Donald J. Frayer
January 24, 1932 – December 15, 2020
Donald J. Frayer passed away peacefully at his home in Clarkston, Michigan on December 15, 2020 following a brief battle with cancer. He was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on January 24, 1932. He grew up on a farm and attended country school, eventually graduating from Ann Arbor High School in 1950. He married his high school sweetheart, Doris Jean Garland, on September 5, 1953. In college, he was active in the Air Force ROTC and graduated with high honors from Michigan State College with a degree in agricultural economics in 1954. He served in the US Air Force in San Antonio, Texas. After returning to East Lansing for graduate school, he ultimately accepted a management leadership position with the Michigan Bell Telephone Company and served for more than 33 years, retiring from Ameritech Publishing, Inc. as vice president in 1991. In retirement, he enjoyed active involvement in the Clarkston community, including hosting elementary students for tours of his historical home and fully restored barn. He was a loving husband and an incredibly supportive father, grandfather and great grandfather. He was a man of strong faith, being amongst the founding families of Holy Spirit Lutheran Church (West Bloomfield, Michigan). He was a strong, passionate supporter of Michigan State University, having missed only three home football games since 1956 (the current season excluded). He established a scholarship for student athletes from non-revenue sports. He was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. He also enjoyed spending summers in Canada at the family cottage, where a lush, green, weed-free lawn was important. He enjoyed people and impacted hundreds of lives with his sage advice and strong wisdom. He will be missed by many, but should not be mourned, but celebrated for a life well lived. He is survived by his wife, Jean, two children, Becky (Ed) Czapski and David (Beth) Frayer, four grandchildren, Jennifer (Trevor) Holloway, Jeff Czapski, Megan (Jake) Quimby and Katie Frayer and two great grandchildren, Tobias and Corbin Holloway. He is also survived by his sister, Joann Schneider. He was preceded in death by his parents, Clifford and Dorothea (Keller) Frayer. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be no visitation. A private ceremony and interment will be held for family only at Bethlehem Cemetery in Ann Arbor with Rev. William J. Matlack presiding. The family is being served by Muehlig Funeral Chapel of Ann Arbor. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the City of the Village of Clarkston and its Friends of Depot Park (375 Depot Road, Clarkston, Michigan 48346), Holy Spirit Lutheran Church (4800 Orchard Lake Road, West Bloomfield, Michigan 48323) or St. Joseph Mercy Hospice (34505 W. 12 Mile Road, Suite 100, Farmington Hills, Michigan 48331).
Donald J. Frayer
December 18, 2020
Uncle Duke as we called him- was a special man whom we loved to be around. He kicked up his heels at every family wedding, and him and Aunt Jean always were the last ones on the dance floor for the longest married couple! A lot of pride in that.
He loved to talk and reminisce about his childhood and anything historical, especially with his sister Joann. I so enjoyed his tour of their historical home and barns which he throughly enjoyed giving.
We will miss you Uncle Duke!
December 17, 2020
Uncle Duke, as we affectionately called him, was and always will be, a family favorite. We always looked forward to our time with him. He was smart, funny and insightful on basically everything. He loved life, his family, to dance, and to talk!
One thing, that to this day, I never really understood, was that he came from a family that has a deep history and roots in Ann Arbor that goes back at least a hundred years and he betrayed that and became a Sparty☹ and even instilled that in his family. But we forgive him.
I picture him right now catching up with his mom and dad, who passed away long-ago, way too early.
We will miss you Uncle Duke! But thinking of you will always put a smile on our faces.
December 16, 2020
My grandpa was a very special guy that taught me, my sister, and my cousins many things, but two of those things he wanted to make sure to teach us in his final days.
1. "Seize the moment!"- My grandpa believed in living life to the fullest. He was stubborn, and he never accepted no for an answer, even when he probably should've at times (Example: trimming trees and climbing ladders well into his eighties). Even in his final days when he didn't have the strength to stand, he didn't accept that and was determined to stand anyway. He waited for my aunt and dad to finally sit down after helping him, and they both heard him say "Seize the moment", and he threw himself in the air. It should be noted that he wasn't really able to speak at this point either, but he did. That was my grandpa. Always seizing the moment.
2. Love unconditionally- Anyone's grandparents can teach them to love unconditionally, and hopefully most do. The thing that made my grandpa different is he taught us to love everything that is special or important to us to incredible levels. It didn't matter if it was our city, our school, our job, Taco Bell, our terrible singing voice, or our life. It was worth being loved, worth being proud of, and worth celebrating. My grandpa was a Spartan, like myself, and one of the last interactions he had was with the hospice nurse. He wasn't really able to move anym, and he could no longer speak, but when that nurse said she cheered for Michigan State too, you better believe he got his fist in the air to pump it, because it was important to him and he wanted everyone to know it.
I could tell you many more stories about my grandpa, but I think these two are some I am going to cherish. I'm blessed to have called him family and to have had so much time with him, and I'm so glad we had these extra memories to know he was himself to the very end.