Dr. Harry Charles Frye Jr., 97, of Magnolia, passed away Jan. 10, 2021, after a brief illness at Beacham Memorial Hospital, where he practiced family medicine for over 65 years.
Family and friends are invited to attend a graveside service at Magnolia Cemetery 2 p.m. Thursday. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, social distancing and face masks are requested at the service. Sharkey Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Dr. Frye was born in 1923 in Kansas City, Mo., to Harry C. Frye Sr. and Evelyn Frye.
The family spent his early childhood days in Newton and subsequently moved to Jackson, where he met the love of his life, Helen McGehee, when they both attended Central High School. Friends appropriately termed them “the constant couple.”
The two went on to attend Millsaps College until World War II intervened, and Harry joined the U.S. Army. The couple married April 24, 1944, immediately before he was deployed to Europe, where he served as a sergeant in the 26th Infantry Division, Cannon Company, a part of General George Patton’s Third Army. For his service during the Battle of the Bulge, Dr. Frye was honored with the Bronze Star.
Harry and Helen remained happily married for 74 years.
Upon his return from the war effort, he contracted polio, which created in him a desire to become a physician. He was mentored by his friend, the great public health champion Dr. Felix Underwood, who encouraged him to enter medicine and specifically, public health. He went on to attend Tulane Medical School under the firm tutelage of Dr. Alton Oschner, graduating in 1951. He then completed a family practice residency at Vicksburg’s Mercy Hospital and joined the staff at Beacham Memorial Hospital in 1952.
Dr. Frye joined the Mississippi State Medical Association in 1951 and remained an active member throughout his career. In 2005 the Mississippi Academy of Family Physicians named him “Family Physician of the Year.” Dr. Frye emphasized that the heart of medicine is the patient/doctor relationship. His simple motto was, “Be available and take care of them.”
Dr. Frye was known to be an avid golfer at Fernwood Country Club and had a lifelong passion for swimming. He was a talented musician, playing the alto sax and clarinet in younger days. In high school he won the award as “best clarinet player in the state,” and he played Miller and Dorsey “Big Band” tunes in swing bands.
Dr. Frye was very committed to civic, church and community organizations. He served on the South Pike School Board for 47 years, many of them as president. The Educational Services Building in Magnolia is named in his honor.
He was a faithful member of Magnolia United Methodist Church since 1952, where he served in many capacities including chairman of the Administrative Board. He was a long-time member of the board of directors of First Bank. He also served as president of the board of Fernwood Country Club and South Pike Chamber of Commerce.
Since 2017, Dr. Frye had been a resident of Camellia Estates and continued to offer compassionate counseling and advice to his fellow residents when requested.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen McGehee Frye, and daughter, Betsy Frye Randall.
He is survived by his children, daughter Nancy McElwee and husband Jim; son Charles and wife Vicky; son-in-law, Neal Randall; three grandchildren, Elizabeth McElwee and husband Steven, Brinson Wall and wife Jacqueline, and Mary Helen Wall; and three great-grandchildren, Kaylea, Charles Johnson “CJ.” and Hana Wall.
Pallbearers will be Brinson Wall, C.J. Wall, George “Chip” Leggett III, George Goza, Ricky Coney, Emmitt Hennessey and Bentley Spears.
The family would like to thank the staff and sitters at Camellia Estates, the doctors, nurses and staff at Beacham Memorial Hospital, and the Hospice Compassus staff for their compassionate care.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Magnolia United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 413, Magnolia, MS 39652; PALS Rescue, 1017 Marks Road, McComb, MS 39648; or a charity of your choice.