James Paul Frey, also known as “Coach Frey” or “Large Frey,” born April 7, 1947, passed away due to complications associated with COVID-19 on September 19, 2021 at the age of 74, in Tampa, Florida. What do you say about a man who was frequently described as larger than life? I promise these short words will not capture the impact Jim had on those who knew him. In life, Jim was a husband, a father, a mentor, a coach, a man of faith, a veteran, a hard-working man and the very definition of self-made. Born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised by James and Margaret Frey; Jim grew up loving and playing the game of basketball. He would go onto play basketball for Gannon University before leaving school to enlist in the United States Air Force. After completing his four years of service, Jim left the Air Force in 1969. With no college education, Jim would begin his civilian career as linemen for the Illuminating Company in Cleveland, Ohio. In the years following, Jim would go on to attain his BA and MBA from Baldwin Wallace University. He would use this education, and his ever-present leadership skills, to advance within the companies he worked for before semi-retiring in 2015 as Director, Internal Resources for KAM Services in Tampa, Florida. Those who knew him best, knew Jim to be a man of strong convictions. No one would ever accuse Jim of being shy about sharing what he believed to be right, just or correct. However, Jim was more known for being a kind soul who was forever giving to those within the communities he lived. Jim may have loved the game of basketball but more than that, he loved using basketball as a tool to teach kids about life and the importance of education. He loved his neighbors and, without prompting or a request, Jim could be counted on to lend a hand to a friend or neighbor in need. Above all else, Jim valued God and his family. Jim is survived by, and lived his life in service to, those whom he loved more than anything else: the unquestioned love of his life, his own living angel and wife, Carol Ann Frey. His shadow, and his son, James Christopher Frey (aka “Small Frey” or “Jim Jr.”). His Brother-in-law Bob Craggs, Sister-in-law Bev Craggs and nephews Colton and Cameron Craggs. Jim/Dad, you were indeed larger than life. The hole you have left behind for those you have mentored and loved can never be filled but we will live each day with your memories and live our lives in your honor.
Private remembrance services will be held for close family.