A photo of H. Nelson Freidly, Jr.

H. Nelson Freidly, Jr.

January 12, 1928 - September 24, 2021

          H. Nelson Freidly, Jr., age 93, of Newark, DE, passed away peacefully on Friday, September 24, 2021.

          Born on January 12, 1928, in Lancaster, PA, Mr. Freidly was a son of the late Harry Nelson and Ruby B. (Bolbach) Freidly. He graduated from J. P. McCaskey High School in 1945 and in 1946, enlisted in the United States Army, serving in the 1st Cavalry Division as part of the Occupation Forces of Japan under the command of General Douglas McArthur.  Returning in 1948, he attended Millersville State Teachers College and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education. In 1952, Mr. Freidly received his Master’s Degree in Secondary Education, Administration in 1958 from Temple University and continued graduate studies at Villanova University and the University of Delaware.  

          Mr. Freidly began his teaching career in Darby, PA and later, in the Upper Darby, PA School District.  He coached football and track at Darby Jr. High School and football and baseball at Upper Darby Jr. High School, where he also directed annual school plays.  In 1962, Mr. Freidly was appointed principal of Central Jr. High School in the (then) Newark Special School District in Newark, DE.  In 1966, the Shue Middle School was under construction, designed specifically to accommodate the first Middle School in the district as well as the State of Delaware.  Chosen to be the school’s first principal, Mr. Freidly received a Federal Grant and was able to conduct a summer workshop involving the entire teaching staff. Working with consultants from the University of Delaware, they created the curriculum that became a national model for Middle Schools. 

          In 1969, Mr. Freidly was appointed principal of Newark Senior High School, serving in that position until 1974, when he was named the district’s first Director of Secondary Education. He continued in that position until retiring from the Christina School District in 1988.  Upon his retirement, Mr. Freidly was presented with The Order of the First State by Governor Castle, the state’s highest civilian award. Immediately following his retirement, he worked for Junior Achievement of Delaware for several years as the first director of their Teacher Center.  Mr. Freidly was appointed by Governor Russell Peterson in 1969, to serve as a charter member on the new 16 member Delaware Advisory Council on Career and Technical Education.  Re-appointed by all following governors, he held the position of Council chairperson from 1993 to 1998 and continued, thereafter, to serve as chairperson emeritus.  Throughout his career, Mr. Freidly was asked to serve on state-wide educational issues including Governor Castle’s Task Force on Vocational Education and the Department of Education’s Task Force on High School Graduation Requirements. In 2010, Mr. Freidly was honored by the State of Delaware Legislature with a Concurrent Joint Resolution recognizing his more than 40 years of service as an advocate for vocational and technical education. In 2012, on the occasion of the 5,000th daily show, the television studio in the NHS Telecommunications Center was named the H. Nelson Freidly Television Studio.  It was in 1964 when the local radio station, WNRK, first came on the air that Freidly teamed up with Dr. Philip Toman to create a weekly radio program called “Newark Schools on Parade,” designed to promote programs and activities in the district.  Dr. Toman served as producer and director and Mr. Freidly as host/moderator for the program that aired every Sunday for 24 consecutive years, winning several national awards including the Golden Mike Award from the American Legion and the Valley Forge Freedom Foundation Award.  

          Mr. Freidly was very active in the community throughout his life and enjoyed memberships in a number of groups.   He was a member of Lions International for over 50 years, serving with the Newark, Brookside and Glasgow Lions Clubs.  He was twice president of the Brookside Lions and chaired the annual Christmas Tree sale.  He was most proud of his two Fellowships, the Melvin Jones Fellowship and the Ralph Helm Fellowship.  In 1988, Mr. Freidly was named Lion of the Year.  He served as a member of the Newark Elks Lodge #2281 and for a number of years chaired the Elks Scholarship program.

          Mr. Freidly’s love for the Arts, particularly singing, began at about age 10 when he sang in the youth choir at church and he continued singing with church choirs all his life.  In 1945, before his senior year in high school, he was awarded a scholarship to participate in a summer program for vocal training at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ.  During his years at Millersville State Teachers College, he performed solo work with the school chorus and in productions of several operettas.  While still in college, Mr. Freidly became a charter member of the Lancaster, PA Opera Workshop, under the direction of Frederick Robinson, with whom he studied privately.  In 1951, he met a young lady, Mary Louise Danz, when they both performed in a Summer Stock Musical Revue in Lancaster, PA.  They married in 1953 and were blessed with a marriage that lasted for 68 years.  

