By Maddie Longenecker
“He was 5 years old when Shania Twain came out with the song ‘I Feel Like A Woman’ and that was his favorite song. So he would dance around the house singing it at the top of his lungs. Picture this dark haired boy singing, almost screaming, that song. It was hilarious,” said Anna Frey of one of her favorite memories of her son, Greg Frey, a Penn Manor student who passed away on September 22.
Greg was born September 20, 1996 and will always be remembered as a young man whose smile brightened everyone’s day. When someone needed a laugh, a hug or just someone to talk to, they went to him. He loved to play with his dog, Alpha and watch The Voice with my dad and I. He loved the Washington Redskins and the Florida Gators. He wanted to be a veterinarian when he grew up and he was always wanting tacos to eat and Mountain Dew to drink. Stay close to your loved ones and be there for them. Let them know that they always have someone looking over them,” says Courtney Frey, sister of Greg Frey.
According to the Frey family, Greg was on a birthday trip on September 22 with another Penn Manor family when he started to develop a twitch in his arm while trying to line his fishing line. After trying over and over to line his line, Greg decided to go on a walk to try and cool off. When 20 minutes went by and no one heard from him, a search was called. Moments later, Greg’s body was found facedown in the water. After numerous attempts of CPR and help from paramedics, Greg was pronounced dead on Sunday, September 22.
Many of Greg’s family and friends shared favorite memories of him.
Greg’s father, Paul Frey, remembers when Greg was between the ages of 3 and 5. Greg decided to go on a walk by himself in just a diaper and shorts.
“I found him two, three blocks away from our home and when I asked him what he was doing, he replied saying that he went to visit the grocery store,” said Paul Frey. “It was cute yet very scary since we had no clue where he went and had our neighborhood looking for him.”
Greg was a member of the junior varsity volleyball team during his sophomore year at Penn Manor.
“Volleyball was my favorite”, said senior Laiklynne Kammerer. “He was new to the team and we’d always joke around with him. His job was middle hitter and with that job he was to call out the positions so we’d always be like ‘Greg, where’s the setter?’ and he’d have no idea!”
Greg’s third block teacher, Mrs. Kaca Wee, remembers him as a young, vibrant, full of life and excitement, polite, friendly and nice boy. With the short amount of time she knew him, she’ll always hold a special place for him.
Courtney Frey recalls that he always had his sense of humor . Greg helped her practice basketball every chance he got.
“He was the person I looked up to the most and I thought everything he did was great,” said Courtney.
Shortly after his death, Greg’s family decided to have orange bracelets made in his memory.
“We wanted to have a small remembrance of him for everyone to have, and orange was his favorite color. We had some made, then everyone wanted one,” said Paul Frey.
The proceeds from the bracelets will be donated to the Humane League, which supports animals, a cause that was very important to Greg.
“Greg decided two weeks before he died that he wanted to become a veterinarian. He had a chocolate lab named Alpha; five cats, Penny Ann, Sparky, Shadow, Spooky Jr. and Stormy; and two red-eared slider turtles, Scales and Camouflage. Yes, my son loved animals, and his dad never said no to him,” said Anna Frey.
The loss of Greg has been difficult for those who knew him.
“The hardest part about losing Gregory is never getting to see his contagious smile and laughter ever again,” said Anna Frey. “I truly feel like part of me is gone and nothing ever said or done is gonna make me whole again. Or seeing him help his little sister, Courtney, practice her shots for her upcoming season!”
Kammerer said she was talking to him Friday, his birthday, at lunch about homecoming. Unfortunately the bell rang and she said she’d talk to him later about it because lunch was over.
“We never got a chance to finish that conversation,” said Kammerer. His death was completely unexpected, so it hit my friends and I hard.”
“Since our family is in two separate homes, being alone is going to be the worst,” said Paul Frey. “Gregory kept me going through the past few years. We did a lot together and now no fishing, no sports, just the conversations about everything. Coming home to our house knowing that he will never be here again, the reminders of him throughout the house and everywhere you turn it is him.”
Greg’s family and friends shared what they have learned something from this loss.
“If you’re a parent, keep your kids closer. If you’re a friend of someone, be there for each other. Talk about what you had when you were all together, remember the good times and to know that he is in a better place,” said Paul Frey. “Gregory would want the students to know to cherish every moment and not waste a day. To move on without but not forget him.”
“Keep your friends close and always show respect towards everyone because you don’t know their situation or what they’re going through,” said Kammerer. “Stay strong and stay together.”
Anna Frey explained that the pain will always be there but with help from family and friends, you learn how to move forward.
“This is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and I don’t know exactly how to put into words the sadness I have but hearing stories about him makes it easier to push on,” said Anna.
“God had taken him for a good reason and needed him more than we did. He was the greatest brother anyone could have had.
If you would like to share a memory of Greg, feel free to submit below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.