Goethe: “A person should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”
Michael Fridley died of an aggressive cancer that did not allow time for treatment. Born in Sutter Creek, Calif., he and his family have made Corvallis their home for the last 18 years. A modern Renaissance man, Michael had an inquiring mind, a love for learning and a passion for music and creative expression. His life was guided by the ideals of integrity, kindness and quiet generosity.
He loved being a student, as evidenced by his educational achievements: at California State University, Sacramento, he earned a B.M. in guitar performance and a B.S. in history, and his M.A. in music. At the University of the Pacific, he earned an M.A.T. in music education and an Ed.D in instruction and curriculum, with an emphasis in music and a minor in computer-assisted instruction.
As an educator, he taught private music lessons for many years, spent five years teaching music in elementary school settings, and taught music classes at California State University, Sacramento; Sacramento City College; San Joaquin Delta College; and Skagit Valley Community College. He was also an assistant professor in the music department at the University of Montana Western for three years before taking a position as an education specialist at the Oregon Department of Education in Salem.
As a musician, his breadth of knowledge about music history and experience with diverse musical styles was a source of inspiration to many. Throughout his life, he appreciated and performed rock, blues, folk, country, bluegrass, jazz, classical and early music. His first instrument was the trumpet, but by high school the guitar became his focus. He also played lute, banjo and recorder, relishing the collaboration of playing in ensembles. Guided by a desire to serve the music, when he took a solo it was to enhance and extend the creative choices of the musicians he loved to play with.
He is survived by his wife Victoria and son Daniel; his parents Garnett and Mary Fridley; his sister and brother-in-law Nancy and Hank Luckie, their daughters Tessa and Stacey and their families; his aunts, Kate Beck and Pearl Harrison; and many cousins. He also leaves behind his second family through marriage: Sandi and Kerry South, Cheryl and Darrell Johnson, and Rick Davis. He will be remembered by many friends and by the rich musical legacy he leaves behind.
A musical celebration of Michael Fridley’s life will be held on Saturday, Aug. 20, at the West Hills First Congregational United Church of Christ in Corvallis, Ore. The celebration will be at 1 p.m. with a reception immediately following.
For those wishing to make a donation in honor of Michael’s memory, the family would like you to please consider the ArtsCare program at the Arts Center, Benton Hospice, or an organization of your choice that promotes music education and performance.