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Naples, FL/Lake Toxaway, NC - Gerhard Freche, 81, (Gerry) of Naples FL, and Lake Toxaway, NC, died on May 29, 2013 in Asheville, NC. Gerry was born on July 13, 1931 in Kansas City, MO. His parents, the late Rev. Martin and Anna (Naumann) Freche were both children of Lutheran missionaries who served in India. Gerry grew up in a small town, Tuscola, Illinois where his father was the pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, and his parents nurtured his faith, values and character.
Following his graduation from Tuscola High School, he married Jean Ellis in 1951. They were married nearly 62 years. He graduated with honors from Valparaiso University in Indiana in 1955, with a bachelor degree in Business Administration. Gerry served 4 years in the U.S. Navy Reserves and was a veteran of the Korean War.
Gerry's career with the Bell Telephone System spanned 33 years, beginning in 1955 with Illinois Bell Telephone Company in Chicago. His leadership skills led to rising management positions in the Bell System companies including AT&T, Northwestern Bell and Western Electric involving 14 relocations around the country. He became President/CEO/Chairman of New England Telephone (now Verizon) in Boston. During his career he served on many civic and corporate boards, among them, First National Bank of Boston, Equitable of Iowa, Bank of Boston, Omaha National Bank, Mass Mutual, United Way, Freedom Trail Foundation, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Museum of Science. Gerry was Chairman of the Boston Chamber of Commerce and a founding member of Friends of Post Office Square and Boston Against Drugs, He was honored to receive numerous awards including the Community Human Relations Award from the American Jewish Committee, Valparaiso University's Hall of Honor Award, Distinguished Bostonian Award, and an Honorary Doctorate of Commercial Science from Suffolk University in recognition of his civic contributions and leadership in Boston and Massachusetts.
In 1988, he retired to Naples, FL with his wife Jean, where he continued his life of service through his Grace Lutheran Church and various boards including WheatRidge Ministries, Valparaiso University, and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Board for Pastoral Education overseeing the Concordia Theological Seminaries. He also served on the board and was president of the Port Royal Club and his local church. Gerry valued his gift of faith foremost and was devoted to his family, making wonderful memories together. He enjoyed boating, travel, reading and keeping current on politics and business.
He is survived by his wife, Jean; son, Mark Freche of Mt. Dora, FL; son and daughter-in-law, Steven & Karen (Clifford) Freche; granddaughters, Jennifer Freche of Lake Mary, FL, Amanda & Lauren Freche of Austin, TX; brother-in-law and sister, Orval & Hildegard Luhrsen of Buckley, IL; sister-in-law, Kathryn McCumber of Tuscola, IL and cousins, nephews, nieces and grand-nephews.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, July 26, 2013 at 11 A.M. at Grace Lutheran Church, 860 Banyan Blvd (at corner of Route 41 and Banyan) in Naples, FL 34102. (Tel: 239-261-7421)
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to LCMS 2013 Joint Seminary Fund, in memory of Gerhard M. Freche. Mail to The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, P.O. Box 790417, St. Louis Missouri 63179-0417.
Online condolences may be left at www.moodyconnollyfuneralhome.com.
Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on July 17, 2013