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
Debbie Greer Frye
1st Wife of Jack Frye (1924-1932)
In the photo (above) from August 4, 1929, we see 7th from left, Standard Air Lines president,
and likely pilot of this flight, William John 'Jack' Frye (with the devilish grin on his face), 5th
from left, is famous Black Cat member aviatrix Gladys Ingle, 5th from right, is Jack Frye's
wife Debbie Greer Frye. The two women (center) are Hollywood motion picture actress Priscilla
Dean (right) and Miss Emma Cuaron (Miss El Paso-Juarez) white dress (left).
Overview of Jack and Debbie Frye
Welcoming the World of Early California Aviation
Debbie D. Greer Frye Santos was born in Taylor Texas to Alta and Finis Greer, her parents
originally from Tennessee. Debbie, although from humble roots, was no small-town girl.
In the 1920’s she moved out to sunny California where she became a dancer with the Los
Angeles Follies, performing at downtown Los Angeles, this it is thought where she likely met
her first husband, soon-to-be, aviation legend Jack Frye. Shortly after they were married on
September 4, 1924 at Tijuana, Mexico. (Cited by Jack Frye’s long-time TWA executive
secretary Jean Phillips).
Jack and Debbie lived in Santa Monica, Inglewood, Los Angeles, and later Kansas City
(addresses explored below). Residents of the Frye household were Debbie and Jack, her mother
Alta, Jack’s sister Sunny, and at one time, Jack’s brother Don. Debbie was always a go-getter
and worked during mid-1920’s as a manager at a Mercantile at Western and Manchester
Avenue(s). Jack’s sister Sunny Frye would come in and help Debbie at times by getting change
for the clerks, etc., and running errands.
During mid-1920’s, at the infancy of aviation, Debbie helped her husband Jack greatly as he
built up the Burdett Air Field operations into the largest private airport on the west coast.
During this time Standard Air Lines initiated the very first passenger service between Los
Angeles-Phoenix-Tucson-El Paso, and later, the very first trans-continental-rail passenger
service for the United States. Debbie was a beloved early fixture of Burdett Flying School
Airport, Aero Corporation of California, and Standard Air Lines, all of which her husband
served as founder-president. Debbie was a V.I.P. celebrity at all the early milestone inaugural
events, which were well covered by the press nationwide.
By 1930, her husband Jack, was an executive of Western Air Express, with an office at
downtown Los Angeles. The Fryes had moved up in the world of high-finance and business.
Shortly after, Debbie witnessed her husband found Transcontinental and Western Air, Inc., or
TWA, as we know it, a move that made Jack Frye an aviation legend in the airline industry.
Debbie Greer was right there at his side, front and center, and many monumental decisions
which affected the world of aviation were planned around the Frye kitchen table.
Debbie Greer Frye was warmly credited by Jack Frye’s sister as helping her brother (Jack) get
started on his illustrious aviation career in the earliest days when not only money was tight but
the emotional toll of starting a fledgling airline was enormous.
The Fryes were divorced around 1932, at which time, Jack had recently transferred to Kansas
City Missouri, a locale which became the new operational base of TWA.
After Debbie’s marriage to Jack she was to live in Hawaii and marry a second husband, Joe
Debbie is a beloved in memory, certainly, she can not be forgotten as she occupied a front row
seat at the beginning of our country’s airline history and the founding of TWA!
Jack and Debbie were married on September 4, 1924 at Tia Juana (Tijuana) Mexico, as notated
by Jack's executive secretary Jean Phillips (TWA and Frye Corporation). I have found another
source that cites they were married (Wednesday September 24, 1924) in Los Angeles by a judge.
As per this date yet another source, Who's of California (1929), states they were married
September 5, 1923.
The Greer family hailed from Tennessee originally but Debbie was born in Taylor Texas on
September 4, 1897. Later Debbie was to live with her mother for a short time at San Antonio
Texas (per San Antonio City Directory 1918). Jack was from Texas too so likely the couple
shared a common background.
After their marriage in 1924 the Fryes resided at a variety of Los Angeles addresses.
Reviewed as follows:
Supposedly at one time, Santa Monica, (address and year unknown).
By 1925, Jack Frye lived at 816 West 78th Street in Inglewood. This house no longer exists
as it was razed and replaced by commercial property many years ago but likely this turn-of-the-
century little frame house was the first residence of Jack and Debbie (as a married couple). It
was close to Jack’s work at Western Avenue and 104th, and Debbie’s employ, at Manchester
and Western Avenues. This is also the supposed location where the 13 Hollywood Black Cat
aerial stunt team was founded around the Frye kitchen table as Debbie served coffee to the
youthful daredevil aviators.
