others and was a strong and principled partner in government during my father’s administration.  I extend my deepest condolences to Tom’s family, friends and all those who loved him. His leadership, tireless advocacy and commitment to his community will be sorely missed.”

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle were among others who paid tribute to Mr. Frey.

“Tom Frey loved his city and county. He was a man of great faith and used the morality of that faith as his guide to public service,” Warren said. “He will be sorely missed by all that knew him, but he will live on for having made his community a better place and, for that, we owe him a debt of gratitude."

Added Morelle: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tom Frey. Tom was a tireless public servant and a passionate advocate for our community. His longstanding legacy of service will forever be remembered by all who call Rochester home. I extend my prayers and sympathies to Tom’s family during this difficult time.”

Born in Corning, Mr. Frey moved to Rochester after serving in the Marines and receiving his education at Princeton University and the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned a law degree. 

He practiced law as corporation counsel for the city of Rochester and then at the firm of Remington Gifford. Later, he joined Harris Beach PLLC.

A Democrat, he served as an elected official on the Rochester school board and in the state Assembly before winning election as Monroe County executive in 1987. He lost his re-election bid to Robert King.

Mr. Frey also was active in numerous civic organizations and initiatives. Among the organizations he served as a board member were the George Eastman House, AIDS Rochester, the Mental Health Association, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and Rochester General Hospital. He also served as a New York State Power Authority trustee and a state Regent. In addition, he was a dedicated volunteer for the Genesee Land Trust, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and St. Michael’s Church.

Mr. Frey is survived by his wife, Jacqueline Cady; four children; four grandchildren; and two sisters and a brother. 

Visiting hours at Anthony Funeral Chapel, 2305 Monroe Ave., are Sunday, 7 to 9 p.m., and Monday, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. A mass of Christian burial will be held 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at St. Michael’s Church, 124 Evergreen St. Interment will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery.

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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