Eighty-two-year-old Jack Frey’s life has always been rich with tradition—going to church, doing charity work and doling out hugs to his friends. For most of these years, Jack’s late wife Dorey was by his side.
Jack’s eyes fill with emotion as he talks about his wife and best friend of 58 years, who passed away in 2016. “She was so kind, and so beautiful,” he says. He misses her, but is grateful she is free from the burden of chronic spine pain, osteoporosis and dementia.
Jack’s face lights up when he recalls the summer day he met Dorey in 1951.
“My sister’s friend suggested I meet her younger sister. So I came up with them to their home to meet Dorey. When we arrived, Dorey was in the pea patch. That’s where I saw her first. And that was it—boom. Just like that. Love at first sight.”
Jack is happy Dorey spent her last years at St. Joseph’s Auxiliary Hospital, where she had the support of a care team that loved them both. When Dorey lived there, Jack’s daily rituals were predictable as clockwork. Early every morning, he would leave his nearby apartment to spend the day with Dorey.
“It was nice to walk over and have breakfast with her,” he recalls. “I’d say, ‘Good morning, Mrs. Frey,’ and she’d say, ‘Good morning, Mr. Frey.’ That was sort of our funny greeting.”
Jack treasured their time together. “We didn’t have to talk all the time,” he explains. “We could sit there and drink our tea. It was really comforting. I wish more people felt that way about their marriage.”
The St. Joseph’s staff grew fond of Jack because he was so caring, explains Program Manager Susan Nicoll.
“After Dorey died, Jack had some medical needs of his own,” she explains. “He wasn’t away for long. He now attends a day support program at St. Joseph’s twice a week, which helps Jack maintain his strength, social support and independence. He always has a sparkle in his eye. He is the most delightful man you could imagine. That’s our Jack.”
One of Jack’s new traditions is a weekly visit to Dorey’s grave. He doesn’t drive anymore, so Jack’s nieces or nephews take him to lay a single pink or yellow rose on her headstone.
“She always wanted one rose rather than 12, because she said it meant more. I know she is still with me."
Read more about Jack and his friends at St. Joseph’s Auxiliary Hospital in the 2017 Annual Report to the Community.
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