Longtime Kingsbridge resident Audrey Frey died on Jan. 27 at age 89, after a brief illness. Ms. Frey volunteered extensively at Wave Hill and the New York Botanical Gardens. She lived at 2860 Bailey Ave. for more than 60 years, and was the first tenant to rent an apartment in the building.
She loved the natural beauty of flowers and plants and had so many plants in her apartment that she had a reputation as an amateur botanist with her very own at-home greenhouse.
Her friends and family will miss Ms. Frey’s wit and wonderful conversation and beautiful British accent. She was married to her husband Eric K. Frey for 40 years. When he died in 1999, her life continued, but her heart was broken.
Born in India while it was still under British rule, Ms. Frey moved to New York City after World War II, where she studied with the Art Students League. Ms. Frey was a lifelong artist; her hand-drawn cards depicting flowers and animals delighted their recipients, and her cards and books made from dried plants and flowers are truly remarkable and treasured. She always made sure to depict her signature ladybug on her drawings, cards and letters.
While working for McGraw Hill Publications Company, Ms. Frey quickly rose to a management level. Hired in 1950, she traveled the world for her job and relished every adventure. Ms. Frey spoke several languages and was one of the first women to hold advanced management positions — a trailblazer for those who followed. After a string of promotions, she became the manager of marketing communications at McGraw Hill in 1985, shortly before her retirement.
Ms. Frey is survived by her brother, Douglas Spencer, and his wife, Madeleine, of Kelso, Scotland, and her niece, Angela Banks of Edinburgh, Scotland. She also is survived by dear friends on several continents, and especially in the Bronx. A tree will be named in Ms. Frey’s honor at Wave Hill, which will stand close by one already named for her husband.