Autumn Hills man celebrates 89th birthday |

Autumn Hills man celebrates 89th birthday

by Caryn Haller

Innovative, honest, enthusiastic. Those are the words friends and family used to describe Autumn Hills resident Matt Frolich.

Frolich celebrated his 89th birthday July 18 at Francisco’s Restaurant in Minden.

“His best characteristic is his continual optimism of doing new or innovative things on projects that make sense,” said Full Circle Compost owner Craig Witt. “Matt was my high school chemistry teacher. I learned everything in life is chemical in one part or another.”

Born July 18, 1923, in San Pedro, Calif., Frolich grew up in the San Fernando Valley.

In 1942 ,he served as a Pharmacist Mate in the Coast Guard for three years. He was stationed in California, Oregon and Washington.

“My oldest brother told me to go in the U.S. Coast Guard. He was in the Army and recommended the Coast Guard,” Frolich said. “I’m no hero, I just served where I was told to go. Most of it was boring.”

Following his time in the service, Frolich worked as a nurseryman for 17 years, and married his wife, Lorraine in 1957.

“We will have been married 55 years this December,” he said. “She has put up with me all these years and says she’s ready to do it again.”

In 1963, Frolich taught school in Lovelock for a few years before moving to Carson Valley in 1969 to teach science at the high school.

“Life was fairly quiet. We were in the old high school,” he said. “When I moved here the superintendent was Gene Scarselli. It was a much smaller town.”

Wanting to go back to his roots, Fruelick left teaching to manage the Nevada State Tree Nursery, where he retired from in 1983.

“I love growing plants. They are so basic to our very existence, and they are all so interesting,” Frolich said. “We haven’t found all of them yet.”

Mark O’Farrell, owner of Hungry Mother Organics, met Frolich 10 years ago.

“You’d never know he was retired. He thinks like a 25-year-old,” O’Farrell said. “I admire Matt because he’s such a positive, enthusiastic guy.”

Planning Commissioner Jo Etta Brown has been neighbors with Frolich for 11 years.

“He’s living history. He has so much to share,” she said. “I admire his steadfastness and not giving up on his real focus which is the environment.”

John Shank drove from Lovelock on Wednesday to help Frolich celebrate his big day.

“Matt is a very energetic, very honest person,” he said. “If I knew half of what he does, I’d be the happiest man on earth.”

Although retired, Frolich is active with Sustainable Energy Development Associates, a promotional start-up energy company in Gardnerville that encourages business ventures into biomass as the alternative to dependency on fossil fuels.

“I still do writing on how to grow plants, and a little bit of consulting,” he said. “I keep reading, talking to people. I’m certainly not bored.”