William L. Frier

June 16, 1931 – January 6, 2024

Retired Air Force major and West Point graduate, William L. Frier of Colorado Springs, Colorado died on January 6, 2024, at the age of 92.

A one-time C-130 aircraft commander, Frier was a foreign language instructor at the Air Force Academy when the school first opened to cadets in 1961.

Frier’s love of the Spanish began as a child when his father moved the family of six girls and three boys to Mexico City, Mexico in 1936 after being hired as an executive with the 7-Up Bottling Company of Mexico.

As a Spanish instructor, Frier pioneered a conversational “fun and easy way” to teach Spanish to cadets, and academy families and personnel using cartoon characters via closed circuit television.

Frier further developed his Spanish program when stationed at Lockbourne Air Force Base in Columbus, Ohio.  It was there he launched Yo Hablo (“I speak”) on the local CBS affiliate, WBNS-TV.  Main news anchor, Tom Ryan, even put his experience as a one-time puppeteer to use to bring Frier’s cartoon characters to life, principally “Cool Cat.”

The Yo Hablo series later aired on public education stations in multiple states and was certified for use by inmates and staff of the Colorado prison system. Yo Hablo was also used to teach English to Spanish-speaking residents in Colorado.

Frier came from a long line of West Point graduates. His grandfather graduated in 1886 and was classmates with Gen. John Pershing, serving in both the Spanish-American War and the Mexican Punitive Expedition. His father was with the Class of 1917 and served in World War I.  He re-enlisted after Pearl Harbor and was assigned to help command the Japanese code-breaking unit at Arlington Hall in Washington, DC.  Frier and his older brother John, joined their father in Washington when Frier was 13 right after D-Day in June 1944.

Following a 20-year career in the Air Force, Frier became a financial planner with EF Hutton, Shearson Lehman Brothers, among others before becoming an independent agent specializing in life insurance.

Frier was married in 1956 to his sister Lloyd’s college classmate, Sara St. Antoine, who survives. Bill is also survived by five sons: Ted, David, Peter, Robert, and Andrew; and by grandchildren: T.J, Matty, Caroline, Lucie, Abby, Alden, Will, Catey, and Sara.

A Memorial Service will be held 10:00 AM, Friday, April 5, 2024, at the Shrine of Remembrance “America the Beautiful” Chapel, 1730 East Fountain Boulevard, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80910.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Benet Hill Monastery, 3190 Benet Lane Colorado Springs, Colorado 80921. (benethillmonastery.org/)

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This Obituary Has 4 Condolences

  1. The Buckley SFB military Retiree Activities Office (RAO) would like to offer our sincere condolences and our gratitude for Maj Frier’s service to our country in the Army and Air Force. If you would like help with any matters related to casualty assistance, Defense Finance & Accounting Service, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), Veterans Affairs (VA), etc. you can contact our office on Buckley SFB at 720-847-6693 or raobuckley@gmail.com. The RAO is staffed by volunteers, all military retirees themselves, and our sole purpose is to provide assistance to any military retirees and surviving spouses/family members with anything related to their military service and/or benefits, in particular during difficult times such as this. We are deeply sorry for your loss.

    Steve Young
    Lt Col, USAF, Ret
    Director, Buckley SFB RAO

  2. To Sally and the boys.
    Thanks for sharing Bills story.
    I learned a lot that I had just heard bits and pieces
    In the past.
    My sincere Condolences to you and the family.
    Love to all.

  3. So sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you .
    Sherry Andrews

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. This man seems to have been quite the hero.
    Love Claudia

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