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
Fall was in the air, the cottonwoods of Smoke Trail Ranch (now Red Rock State Park) were
crowned with God's artistry, painted with a vast array of golden colors. The hot blasts of wind
sweeping through the canyons were just a memory now. Helen was walking down by the creek
on Smoke Trail under the golden leaves listening to the rhythmic flow of Oak Creek over the
rocks and rapids. Her heart was absorbed by the beauty of this lovely place, her and Jack's
Smoke Trail Ranch, yet at the same time, she was saddened by a darkness that had descended
over her of which she could not escape.
Helen Frye was suffering from terminal lung cancer, her time to leave this earth was nigh. She
was only 71, yet she felt she should have many more years to live. However, she knew in her
heart it was not to be, if only she could somehow take this beauty with her, this “Sedona” she
had never wanted to be far from, this land which was the very essence of her spirit.
A chill suddenly came over her, the wind was rustling through the trees now emitting a sound
that can only be heard from Arizona Cottonwoods. Crimson leaves started falling like
snowflakes on a winter's day obscuring the golden rays of the late afternoon sun. Helen pulled
her shawl around her shivering body and started the long walk back up to the Wings of the
Later that night while sitting in front of her fireplace, Helen knew she would make one last
journey up to the House of Apache Fires in the morning. The next day- early, Helen awoke
after having slept peacefully, it seems her dreams were always about the past now: dreams of
memories out of reach, people who have passed on, joy and love she had experienced.
Her housekeeper helped dress Helen’s weary body and prepared her for the last time Helen
would ever set foot in the House of Apache Fires. It was another crisp and sunny Sedona day,
Helen was grateful to her creator for allowing her such beauty on this monumental occasion.
At last, Helen arrived at the House of Apache Fires and the massive door was swung open for
her. She stepped into the entry way of the dream house that she and Jack built together and
immediately a flood of emotion like an old friend permeated her entire body. It overwhelmed
her so much she had to reach out to the door frame to steady herself. She asked to be left
alone now as she wandered the hallways and empty rooms.
You see the House of Apache Fires was not empty to Helen Frye, rather, it was filled with
memories. Memories that no other person could possibly embrace, shadows of hopes and
dreams. Jack was there waiting for her, she felt him in every room, she felt him more and
more now, as her time to move on neared. He was in her dreams every night and the fringes of
her mind each day. Suddenly, she turned around, she felt his radiance, his powerful presence,
his love and the gentle words, "I am here Helen, don't be afraid, I am waiting for you." With
that, Helen started weeping softly, it was like he really “was” there, like he had never been
gone, like he had never died.
She looked around, but only emptiness reflected back to her flooded eyes. Helen composed
herself and continued into what was to be Jack's office and gazed out the massive windows
which framed “their” valley below framed by the horizons of the Sedona countryside. The vistas
were forever, beauty unsurpassed in her mind and overwhelmingly beautiful. Yes, this was
“her” Sedona, her Smoke Trail Ranch. Then her eyes came to rest on the Wings of the Wind
house, high on its bluff, a sentinel to it all, and suddenly a sadness touched her in realizing that
Jack was never able to share it with her.
With tears streaking her weathered face she made her way slowly out of Jack's office to the
back door, her body racked with pain from the life-robbing cancer. She knew she would never
again visit this place in her current worn-out body. As she passed through the exit she let her
hands caress the stones lovingly and gently. She remembered how she had painstakingly picked
hundreds of special rocks from the cliffs and riverbeds of their ranch and placed them just so as
the house was being built. She made her way down the path and her friends helped her into a
waiting car, Helen Frye left the Apache Fires for the last time, her energy spent and near
collapse, she was ready at last to be admitted to the Flagstaff hospital.
Later, Helen's life was ebbing away in the cold sterile building where lives were saved,
unfortunately hers wouldn't be one of them. After many tests and procedures, and even a visit
from a Native American Medicine Man which caused quite a stir, she decided to sign herself out
while she still had the strength. Helen was determined the life she had left would be spent on
the property she belonged living or dead, her ranch. She was driven down the canyon and back
to her property, past the gates, and up the long winding drive to Smoke Trail Ranch.
At last, she felt a relief deep in her soul, yes this is where she wanted to spend the last precious
moments of her life, not in a hospital filled with strangers. She made her way through the door
into her "sanctuary" the Wings of the Wind. She was home at last and she vowed she would
not leave again “at least not physically” she sighed.
Later Helen sat misty-eyed for what seemed like an eternity in front of the plate glass windows
of the Wings of the Wind gazing out on her beloved Smoke Trail Ranch in a trance. The
memories swirled around her and through her like the mist on a foggy day. She allowed herself
to embrace each and every one. Helen wanted to hold on to these memories for an eternity, to
never forget one single incident.