By late 1929, the Fryes had moved nearby to an attractive quaint bungalow at 4233 Sutro
Avenue. This new lovely California-style stucco had 2 bedrooms and one bathroom. The house
was part of the (then) new Leimert Park neighborhood near Inglewood. The award-winning
landmark development was constructed to appeal to middle and upper class residents as
developed by Walter H. Leimert and assisted by Central Park (NYC) associated designers. The
home still exists just north of Inglewood near Baldwin Hills and is in pristine and charming
Family members who at times resided at the early Frye homes were Debbie's mother Alta,
Jack's brother Don, Jack's sister Ople (Sunny), and Debbie’s poodle. Everyone was eager to get
established in this land of golden opportunities. Debbie was at one time a member of the
prestigious Los Angeles Follies (downtown) and also worked as a manager at a mercantile
(name unknown) at Manchester and Western Avenues as manager.
The Sutro Avenue home seemed to be just a short rest-stop for the Fryes; however, as within a
year, Jack and Debbie’s fortunes had changed. Jack had sold and merged Aero Corporation
(Standard Air Lines) and took a position with management of Western Air Express, his office
now downtown at the fashionable Garland Building. Shortly after this he helped found T. & W.
A. or (TWA- Transcontinental & Western Air) as we know it today. At this juncture, the Fryes
moved into a beautiful home, recently built in 1925, at 3109 Waverly Drive in the Hollywood
foothills. This early California craftsman at it’s current 3 bedroom, 3 bath, sits on a hill with
one half acre of gardens and lawns. Still today it is in lovely condition with gated entrance and
views. This area is south of Griffith Park, just east of Hollywood, in the highly sought after
upscale Los Feliz neighborhood.
Jack was said to have relocated to Kansas City in the early 1930’s, but research shows he
continued to live in Los Angeles, at least initially, and commuted, instead, for several years.
Jack’s presence with TWA was nationwide from N.Y.C. to L.A. so this is not surprising. By 1932
the Fryes were still living at the Los Feliz address. Debbie (to my knowledge) never relocated to
Kansas City but remained instead at Los Angeles, the region she loved. Debbie was quite the
sun-worshipper and adored the Southern California clime.
Unfortunately, by September 9, 1932, Debbie and Jack were divorced at Juarez Mexico, the end
of an 8-year union and the launch of Jack Frye‘s career. Jack remarried (December 23, 1932) to
French gal (Regine Yvonne LaCoste). They met at 'Saks @ Broadway' when Jack was in New
York City on business, this where Jean was employed as a buyer for haute couture. Jack and
his new wife moved into a spacious apartment at 229 Ward Parkway (now Hemmingway Plaza)
at Kansas City Missouri. This residence that Jack owned previous to Jean was retaining by him
for many years along with several other homes at Kansas City.
In regard to Debbie, after the divorce, she moved from the Waverly Drive to an apartment at
240 South Coronado. This building was in an upscale residential area, just east of downtown, in
West Lake, north of MacArthur Park. Debbie, who always loved the excitement of Los Angeles
would have loved this prime location. The stuccoed 1920’s-style residential building can still be
found in charming condition. To keep busy Debbie managed the building for several years,
falling back to her previous employment expertise.
Within 4 years, Debbie relocated once more to another residential suite at 251 South Mariposa
Avenue, Los Angeles. This where she resided (it is assumed) until she moved to Hawaii. The
building still exists as an early 1920’s style 5-story stucco in the Wilshire Center district, east of
Hancock Park, off Beverly and Wilshire Boulevards.
Around the time Debbie moved to Hawaii, she remarried her second husband, Joe, and took the
name of Santos. Many years later (after a second divorce) she returned to Texas where she lived
out her life in relative obscurity surrounded by family. Debbie Greer Frye Santos died on
October 29, 1971 at just 74.
Debbie's rich and valuable memories of early California and the 'dawning of aviation' were
tragically never documented and are lost forever it seems. Debbie rarely spoke of those “early
years”. One antidote by Jack’s sister Sunny (who remembers Debbie warmly) is that she could
be so kind and nice but had a quick Irish temper and could get so mad at Jack for the smallest
things. But, she said, "they were quick to make up too!” Carolyn Lampo (Debbie's niece),
remembers Debbie as a 'favorite aunt'. Recently Carolyn visited Debbie's grave (George Palmos
Plot, Norwood Cemetery, Hearne, Texas) and sent the following image. Please click here.
This narrative will be expanded as more information is located. Additional information on Jack
and Debbie can be found on 1923.
Jack and Debbie Frye Indepth