Chad M. Frei, 39, of Grangeville, died Saturday, April 23, 2016, as the result of a vehicle accident.
He was born Aug. 11, 1976, in Cottonwood, the oldest of four children, to Mike and Jana Frei. He attended Sts. Peter and Paul School and graduated from Grangeville High School in 1994. He attended the University of Idaho and then began running his first flying business, Grangeville Flying Service, in 1997. He obtained his pilot’s license that year and began his flying career. He flew for McCall Air Taxi as its youngest backcountry pilot and also worked for Valley Air Service, working his way into an aerial applicator position. After flying many years for Valley Air Service, he bought the Grangeville satellite business and built it into Frei Aviation. He worked the spring season on the Camas Prairie and flew the summer months in Burley, Idaho.
During his childhood, he enjoyed camping with his family, exploring the outdoors with his siblings and cousins, and riding horses. He shared this love of the outdoors and horses with his daughter Claire when he purchased her a horse on her 8th birthday. Chad’s love for adventure included a CJ7 Jeep, in which his daughter Emily spent many hours riding along with the top down.
In 1996, he married his high school sweetheart, Jayci Hill, and they had four beautiful children, Josh, Nathan, Claire and Emily. They vacationed to places like the San Juan Islands, Victoria B.C., and the Oregon and California coasts, as well as many backcountry strips in his Cessna 180.
He will always be remembered for his love of aviation and his outstanding ability to fly. Chad passed on his love of aviation to his son Josh, and taught him to fly at the age of 16. For Josh’s 17th birthday, Chad watched him solo and later completed his private pilot check ride in the Cessna 180. He enjoyed ski plane flying throughout the winter and making videos with Josh.
Most of all, Chad will be remembered and loved by all who knew him for his outgoing personality and genuine love and care for others. From the people who worked with him, to those who knew him as a friend or even just as an acquaintance, immediately felt this personal interest Chad had for them. Chad will be so missed by everyone who knew and loved him but especially by his family. Chad loved getting together as a family and he added so much love and excitement to these events. We love you so much, Chad.
He was involved in the Pacific Northwest Aerial Applicators Alliance as president and a member of the board of directors. He also served on the Sts. Peter and Paul School and parish board and was active in the Knights of Columbus.
He is survived by his wife, Jayci; children Josh, Claire and Emily at their home in Grangeville; parents Mike and Jana Frei; siblings Russ Frei, Kristin (Cody) Black and Alex (Margaret) Frei; brother-in-law Matt Hill; and in-laws Mike and Shelly Eimers.
He was preceded in death by a son, Nathan; and grandparents Cecil and Cora Earp and Al and Caroline Frei of Grangeville.