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Kenwood Academy's Beloved Assistant Principal Thomas Frayne Dies

By Sam Cholke | April 19, 2017 2:04pm | Updated on April 20, 2017 8:03am
 Kenwood Assistant Principal Thomas Frayne died over spring break on a trip to Washington, D.C., to visit his sister.
Kenwood Assistant Principal Thomas Frayne died over spring break on a trip to Washington, D.C., to visit his sister.
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Wikimedia Commons/TonyTheTiger, inset Facebook/Remembering Thomas Frayne

KENWOOD — Thomas Frayne, the assistant principal at Kenwood Academy, died over spring break in Washington, D.C.

Frayne, 66, was visiting his sister in Washington, D.C., when he died of natural causes, according to the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and a Facebook group set up by former students.

Frayne served as assistant principal since 2012 and also taught algebra to stay close to the students, but he is being remembered for his years of service as an educator and pastor on the South Side.

Johnny Mitchell posted in the Remembering Thomas Frayne Facebook group that he remembers him as Father Frayne during his time as a priest at St. James Catholic Church until 2002.

“He was also my algebra teacher,” Mitchell said. “He helped me develop a fondness for the subject. One of my last memories was when Sept. 11 happened and we stopped class and he explained to us what was going [on]. He was always such a kind person and gave great advice.”

Frayne taught at Roosevelt High School, Phillips and Kenwood academies during his 20-year teaching career.

Others remember him as an outspoken advocate in the community.

“I met him over 20 years ago when I was an organizer for the Alliance of Congregations Transforming the Southside,” Bart Beals posted in the group. “He was not the biggest or the most physically imposing person but he had the biggest heart and an admirable strength about him.”

Principal Gregory Jones of Kenwood Academy, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., said in a letter to students and parents that the school will be providing grief counseling services for students who need to talk about Frayne’s death.

Frayne also coached the boy’s tennis team and helped with SAT and ACT test prep.

“I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about him,” Jones said. “He was a good friend. He had a good relationship with the students.”

A visitation will be held from 3-8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday at Maloney Funeral Home, 1359 W. Devon Ave. with a funeral at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Gertrude’s Church, 1420 W. Granville Ave.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking donations be made to Chicago House, the United Negro College Fund or the Kenwood Academy choir and band.