Jack and her were flying over Smoke Trail Ranch in their gleaming Lockheed. She could hear
the drone of the powerful engines. She relived them both discovering this lovely valley
together, “claiming” it as theirs. The memories of their dreams and disappointments, their love
and passion, and all the friends they shared their lives with, it was all here displayed below in a
tapestry of threaded memories. Helen Varner Vanderbilt Frye resolved she would never forget
this place and her life here, she would hold it in her soul for an eternity! Helen was at peace she
did not fear death she was firm in her belief that God was not an entity to be feared but a loving
energy that was a part of all people and things.
Helen Virginia Varner Frye died on December 4, 1979, at her own ranch, in her own home
which she herself had built. Her weakened body slipped away, the life force spent, the energy
depleted. Helen's spirit; however, did not expire, it soared free. Her essence exited Wings of the
Wind and soared up over Smoke Trail Ranch above the golden trees and far above the ribbon of
Oak Creek. Her soul entered the Apache Fires house where another presence was waiting
patiently for her. This loving presence overwhelmed her with the most wonderful sense of
remembrance, it was "her" Jack. His radiance shone out into the empty rooms with a blinding
light of unconditional love. He reached out to her embracing her spirit. Helen was suddenly
filled with a joy immeasurable and a universal love indescribable, all her loneliness and anguish
melted away in that one instant. In a flash, they soared free out of the House of Apache Fires,
rising high above the sunrise red rock spires of the Sedona ranch, hand in hand free of the
physical earth. Light as a feather they journeyed quickly through a tunnel of vibrant colors and
into the most beautiful place of light and love Helen had ever experienced!
The journey now complete, Helen was surrounded by an unearthly brilliant radiance and the
souls of those whom had passed on, those she had known, and those she had forgotten. All
came to greet her and welcome her home! Home? Why, of course, the very essence of God, a
compassionate loving energy that permeates the very universe, surrounding everything and
everyone, a part of every molecule of spirit, each insignificant thing, the true unmolested
radiance of spirit, the dawning and the complete. Helen looked around her in awe and she was
humbled. In her heart she knew she had truly come home and was at peace.
Please Note: This is a generalized telling of Helen last days based on true events. It is written in
a way which reflected Helen Frye's own beliefs in the hereafter. Helen Frye did not want to
accept she was terminally ill, she disliked seeing doctors and detested hospitals. Unfortunately
though, Helen had smoked most of her life, like so many of her generation and this physical
abuse haunted her in the end.
In the fall of 1979, Helen's sister came to the Wings of the Wind to see Helen. Helen was
visibly ill, her sister urged her to see a specialist or enter a hospital but Helen wanted none of
it! Helen didn't need a doctor to tell her what she already knew in her heart, that her time was
on earth would soon pass. Toward the end of November, Helen's neighbor and good friend,
implored Helen to enter the Flagstaff Hospital. Helen finally agreed, an ambulance arrived at
the ranch and Helen was rushed up Oak Creek Canyon. The news, however, was not favorable,
the x-rays revealed severe lung carcinoma and pulmonary insufficiency. The doctor gave Helen
5 days to live. By this time, Helen needed oxygen to continue breathing. She returned home to
the Wings of the Wind and died within days. Helen Varner Frye was cremated and her ashes
were scattered over the knoll on which her home stood, far above Smoke Trail Ranch and Oak
Creek, free to mix with the thermals of the Wings of the Wind for an eternity!
It was decided that Helen's ashes would be scattered over the property she had loved for so
many years- Smoke Trail Ranch. However, in light of my research, I have found so little of
Helen's wishes were honored that it is anyone’s guess what Helen herself really desired. A
small group of friends (less than 10) gathered at the Wings of the Wind estate for the somber
occasion and the ashes were scattered from the rear terrace, over an adjoining cliff of red rocks.
The funeral event was not so serene. Court depositions state the ashes were blown back in the
faces of the mourners who were trying to scatter them. It seems a wind mysteriously rose up
out of the abyss, keeping the ashes from settling. Was this some kind of omen? It certainly is
vividly remembered by at least 2 people who were actually there. To this day they both find the
event quite unnerving!
Ashes unsuccessfully scattered, refusing to be laid to rest? Perhaps Helen showing her
disapproval of certain events and betrayals which took place shortly before her death. I feel
strongly though, after 30-some years, Helen Frye is finally at rest, her spirit forever the very
essence and breath of Smoke Trail Ranch. Fortunately perhaps for those who betrayed her! But
no doubt Helen will be waiting for them when they die....
a Tapestry of Threaded Memories
Sugarloaf @ the Frye Ranch- Red Rock State Park- Sedona Arizona
|November 28 1908 - December 04 1979