Promoted to Glory: Major Jean Frese

Nov 9, 2021 | by Brad Rowland

Promoted to Glory: Major Jean Frese

Major Jean Lorraine Frese was born on July 6, 1926, in Pittsburgh, Pa. and was Promoted to Glory on November 3, 2021. Major Frese served faithfully as a "Soldier of Christ,” her session name, which she certainly held true.

Major Frese hailed from Pittsburgh, but when visiting North Carolina, she was asked to work there as her assistant — an unlikely change of culture and life ambition. That was 1941, and she became among the first of a long line of lieutenants assigned to similar tasks until the early 1950s. Ironically, she says that, to her knowledge, she is the also the last surviving lieutenant of that distinguished roster.

Much of Major Frese's career is grafted into the history of the Mountain Mission, and she credits Major Brown's tutelage for her preparation of a selfless ministry — a practice she would utilize in various appointments in the Southern Territory — including these same western North Carolina mountains years later.

She served nearly 30 years as a Salvation Army officer. Major Frese did a superior job in all her assignments, preferring to work behind the scenes, in a quiet and effective manner.  Her career consisted of the following appointments:

  • 1961- Mountain Mission District
  • 1968- Toccoa, GA
  • 1976- Shelton Laurel, NC
  • 1983- Hot Springs, NC
  • 1986- Winston-Salem, NC

In making the presentation of the William Booth Award, one of the highest honors bestowed to any individual in The Salvation Army, Commissioner Barbara Howell extolled Major Frese for her faithful service to the people of the Mountain Mission — even in the years following her retirement in 1991, where she's lived in her home less than a hundred steps from her beloved Shelton Laurel Corps.

While with Major Brown, Lieutenant Frese was expected to perform the same duties, including traveling by horseback to distant outposts to spread the Gospel.

"We honor you for your faithful service to the people of these mountains," Commissioner Howell said. "You found the people, met their needs, and have ministered to them. Today our territory wants to bestow to you the William Booth Award, given for outstanding service to the community — unselfishly of your own treasure, energy, and faithful ministry. You have evidenced deep concern for others as modeled by our Founder, William Booth, toward the betterment and salvation of humanity."

The audience delighted in hearing some of Major Frese's memories, a few most amusing: "I had to ride a horse just to get to each of the missions. One Sunday morning I was going to one of the outposts, and I noticed my horse's ears were twitching. That made me look behind and I saw I was being followed. I said to him, ‘What's the matter — did I get too close to your (moonshine) still?"

Her love for the mountains called her there in retirement and now she is high on the mountain with her Lord and Savior, that she served so faithfully. Please be in prayer for her many friends and family.

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