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Kenneth John Frey, 90, of Ames, passed away on July 14, 2013, at Green Hills Retirement Community in Ames, IA. An acknowledgement and reception will be held at the Green Hills Main Dining Room on July 21, at 2 p.m. Inurnment will be with his wife, Ann, in the Iowa State University Cemetery.
Kenneth Frey was born in Kalomo, MI, to John Frey and Alfrieda (Meyers) Frey on March 23, 1923. As a youth, he was educated at Cogsdill, a one room country school, from grades one to eight. He attended Michigan State University where he met his future wife, Ann Dunlap, to whom he was married for 68 years. After completing his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Michigan State, he earned his Ph.D. in Agronomy at Iowa State College in 1948. After five years on the faculty at Michigan State, he returned to Iowa State in 1953 and served on the faculty in the Department of Agronomy until his retirement in 1993. He remained active in the Agronomy Department until 2001, 56 years after starting at Iowa State as a graduate student.
Kenneth Frey was recognized both nationally and internationally as a plant breeder. Directing the Oat Breeding Project at Iowa State, he was named George Curtis Distinguished Professor in 1970 and received the ISU Distinguished Alumni award. He was elected President of his Professional Societies, the Crop Science Society of America (1980 to 81) and the Agronomy Society for America (1983 to 84). He organized the first International Crop Science Congress held at Iowa State in 1989. In recognition of his contributions to agriculture and science, he received the Genetics and Plant Breeding Award from the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders (1982), the Dekalb-Pfizer Crop Science Distinguished Career Award (1986), the Iowa Science Medal (1989), and the Henry Wallace Award for Distinguished Service to Agriculture (1990). In 2007, Iowa State University established the Kenneth Frey Endowed Chair in Agronomy. In the 1990s, after his official retirement, he authored the National Plant Breeding Study which has become a blueprint for the development of plant breeding in the US. Internationally, Kenneth Frey served as a consultant to major crop breeding institutes in India, Mexico, and the Philippines and to the governments of Malaysia and Norway. He served as a Visiting Professor and Lecturer at universities in Sweden, Germany, Egypt, Yugoslavia, and Canada. In addition to his contributions to plant breeding research, Kenneth Frey was also known as an educator, serving as major advisor to over 100 MS and PhD students. He was influential in introducing and integrating women into the field of plant breeding.
Kenneth and Ann Frey were both involved in the Iowa State University community. They resided in west Ames within walking distance of the ISU campus (which Kenneth routinely did). They moved to Green Hills in 1997. They traveled widely and spent sabbaticals and extended stays in Australia, India, Norway, Japan, and Athens, Georgia.
Kenneth Frey was preceded in death by his wife, Ann, earlier this year. He is survived by his three children, Teryl, a professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA, Karen, a nurse practitioner in Berkeley, CA, and Kevin, a faculty member at San Jose City College in San Jose, CA, and two grandchildren, Benjamin Frey and Andrew Brewer.
In lieu of gifts and flowers, please send contributions in Kenneth's name to the Greens Hills Memorial Fund, 2200 Hamilton Dr, Ames, IA 50014-8209.
Online condolences may be left at www.adamssoderstrum.com.
Adams Funeral Home
502 Douglas Avenue Ames, IA 50010
Published in Des Moines Register from July 17 to July 21, 2013