          Mr. Freidly loved outdoor activities, especially baseball, golf, fishing and working in his yard.  He was an avid Phillies fan, following them from Shibe Park to Citizen’s Bank Park as well as a faithful spectator at U of D football and basketball games.  He had a special relationship with a group of men who enjoyed playing cards and they passionately referred to themselves as “The Schneider Club”.  It was a monthly gathering that lasted more than 50 years.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Freidly was preceded in death by his brother, Gerald B. Freidly. He is survived by his wife, Mary L. (Danz) Freidly; children, David N. Freidly, Michael P. Freidly, Linda M. Brock, Barbara J. Keesey and Mark S. Freidly; many grandchildren; and several great grandchildren.

          A visitation for family and friends will be held from 10 am until 11 am on Friday, October 1, 2021, at Holy Angels R.C. Parish, 82 Possum Park Road, Newark, DE, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 am. Face coverings will be required for all those in attendance not immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine per the Governor of Delaware. Interment will be held privately.

          In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mr. Freidly’s memory to St. Johns Holy Angels R.C. Parish Music Department, 82 Possum Park Road, Newark, DE 19711 or St. Joseph in the Hills Malvern Retreat House, PO Box 315, Malvern, PA 19355.

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17 Guestbook messages for H. Nelson Freidly, Jr.

  • What a life well lived!
    Our state and our schools were blessed to have him.
    My sincere condolences to you, Mark, and your whole family.

  • Mr. Freidly was the first principal in my teaching career. We started together at Newark High School. He recruited me from our alma mater Millersville State University. I will always be grateful to him for that. He was beloved by staff and students, and was a kind and gentle leader. Affectionately known as The Golden Throat, he could often be heard on the school intercom. I know he dwells with the Lord now; God bless him, his family and his friends.

  • A great man who left behind a great legacy. He will be missed. Blessings to the Friedly family.

  • My deepest condolences to you David, your immediate & extended family, who were very much a part of my teen years. With love…..

  • Dr. Friedly helped make the Newark School District a bright star…along with compatriots Dr. George Kirk, Dr. Phil Toman and Maestro Harley Hastings…and those they inspired. Dr. Friedly was a man of commitment…to his faith, family, school district, community and state. He believed good things came from good works…and he gave generously of his time and talent through volunteerism. As the late Dr. Toman used to say on the sign off of their weekly WNRK radio program: ‘Thank you, Dr. Friedly.’ May the sadness of his passing be replaced over time with memories of this fine man.

  • My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family and may God bless all.

  • I would like to give my condolences to my favorite Principle, Mr Freidly. I was one of the first attendees at Shue School (1968) when Mr Freidly was there and also then when I went to Newark (Senior) High School. He was an imposing figure and held in the highest respect. I only have fond memories of him,Thank you Sir.

  • This Gentleman touch many lives and has left his footprint forever in our hearts. You’ll be missed Sir Nelson

  • RIP , MR. FRIEIDLEY YOU WERE A GREAT PRINCIPAL ,TOUGH BUT FAIR.YOU SAW A BOY PICKING ON ME.THAT WAS THE END OF THAT. AGAIN THANK YOU FOR WATCHING OUT FOR US AT NEWARK HIGH SCHOOL . CLASS OF 1972.

  • Mrs. Freidly, Linda, Barbara, Mike and families – What a legacy he leaves! Amazing accomplishments in a long, love-filled life and raised an amazing family. Now he can rest. Rest In Peace Mr. Freidly.
    All the best,
    Barb

  • Nelson was my mentor when I became an administrator. I will always be grateful for his support and training. Bless his heart and his family.

  • Mr. Freidly hired me in 1970 at Newark High School to work with the Band. His love for music was shown every day, and particularly with the Marching Band. Mark was very supportive of the Music Program, and became part of the staff working with the Marching Band. My prayers are with the family during this time of loss.

  • Hi Mary, Mark and Family,

    I had the honor to work with Mr Friedly on the Shue Middle School Open Access Curriculum, and what an experience it was! H Nelson was a very special perosn in my life…Not just because of Shue; But he soon had me moved to Newark High School where the sky was the limit on what you could do to teach students how to and what to really learn. I will always be grateful to Mr Friedly for all of hsi encouragement and support (far beyond what you would expect).

    I sincerely send my condolences to the whole Friedly Family, and know that they also, realize what an amazing help this man was to both Staff and Students.

    Sincerely,
    Wayne Hill…NHS

    p.s. Hi Mark

  • My grandfather lived a life that most of us can only dream to accomplish. Even though my children and I were blessed to have so much time with him, I still wish we had more. My grandfather was an inspiration for faith, service to others, and dedication to family. I will miss him so much.

  • So sorry for your loss, David. I remember those high school years. Your Dad was an awesome man.

  • Wow… I never knew how much my great grand father accomplished. That’s a legend at work, what an amazing life.

  • Nelson was a wonderful neighbor, friend, and an outstanding educator. He contributed so much to the Newark community. Condolences to Mary and family.