Obituary - Leonard P. Fries, The Mayor of The Palms

Staff Photo by Sully Witte Len Fries

Leonard P. Fries, 94, of Mt. Pleasant, SC died on Thursday, May 5, 2016.

Len Fries was the resident reporter at The Palms in Mount Pleasant and compiled numerous stories about the people who live among him and their lives. As part of the Moultrie News Tales of Valor series, he generously shared those with readers of the Moultrie News.

He would never let editor Sully Witte interview him, rather he felt printing his stories and celebrating his friends and neighbors was enough.

“It’ll be 2 years this November that Len and my paths crossed I moved to the Palms,” said friend Carl Bailey.

“Len sat with me and General Tom Stadler and as the conversation started I recognized Len’s dialect was Philadelphia style. Having worked for a Philadelphia firm for many years we found out that we had a lot of old places and a flair for Philly. I loved him as did many here. I too will miss him but I know he’s dancing with angels.”

Len always attended the local Alzheimer’s Forget-Me-Not Ball with Ashley Alexander, Director of Sales & Marketing at The Palms. She has worked at The Palms for over seven years and Len had moved in just before her arrival. “He went around and spoke to everyone at meals and made it a point to always speak to visitors here to let him know how much he loved this place. If I could have added him on the marketing team I would have. To me, Len was the mascot of The Palms. I am going to miss this guy more than you can imagine and I don’t only speak for myself. I think everyone that knew Len, loved Len. Every month (for years and years) he took the time to interview a different resident and then write up their life story and then it was published for everyone to read. He celebrated everyone’s life stories and accomplishments and gave his time selflessly to make that happen. This man was such an inspiration to my life,” she said. “I’m surely going to miss him.”

His life story is not nearly as short as the obituary provided here, but in heartfelt remembrance to his talent, kindness and generosity, meet Len Fries.

He was born on Monday, June 20, 1921 in Bala-Cynwyd, PA to the late Mrs. Gertrude Ryan Fries and the late Mr. John James Fries.

Len was born in Bala-Cynwyd, PA, attended Lower Merion High School, Pace Institute for Accounting and Business Law, and St. Mary’s College of Moraga, CA. He trained in the United States Navy Aviation Cadet Program shortly after WWII started. Upon completing his training, he became a Marine officer pilot flight instructor at Bunker Hill Naval Air Station, near Kokomo, Indiana. At Bunker Hill, he met the love of his life, Arlean Kriehn, a Navy W.A.V.E. in Flight Supply. Arlean enlisted in the Navy shortly after the war started, foregoing lucrative defense work. They married immediately after the war in Pensacola, FL. Len transferred to El Centro, CA, flying multi-engine transport planes. Arlean joined him until he was released from the Marine Corps. They moved to suburban Philadelphia.

Len was employed by Bowman Gum, Inc., then Lipton Tea Co. He joined M & R Laboratories (later, Ross Laboratories Division of Abbott Laboratories) as a salesman moving up the ladder to District Manager, Regional Manager, Director and Vice President of Professional Relations and Training. He initiated the Ross Formula System now in use in hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. They moved to Atlanta, GA where Len took over the Southeastern Region, fulfilling a long time desire to move to the south.

After his retirement, he was recruited by doctors from the Mayo Clinic to become the Executive Director of the Irish and American Paediatric Society-which he was for almost 24 years. Len was awarded Honorary Doctorates from the American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians, Southern Perinatal Society and the Florida Pediatric Society.

Len spent a good portion of his years helping others in many ways, never seeking accolades. He was often referred to as “The Mayor” of The Palms. His loved ones will remember him as a loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, mentor and friend.

He is survived his loving daughter, Carolyn Allen (Edwin), of Charleston, SC; sons, Leonard Paul Fries Jr. (Yvonne), of Watkinsville, GA, and Kenneth Victor Fries (Carol), of Silver Creek, GA; nine grandchildren, Dr. J. Alex Allen, Suzanne Allen (Andrew Bell), Emily Allen, Edwin Michael Allen, Jonathan P. Fries (Courtney), Kimberly Jones (Cody), Christopher S. Fries (Katie), Katie Turner (Cory), Colleen Fries; five great grandchildren, Sarah, Jack, James, Trevor and Taylor; and a multitude of loving friends and family.

He was predeceased by his parents and his loving wife of 65 years, Arlean Kriehn Fries.

The family will receive friends on Saturday, May 7, 2016 from 3:00 to 4:30 PM at McAlister-Smith Funeral Home, 1520 Rifle Range Road, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464.

A Graveside Service will be held at Beaufort National Cemetery on Monday, May 9, 2016 at 10:00 AM with Military Honors.

In lieu of flowers Memorial donations may be made in his honor to Hospice Center of Charleston, 676 Wando Park Blvd., Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464.

Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at

You can also read his essays online at