1997 Laureates

Frank W. De Friece, Jr

"Frank De Friece is a model of caring . . . of leading . . . of giving. Frank learned the joy of giving long ago from his parents.'' His life is indeed a model for business ethics and "giving back."

Frank W. De Friece, Jr., a native of Bristol, Tennessee, was the first of three children born to Frank W. and Pauline Massengill De Friece. After graduating from Bristol Tennessee High School in 1939, Frank spent his college freshman year at Georgia Tech, and attended Roanoke College in 1940-42.

College was interrupted by Frank's enlistment as an Air Corps Cadet in December 1942. Trained as a Photo Lab Commander at Yale University, Frank saw action in the South Pacific first as an Aerial Photo Interpreter and later as Officer in Charge, Ground Combat Photo Team. Promoted to the rank of Captain in 1945, Frank was honorably discharged in early 1946. He returned to Roanoke College and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry in August of that year.

Frank married Majorie Ruth Freels in 1948 and they had three children, Mark William, who lives with his wife Mary Nell in Annapolis, Maryland, Paul Evan who lives with his wife Valerie and two children inAtlanta, Georgia and Ellen Pauline, "Polly," who lives with her husband Dennis Willis and three children in Decatur, Georgia. Majorie De Friece died in 1990.

During high school and college summers, Frank worked in The S.E. Massengill Company, founded by Dr. S.E. Massengill, his grandfather. In September 1946, Frank began full-time employment in the Chief Pharmacist's Office. Subsequently he served in the following capacities: Board of Directors December 1946; Plant Manager 1950; Executive Committee 1951; Vice President and General Manager 1953; Chairman, Executive Committee 1955; and Administrative Vice President 1959. He was named President in 1960. In April 1971, The S.E. Massengill Company was sold and renamed Beecham-Massengill Pharmaceuticals. Frank served as Board Member and Vice Chairman from 1971-73.

Frank became a Board Member and Fund Administrator of the newly established Maeesngill-De Friece Foundation in 1950. He presently serves as Foundation President. For the 47 years Frank has served as Fund Administrator, he has provided visionary leadership and financial support to many groups of the regional community, the states of Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina, and to many national organizations.

Honored by many, Frank was selected by King College to receive the Algernon Sydney Sullivan award in 1978. Citing his almost 30 (now nearly 50) years as a corporate leader, directorships and chairmanships with the Barter Theatre, Bristol Memorial Hospital, Bristol Family YMCA, Salvation Army, Bristol United Way, the Presbyterian Board of World Missions, First Presbyterian Church and his involvement with King College, Roanoke College, and Union Theological Seminary, the award "recognizes Frank W. De Friece, Jr. for his wise leadership and valuable council; for his broad community service; and for his generous, tangible support of worthwhile endeavors. He has helped to give reality and substance to the hopes and highest ideals of his fellow men."

In nominating Frank for the state-wide E. Harper Johnson Human Relations award, the Bristol Tennessee Education Association said, "Mr. De Friece has had a life filled with personal commitment to the improvement of education in Tennessee and Virginia. It is not possible for anyone to really know fully the ways in which he gives of himself tirelessly in our community. His dignified, unselfish manner has become his hallmark. He wishes not to be recognized or singled out; rather he desires to lend his generosity or creative help in a quiet, often anonymous way."

In imitating the Rotary Club of Bristol Outstanding Teacher Awards Program, supporting Public Television, Boy Scouts, working with the American Humanics, Inc., Red Cross or Junior Achievement, Frank De Friece has made a tremendous difference in the world around him.

Frank and Nancy Baker De Friece were married in 1992. Thereby, as Frank says he gained a great wife and enlarged his family by a stepson, Chet Sikorski.

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award recognizes "fine spiritual and humanitarian qualities practically applied in daily living." It has been said that a person is noble when he or she goes outside the narrow circle of self-interest and spends himself for the greater welfare of mankind. It is this quality of character that defines Frank W. De Friece, Jr.