Thank You For Visiting Sedona Legend-
The Jack And Helen Frye Story!
Sedona's Celebrity Love Story!
This is the official, not to mention only, web portal in the world
dedicated exclusively to the legacy of Jack and Helen Frye!
The Frye Legacy-
a Lifetime of Accomplishment!
By Randall Reynolds
The Sedona Legend Web Site is a copyrighted historical photo enhanced narrative presented for
educational and entertainment purposes. Some materials may be displayed in regard to the
United States Fair Use Act. This web portal is totally non-profit and generates no income nor
does it seek or has it ever accepted a single donation. It is an independent venture.
Sedona Legend was envisioned and created to provide Red Rock State Park visitors a
comprehensive historic overview for Jack and Helen Frye and their Deer-Lick and Smoke Trail
Ranches. This effort is now officially cited by R.R.S.P. as an indepth historical venue
representing Jack and Helen Frye.
Sedona Legend is encouraged by the many friends of Jack and Helen Frye. A gracious thank
you to the Frye and Varner families for invaluable support and Red Rock State Park staff and
volunteers for their enthusiasm.
Sedona Legend Helen Frye a.k.a. the Jack and Helen Frye Story
A Decade of Research and Presentation- Created By Randall D. Reynolds
Copyright © 2003 All Rights Reserved
November 29 1906
Wheeler County, TX.
November 4 1942
Donald Frye, founder and director of the copyrighted system of schools which bear his name is a
pioneer in the aviation industry. At the age of 10, he was building model airplanes with his
brother Jack Frye, who is now head of T.W.A. Airlines. When 24, (1930) Donald Frye had
already served 2 years in the U.S. Air Corps and was engaged as a flying instructor for the
Guatemala Air Service. Later, in California, he worked in almost every department of the
Douglas Aircraft Company. Leaving Douglas, he became personnel manager for Consolidated
Aircraft Company. While serving in this capacity for five years, he became aware of the critical
shortage of trained aircraft workers. Knowing the needs and requirements of the aircraft
manufacturers, Donald Frye organized the Frye Aircraft Company with the sincere purpose of
helping American men and women get basic training in aircraft production.
Don's Legacy- "Frye Aircraft Company" Press Release
This website has led me down many paths and to the doors of many remarkable people. When I
decided to start a remembrance for Jack and Helen Frye and their association with Sedona
Arizona I never dreamed it would lead in so many directions. I came to know Jack's sister Ople
who I found to be a rich source of information along with her daughter Pat. Through Ople, I
came to realize that Jack had a beloved younger brother, who not only helped him get started in
the aviation business, which led to his founding TWA and building it into a World-Wide-Airline,
but as well, this brother also had a remarkable career in aviation himself. His name? Patrick
Donald Frye. He grew up with Jack in Texas on the family cattle ranch near Wheeler. He and
Jack both joined the Army, a path that later led them to California. Don was not only one of
the original investors in Aero Corporation, which Jack Frye co-founded, but worked for the
company for a time, as well. Born, November 29, 1906, Don was Jack's "younger" brother. For
a time he lived with Jack and his first wife, Debbie Greer, in 1920's Los Angeles.
At left Don Frye at an early Burdett Air Show (1924) and to the right his business card early in
his career when he worked for his brother Jack Frye who owned Burdett Airport at the time.
A rare early photo of Jack Frye with arm around his beloved brother Don in about 1924 at
Burdett Airport, Los Angeles. Both were immersed in the infancy of United States aviation,
each forging noteworthy paths. Don, like Jack, was a crack aircraft mechanic and was trained
by friend Walt Hamilton who included Don on air show trips, which also included Paul Richter.
Consolidated Aircraft 1941- Profile- Don Frye
The Frye family name stands tall and solid. A beacon in the development of the largest most
advanced air transportation network in the world (TWA). And a nationwide school to train men
and women to work in the aircraft industry and the war effort. An amazing legacy of dedication
and leadership! Please click for indepth information on the here: Frye Aircraft School.
To the left, Frye Aircraft
Company at Dallas and Omaha.
Frye Aircraft Company
Denver and St Louis (aside)
My Brother Don- By "Sunny" Frye Thomas
Patrick Mc Donald Frye- (the "Mc" was Sunny's spelling) 'my brother called Don was born
November 29 1906, Wheeler County, Texas. Died, November 4, 1942, in Dallas, Texas. He was
married to Marguerite Wilkinson and attended Rock School, Wheeler Jr. High, and Clarendon
High School. Don was at 16, one of the youngest pilots in the nation. He held a transport pilots
license, barnstormed all over the country, was a stunt flyer and owned a flying circus. At 24,
Don served 2 years in the Army Air Corps and was an instructor for Guatemala Air Service.
Donald Frye was at one time the Personnel Director, and served in other capacities, for Douglas
Aircraft Industries, before becoming Personnel Director for Consolidated Aircraft Corporation.
Don realized the critical lack of trained aircraft workers, so he organized and became President
of "Frye Aircraft Company- a Copyrighted System of Schools for Basic Training in Aircraft
Production." The first facility was located in Kansas City, with others in Omaha, Denver, St.
Louis, Dallas, Long Beach, and Salt Lake City. Don's career, of such promise, was ended
tragically in a Dallas Hotel, November 4, 1942. He was buried in Wheeler, our dear friend and
school principle, Judge R. H. Forrester was the speaker. Don was quiet, sensitive, very bright- a
good artist and writer, with an analytical mind. His death- a very useless and sad loss!' -Sunny
Sadly, Sunny Frye Thomas, reigning matriarch of the Frye family, has passed away. This
remarkable woman was the very last of Jack Frye's childhood family, a lady who truly knew
Jack and Don their entire lives. I am saddened by her death and honored to have been her
friend- I adored her as did everyone else in the Frye family. Sunny was a rich wealth of
information in regard to the Frye Legacy and a staunch advocate of my work! Bless you Sunny-
you are missed! For more information in regard to Sunny and her daughter Pat, see Page 1909.
