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Committed Leader Leaves Legacy
Humility, wisdom and compassion characterized the former leader of the Mennonite Central Committee and Ten Thousand Villages.

Marv Frey, a caring and compassionate leader with a longstanding commitment to Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and Ten Thousand Villages, died in his home early Sunday morning, Oct. 19.

Marv Frey

Most recently, Frey was the chief executive officer of Ten Thousand Villages Canada – a fair trade organization whose mission is to provide vital, fair income to artisans around the world. Ten Thousand Villages is a program of Mennonite Central Committee Canada.

Frey joined Ten Thousand Villages in 2002 and oversaw the retail organization’s growth from 35 to 50 stores. Under his leadership, sales tripled from $5.5 million to almost $15 million. His vision was to reach $30 million in annual fair trade sales at Ten Thousand Villages – roughly one dollar per Canadian.

In September 2007, Frey was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. Despite failing health, he continued to provide input on projects and plans for the organization.

“Marv leaves a legacy of integrity, humility and compassion,” said Bev Hiebert, Director of Sales at Ten Thousand Villages. “He was completely committed to providing a better life for artisans and would always remind us that we’re not just a retail organization--our stores provide a market for people who have few opportunities, creating an environment where their products can be sold and their stories can be shared.”

As a leader, Frey was admired by people throughout the Ten Thousand Villages network. At a recent gathering of staff, volunteers and business partners from across the country and overseas, he was described as someone who was always thinking of the big picture, was kind in all his dealings, and was respectful of everyone. His character was expressed as humble and generous, patient and honest.

Prior to joining Ten Thousand Villages, Frey served as the Program Director with Canadian Foodgrains Bank, Executive Director of MCC Canada, and Coordinator of MCC Canada Overseas Services. Between 1971 and 1988, Frey served as a MCC Service Worker in Jamaica, Swaziland, Somalia and Lesotho.

“Marv made tremendous contributions to MCC and other church-based organizations,” added MCC Canada Executive Director, Don Peters. “He was a great hands-on practitioner who was willing to serve others as a leader. We will miss him.”

Originally published on the Mennonite Central Committee website, October 2008.




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