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Published: Thursday, 8/4/2005

Straight talk a mark of ex-Norwalk mayor

NORWALK, Ohio - Louis G. Frey, former mayor of Norwalk known as a straight-talking leader whose accomplishments included getting a highway bypass built around the city, died Monday at home after a fall a day earlier. He was 81.

Family members did not know the cause of death.

Mr. Frey was mayor from 1957 to 1966, voted to his first term as an independent and three subsequent times as a Democrat.

In 1991, he was interim mayor for eight months, then was elected mayor again, serving from 1993 to 1999.

"You knew where you stood with him," his son, Timothy, said. "He was up-front with people. He meant what he said. It was a pretty Republican county, so I think he was quite well liked."

The U.S. 20 bypass built in the 1960s as a result of his efforts helped relieve some noisy truck traffic congestion on Main Street, where vehicles from several state highways converge.

Mr. Frey also shaped efforts to get three reservoirs constructed to provide a reliable supply of water. "He was concerned that maybe the Huron River would get polluted and the city wouldn't have a source of water," his son said.

Mr. Frey was president of the Ohio Mayors Association in 1963 and was a member of the Ohio Municipal League.

He operated a real estate brokerage business. He later was a director of the savings bond division of the U.S. Treasury Department in Columbus.

Surviving are his wife, Miriam; sons, Timothy and Thomas; daughter, Kathleen Butler; sisters, Betty Schaffer, Veronica Kluding, Kathleen Leibold, and Sister Mary Gilbert, and seven grandchildren.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. today in St. Paul Catholic Church. Arrangements are by Walker Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to a charity of the donor's choice.

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