Frye Brothers- Standing Tall
At The Dawn of Aviation- Don Frye Pilot @ 15 Yrs Old!
Also TWA along with all the major airlines and aircraft companies of the day were customers,
as well as participants; instruction, etc. The school was launched pre-Pearl Harbor, so it was not
just another war endeavor. After Don's death, it is not known what the fate of the organization
was but likely it was phased out after the war.
Frye Aircraft Co. First Facility-
Kansas City (Below)
October 2007- Update
Sunny loved hanging out at her brother’s airfield which was populated in the 1920’s by a lot of
movie people. Walt Hamilton and Don Frye were friends, and it was Walt who taught Don how
to be a aircraft mechanic. Walter, Don, and Paul Richter were pals and attended air shows
frequently. Donald Frye Marriages:
Don was married twice. The first time to Missouri-born gal named Marguerite E. (Wilkinson?).
They were married in 1930, both at 24 years old, (both born in 1906). Sunny Frye really liked
Marguerite and said she was very nice. Marguerite and Don met when Don would hang out with
the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, riding with officers around L.A. in the evenings as a
guest. Marguerite was selling cigarettes (maybe at a club) when they met. Sunny remembered
that Marguerite’s father was a big-wig in the oil business at Los Angeles. Interestingly, the
1930 census report shows Don working for an oil corporation, as an auditor, and Marguerite as a
secretary. Could this have been her father’s company? Very likely. By 1940, Don had remarried
to Idaho-born gal, Claire. I notice in the 1940 census Don is listed as being the step-father of
Claire’s son, Neil W. Wallis sp (Waller) born about 1936. Don's mother-in-law was living with
them (Mabel E. Bergison, born about 1877). They lived at 3262 Cedar Street, in San Diego
California. At San Diego, Don was the Personnel Manager for Consolidated Aircraft
Corporation, at Lindbergh Field. His wife, Claire, was a telegraph operator for a telegraph
sending and receiving concern. Initially, the couple lived in San Diego, and later, Dallas Texas,
where Don launched the Frye Aircraft Company, which had divisions in many states.
Death and Aftermath- Don’s married life has been most difficult to nail down. The Frye family
seemed to have only sketchy details after 60-some years. Don and his last wife were estranged
when he died so this leaves a disconnect. The last time Claire was seen by the family was after
Don died. Jack Frye was notified immediately of the death of his brother at which he and Helen
undertook an emergency flight to Dallas Texas in Jack’s private plane (NC18137). They picked
up Don’s widow and took off again for Wheeler Texas. (Sunny wasn’t clear if they drove her up
from Dallas or they flew up). Either way the immediate family gathered at the Frye Ranch and
this is the last time they met with Don’s widow. After Jack took care of the details of Don’s
death he and Helen flew back to Kansas City or Washington D.C. This was a dark time for Jack
Frye. The next time Jack and Helen were in Wheeler was on December 28, 1942 when they
landed in their 12A Jr. at Twitty Texas to drop off Jack’s father and stepmother who had been
visiting them at Kansas City. This was the nearest airfield to Wheeler Texas at that time.
Within 2 days the Fryes were in Santa Fe New Mexico meeting with their architect regarding
the design of their proposed home at Sedona Arizona (House of Apache Fires).
Don died at 35 years old (Nov 4, 1942) just 25 days short of his 36th birthday. He never had any
children of his own, at least if he did, they are unknown. Because of the tragedy of his death
Sunny Frye told me they never stayed in touch with the last wife.
Only brother to TWA's Jack
Frye. Ople Sunny Frye
Thomas, was the only sister.
Son of Dr. William Henry and
Mrs. Nellie Cooley Frye.
Married twice, Marguerite E.
and Claire. No children.
Conclusions and Closure
To left April 7, 1941, Douglas Aircraft
Company Inc.... 'Permit me to say a few
words in behalf of the Frye Schools. For
several years, I have personally known Jack
and Don Frye, and I am happy to say that
both are fine gentlemen and are doing a
splendid job in organizing schools and
training personnel for the aircraft
industry.....' (Click for higher resolution)
Tom Kuehn was kind enough to share his
father's 1942 graduation certificate and
fold-over. 'Frye Aircraft School, St. Louis.'
Please click on the file to read caption at
bottom. I'm sure this will bring back
memories for those who were associated as
youths and adults.
It has never been clear to me exactly how
Frye Aircraft Co. was set up but I think Jack
Frye was involved behind the scenes.
Patrick Donald Frye was born in Wheeler Texas, November 29, 1906, of English and Irish
ancestors. Experience in aviation since 1922, includes mechanic, pilot, purchasing agent,
toolmaker, Jr. Tool Designer and Inspector. Don Frye (1920-1921) broke into aviation at the age
of 15, becoming, so far as it is known, the world’s youngest pilot at the time! He took a job as a
dishwasher to get started, and became a flying member of the famed Holmoky Flying Circus,
stunting clipped winged Spads and Nieuports. Donald Frye worked with Aero Corporation of
California, Standard Air Lines, Western Air, the United States Army, Guatemala Air Service,
and Douglas Aircraft. Mr. Frye joined Consolidated Aircraft Company as an assistant in 1935,
and soon became director, a position he currently holds. Having worked in all phases of the
aircraft industry and observed it from all angles, Frye knows the viewpoint of the man seeking
work for the first time. Consolidated has many of the finest aircraft craftsmen in the world. We
consider ourselves privileged to be associated with, and hire train students from the Frye