Melissa Ellen Yager Frimmer
1/30/1952 to 7/15/2020
There’s a precise moment at first blush of the morning when the temperature reaches its coldest point and the splendid rosy clouds graze the tops of the wise Oaks. We had an abundance of them in our expansive backyard and it was at that specific time when the brisk morning air would coax our green-eyed Czech mom to rise at 5 a.m. and head to work as an ESL teacher, which she devoted over three decades of her life to.
This was her favorite moment of the day when she would quietly sit in our sunroom and sip coffee in the dark as she would wait for the sun to rise and mentally prepare for her daily commute to Bloomfield – first to Bloomfield High School, and later to Carteret Elementary. She was the first one to leave in the morning and often, the last one home, as she juggled single-motherhood with tutoring, after-school clubs and night school where she gained her Master’s +30 accreditation in Counseling at Montclair State University.
Born on January 30, 1952 in Bayonne, NJ to Charles and Olga Yager (nee Yediny), Melissa Ellen Yager (nicknamed Lissa early on) shared a quaint home with her parents and two older siblings, Mark and Jill.
She attended Bloomfield, NJ schools from K-HS, always active in a plethora of social activities – twirling and acting as the yearbook editor, to name a few. From high school, Lissa attended Kean University and spoke often of her fondest memories studying abroad in Denmark and learning to ski in Austria which would become one of her favorite lifelong pastimes. She wrote about it in her 1973 journal, “Well as soon as I put my skis on, forget it! The little tiny slope to get you to the runs appeared to me like an Olympic downhill course. I fell over the first tiny bump-Bonnie and Nancy were hysterical. Every time I would get up, I would fall. In about 100 yards of hills, I had about 50 yards of falling!” That’s how she was- always able to laugh and have a good time and always kept going, no matter what the challenge.
After college, she married Joseph Frimmer (former spouse) and moved to Cedar Knolls, NJ, giving birth to children, Brett and Amy shortly after.
Seeking a better life for her and her kids and always searching for the next adventure, Lissa took her children along on countless trips – Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Disney, Hawaii… to name a few, and of course, the most favorite and memorable of them all: A two week camping trek across the country to “Jeep Camp” in Boulder, CO, where they biked, hiked, and whitewater rafted. Of course, they can’t forget when she backed her Jeep out of the parking deck at the hotel and ripped down a waterpipe, causing an evacuation of the entire complex and a visit from every firetruck, ambulance and police car in town!
Teaching was her passion and her students, often impoverished, frequently asked “Ms. Frimmer” if they could come home with her because she made them feel loved. She had a box of Brett & Amy’s clothes in her classroom because the students often came to school in the frigid cold with no coats.
Those closest to Lissa describe her personality as “effervescent”, benignant to anyone that approached her. She was fond of speaking to strangers who would give her the time and always felt she could make a difference in someone’s life with just a smile or a helping hand. Her extroverted personality led her to the Morris County Ski Club where she met many of her dearest friends and her longtime partner, Ray Kennedy.
Among many, the memories we hold dear to our hearts: The seasick/carsick/airsick/boatsick blonde who wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to travel and experience the world even if it meant a day full of Dramamine and Ginger ale; that fiercely independent, loving, selfless friend, mother and partner; that yearly trip to the Jacob Javitz Center car show and Lead East; the abundance of cookbooks and “self-help” paraphernalia; the years in Spring Lake where she felt free and alive; that mother/daughter dance at Amy’s wedding; those moments when she held her grandsons in her arms for the first time…
We take from Lissa this valuable life lesson: Let us find and encourage within ourselves, within our society, those gifts that make us each special: not by our fame or fortune, not by our belongings or our accomplishments but the ineffable mystery and extraordinary beauty of the simple human heart.
Lissa is predeceased by her mother and father. She is survived by her longtime partner, Ray Kennedy; brother, Mark Yager and wife Dee; sister, Jill Yager; son, Brett Frimmer; daughter, Amy McPeek and husband Kevin; grandsons, Cameron & Mason McPeek.
To pay your final respects to this vibrant, amazing woman, please visit us from 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM, Tuesday, July 21, 2020 at Tuttle Funeral Home, 272 Route 10, Randolph. Graveside service will be private in Summit Hill, PA. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the funeral home limits the number of visitors to 30 at one time. Please, be mindful of others and limit your visit, so others have time to pay their respects. A private memorial service will follow from 7:30 PM to 8:00 PM for immediate family and her close friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network: https://www.pancan.org/ or The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation: https://www.alzinfo.org/