Frey, Rhonda (Mitchell) Walks on

Indian Island, Maine (Penobscott Nation/ICC) 6-09

It is with much sadness that we inform you of the unexpected and sudden passing of our mother, sister, grandmother, Aunt and friend, Rhonda (Mitchell) Frey, Feb. 8, 2009. She was born Dec. 30, 1955, daughter of the late Matthew and Juanita (Nicholas) Mitchell of Indian Island. Rhonda graduated from the University of Maine, Orono, where she received two bachelor degrees in journalism and history, respectively.

For the past several years she had been the human resources coordinator for Penobscot Nation, Indian Island. She previously worked as a producer for Channel 5 11 O'Clock News at WABI-TV Bangor. During the 1970s, she served as a police officer for Penobscot Nation. Rhonda was a member of the Native American Journalism Association, NAJA.

She was the proud host and producer of Indigenous Voices, a monthly radio broadcast for WERU radio, Orland with simulcast on Bates, Bowdoin, Colby and MPBN radio stations. She served as consultant to the Abbe Museum, assisted in curriculum development for the Maine Native American History program, secondary educational unit and was an advocate for child protective services. She was a tireless and dedicated fighter for Native rights.

Rhonda was a member of the University of Maine Oratorical Society and St. Ann's Catholic Church Voices of the Dawn Choir, Indian Island. She was a very proud Native woman. Rhonda was instrumental in getting the offensive place name changes in Maine law by asking the town of Stockton Springs to change certain offensive place names that were derogatory to Indian woman to non-offensive names.

She is survived by a son, James H. Lolar and his wife, Sarah, of Gardiner; two grandchildren, Rowyn and Avery Lolar; 10 siblings, Valerie (Mitchell) Carter and her husband, Cliff, Burnell Mitchell and his wife, Pauline, Mark Mitchell and his wife, Kathy, all of Indian Island, Dale Mitchell of Orono, Lisa (Mitchell) Shirland and her husband, Robert, Seth Mitchell and his wife, Sherri, all of Indian Island, Melissa Mitchell and her partner, Robert Leavitt, of Dexter, Nicole (Mitchell) Sockbeson and her husband, Andy, of Indian Island, Patty Mitchell and her partner, Dana Newell, of Indian Township and Sara (Mitchell) Knapp and her husband, Ben, of Indian Island; Aunts, Blanche Sockabasin and Patricia Sockabasin, both of Indian Township, Ursula Newell of Pleasant Point and Hilda Gray of Indian Island; uncles, Gerry Mitchell of Alabama, Moses Neptune and Andrew Dana, both of Pleasant Point; 30 nieces and nephews, eight great-nieces and great-nephews, many cousins and many close friends across the country. She was predeceased by her parents, Matthew and Nikki Mitchell; a brother, Matthew Mitchell Jr.; a grandson, Aiden Lolar; a niece, Stephanie Mitchell; and a nephew, Jacob Mitchell.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association-Go Red for Women of Penobscot County, 51 U.S. Route 1, Suite M, Scarborough, ME 04074. Arrangements by Birmingham Funeral Home, 438 Main St., Old Town. Those who wish may visit an online memorial and post a personal tribute through .