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.