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Arthur Christopher Gym’s ‘Miss Tee’ Dies At 64
1/13/2017 11:55:34 AM

Marchitta Frayer
By Barney Blakeney

Marchitta Lorraine Ferrette Frayer, known to many in the Charleston area, especially among sports and recreation enthusiasts as the indomitable ‘Miss Tee’ who was director of the Arthur Christopher Gym, died unexpectedly Jan. 7. She was 64.

Frayer touched countless lives both young and old through her many programs at the Arthur Christopher gym also called the ‘city gym’. Most notably, the ‘Jump To It’ summer camp program. Frayer was director of the facility 38 years until her retirement February 27, 2015

She began her career started with the recreation department as a young adult at the Jack Adams Tennis complex in downtown Charleston.  “Ms. Tee”, as she is affectionately known, later worked at the Herbert Hazel Swimming Pool as a lifeguard and quickly moved into a management position.  She accepted a position at Harmon Field Park as a coach for a short period of time before being hired as a supervisor at the Arthur W. Christopher City Gymnasium in 1979. She became its manager in 1980.

Frayer served in numerous capacities working with various groups and organizations that included the Tri-County Black Nurse’s Association Health Fairs, Thanksgiving Charity Drives, Burke High School Athletics Booster Club, Community Unity Day, Industry Direct with Nina Nesbitt, Retired Teachers Association, Steven Wilson Brain Study, Royal Courts, and others.  She was awarded the “Golden Apple Award” by Channel 5 News for her dedicated service to children and the community.

Recreation Department Director Laurie Yarborough said Frayer’s programs consistently had extensive waiting lists as parents sought organized, structured activities for their children while they worked. In addition to sports activities, Frayer’s programs offered varied options to parents who valued her services, especially for her advocacy for girls and strict rules about academic performance.

And, Yarborough said, as a female in a male-dominated field profession, Frayer served as a role model for her and other women. “She was a leader when females were not always in leadership positions. But she also respected the roles of men like the late Modie Risher and Oscar Fordham Sr. who at 90 maintains a vigorous presence in downtown recreation. "I worked with her 18 years and was delighted to work with her so long,” Yarborough said.

Frayer’s daughter Tammy Frayer-Sterling said her mother was deeply motivated by her faith in God. She was baptized at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Charleston.  After the merger of St. Peters and St. Patrick churches, she continued her Christian life and service to God at St. Patrick Catholic Church. 

Frayer entered into Holy Matrimony to Nathaniel Frayer Sr.  They had two children, Nathaniel Frayer Jr. and Tammy Frayer-Sterling. Along with their children they raised another child, Yvonne Brown.

Frayer is survived by her children: Yvonne Brown of North Charleston, Nathaniel Frayer Jr. (Kamaria) of Mt. Pleasant and Tammy Sterling (Maurice) of Montgomery, Alabama;  a sister: Marie Brown; three brothers: Carl A. Ferrette (Betty), Jerome Ferrette (Daisey), Parrish Brown (Bernitha) all of North Charleston;  a brother-in-Law: Newberry Francis of St. Louis, Missouri;  grandchildren: Dominic, Jair, Nalea, Antonio (“AJ”), Maurice Jr. (“MJ”), Cheyenne, and Madison;  two uncles: Kenneth Brown and Harold Green;  four Aunts: Claramel King, Patricia Brown, Elizabeth Ferrette, and Mildred Ferrette and a host of nephews, nieces, grandnephews, grandnieces, cousins, other relatives and friends whom will all miss her dearly. 

Her children offered a note to Frayer’s friends and loved ones: “Recreation has always been a part of our life, and for many years we couldn’t understand why Mommie spent so much time serving others.  We didn’t understand why Mommie chose a 15-hour work shift when she was only paid for 8 of those hours.  We couldn’t understand why Mommie would take a 2-week vacation and still call the gym to check on her staff and the Center’s participants.  It never made sense why we had to spend so much of our time with so many children, teens, and adults.  It never made sense why Mommie did a lot of what she did when it came to the gym. 

“It wasn’t until January 7, 2017 that we understood why.  Our Mommie was molded to serve.  In all of her years of service to the community, Mommie gave us the younger sisters and brothers, the older sisters and brothers, the extra aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and an abundance of extended family that we would need when her name was called on Heaven’s List.  Our Mommie gave a piece of her heart to everyone she met and when she gained wings, each piece of her heart was returned to us through the kind words shared with the world about my Mommie and we couldn’t be more thankful.

“We would like to thank every single person that gave our Mommie a chance to be a part of their lives.  Thanks to you, generations have been impacted by Mommie’s service, her gifts, her talents, and her love.  You may not be relatives by blood but we thank you for carrying a piece of my Mommie’s heart within you for so many years and returning it to us as she gained her wings and extended above us.  It’s because of you that we finally understand why."  
We graciously thank you all,
Nunnie, Tammy, and Pooh


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