Robert Lovell Frey

August 28, 1938June 28, 2018

Dr. Robert L. Frey, 79, of Miamisburg died on Thursday, June 28, 2018. Son of the late Rev. Dr. George and Romaine Frey, Robert was born in York, Pennsylvania. He lived in York and Reading, Pennsylvania until his family moved to Dayton (OH) at the end of his sophomore year in high school, subsequently graduating from Fairview High School in 1956. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Indianapolis (1960), a Master of Arts degree from Pennsylvania State University (1962), and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in economic history from the University of Minnesota (1970). Over a 40-year career in college teaching and administration he taught history at Penn State, Shenandoah University (VA), University of Minnesota, and Lynchburg College (VA) as well as a few courses for United Theological Seminary (OH). He was the Dean of Wilmington College (OH) and Vice President for Academic Life at the University of Charleston (WV). In these positions his strengths were curriculum development, faculty governance, and ensuring academic success.

A devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather, and brother, Robert was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Patricia, and is survived by sister Connie (John) Schaefer of Sarasota (FL); daughter, Brenda Kraner, of Centerville (OH); and four children, Robert’s grandchildren, Courtney Ann, Kyle Robert, Kennedy Elizabeth, and Christian Todd Kraner each of whom Robert loved with a heartfelt passion. It was always a great day when he could spend time with his grandchildren and there wasn’t an activity of theirs he would willingly miss.

During Robert’s professional career he authored, co-authored, or edited 8 books, numerous articles, and made many presentations to a variety of groups. His major interest was in railroads and he co-authored a five-volume history of the Northern Pacific Railroad and its locomotives. After retirement he became interested in the history of the Evangelical United Brethren Church and served for many years on the Advisory Council for the EUB Heritage Center at United Theological Seminary and edited its publication, Telescope-Messenger. His father and grandfather were both pastors in the EUB church and that accounts for his interest in the denomination.

Robert is a member of St. James United Methodist Church in Miamisburg. Always active in his local church, over the years he did lay preaching, taught Sunday school classes, and served on most committees of the church. Always known for coming to church in a coat and tie, he was a throwback to an earlier era something in which he took a certain amount of pride – as a historian should.


  • Memorial Service Saturday, July 14, 2018

Robert Lovell Frey

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Kenneth and Christiane Caldwell

July 13, 2018

We offer sincerest condolences to Bob's family on their sudden loss. They remain in our thoughts at this time.

It was always greatly enjoyable to share time with Bob and Pat during our dining group outings as well as on other occasions. There were always invigorating discussions on a wide variety of topics at each occasion.

After Pat's passing, we continued to relish the discussions and conversations with Bob, both as he became involved with us in classes at the University of Dayton's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, as well as in regular lunch outings. These lunches were normally scheduled for an hour or so, but always stretched to two or three hours, as there was never a shortage of subject matter to analyze and discuss. He was an excellent and knowledgeable conversationalist.

We will miss him greatly as we still miss Pat.