On October 26, 2014, Wanda Graf Frei, 98, affectionately known as “The Fruit Stand Lady,” closed the fruit stand and left to go dancing and fishing with Grandpa. Wanda was born May 3, 1916, in Santa Clara, Utah, to Josephine Tobler and Henry Graf. She was raised her whole life in Santa Clara and came from stalwart pioneer heritage. She attended elementary school in Santa Clara and high school in St. George with her childhood sweetheart, Landon Frei.
Wanda and Landon were married October 16, 1936. They were sealed in the St. George Temple February 27, 1988. Soon after they were married, Landon purchased a small farm and began raising fruits and vegetables. Wanda cleaned houses, cared for the women who had just had babies, and waved hair.
In 1956, Landon & Wanda set up a card table in their front yard and began selling their produce to the travelers of old Highway 91. This was the beginning of the iconic Frei’s Fruit Market.
Wanda was a good seamstress. She crocheted, tatted, quilted, and canned. She was a good cook. Her kids and grandkids all love her applesauce, dried fruit, her homemade noodles and rolls, and her Thanksgiving Turkey, as well as chess pies, divinity, and patience. Her home was open to everyone and many people stopped by daily to check in, say hi, and solve the world’s problems. People loved to visit with her.
Family was everything for her. She loved her kids, grandkids, great-grandkids and great-great grandkids. She would rock, sing and read to them. She has handed down a great legacy and heritage to them, as she taught them about their ancestors and carried on great traditions like coloring Easter Eggs, cutting homemade valentines, and the Christmas Eve program, among others. Her Easter Eggs, Valentines and homemade noodles are in the Folk Museum in Utah.
She is well known for her honesty, work ethic, giving food to others, and her ability to pick out a good melon.
She loved to fish and caught some pretty big fish in her day. She and Landon loved to dance and were often seen dancing at the Elk’s lodge where she served as President of the Lady Elks. She loved the Utah Jazz, the color purple, and watching and listening about her grandkids sports and accomplishments.
Her family was her greatest love. She counts them among the greatest “fruit” of her labors. She is preceded in death by her parents; brothers and sisters; daughter, Alica; son-in-law, Jack; and two great grandsons and one great-great granddaughter. She is survived by her sister, Elaine Seegmiller; her children: Loretta Adams, Vicki Lasswell, Dennis & Bryce (Kalyn); nine grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren.
- Funeral services will be held Monday, Nov. 3, at 11 a.m. at the Santa Clara 1st Ward Chapel, 3040 West Santa Clara Drive, Santa Clara, Utah.
- A viewing will be held, Sunday, Nov. 2, from 5-7 p.m. at the Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 South Bluff Street, St. George, and Monday, Nov. 3 from 9-10:30 a.m. prior to services at the Chapel.
- Interment will take place in the Santa Clara Cemetery.
A special thanks to Dixie Hospice and her sweet nurses, Mindy, Vanessa and Allison for the loving care they gave her and to all those who helped with her care.
Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, telephone 435-673-2454. Friends may sign her guestbook at the Spilsbury Mortuary website.
St. George News featured Wanda Frei in a Mother’s Day article in May 2014: ‘Fruit Stand Lady’ turns 98, mother great-great-grand. Our sincere condolences to the family and gratitude for all she brought to the community.