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David Beckett Frese

January 10, 1945 ~ March 29, 2023 (age 78) 78 Years Old


January 10, 1945—March 29, 2023

78 Years Old

Born to John Francis Frese and Louella Beckett Frese of Jonesboro, Arkansas, David made his home in Nashville, Tennessee beginning with his enrollment at Vanderbilt University in 1962. After graduation he worked as a buyer for Cain-Sloan Department store in Green Hills and later for Tennessee Disability Determination Services.  He was proud of having lived within the same 1.5 mile radius of Vanderbilt during his entire time in the city.

David is preceded in death by his parents, his husband and partner for more than 35 years, Dr. Tom Christenbery, sisters Brenda Winters and Patsy Jane Stagner, and nephews Brad Stagner and Jason Piazza. He is survived by sister Sara Piazza of Irvine, CA, nieces Kelly Winters, Marcy Fielder (Jeff), Courtney Savage, and Kathryn Ballengee, and nephews Tracy Winters (Amy), Kevin Piazza (Bonnie), Kirby Piazza (Gina), and David Stagner, as well as many grand and great-grand nieces and nephews.

David and his husband were founding members of Greater Nashville Unitarian-Universalist Congregation in Bellevue, Tennessee, and the church was a focal point of David’s life. He was the first chair of the caring committee and remained actively involved with helping others in the congregation until his death. He began a series of yearly workshops for the Caring Committee that was later named in his honor. David maintained continuing association with friends from his days at Cain-Sloan and Tennessee Disability Determination Services. His friendships were long-lasting.

Through his husband Dr. Tom Christenbery, a beloved professor at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, David became tied to a number of friends at the School of Nursing. After Tom’s unexpected death in 2021, David worked with staff at the School of Nursing to establish and endow two scholarships in Tom’s honor.

David loved fine cars. His first car out of college was a Jaguar sports model in which he breezed around Nashville. His last car was a more sedate Jaguar X350 that he pampered like a baby. He also enjoyed traveling the United States, especially to New York City, Washington DC, Sanibel Island, Florida and National Parks. He enjoyed many Mardi Gras vacations in New Orleans and visits to family in Arkansas. California, and Texas He was interested in fashion and was well-known for his love of bow-ties, stylish shoes, and hats. He gladly attended any party or celebration to which he was invited. He was strongly devoted to his family and to his upbringing. He leaves many friends and warm memories.

A memorial service, followed by a reception will be held on Saturday afternoon, May 13th at 2 pm at Greater Nashville Unitarian-Universalist Congregation at 374 Hicks Road in Bellevue. Per his request, family members will spread his cremains and those of his husband on family farmland in Arkansas.

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