Longtime Phenix City professor passes away

Dr. Cherie Fretwell, fourth from left in this photo from a 2016 honors convocation, died on Wednesday at her home in Auburn. (TROY photo)

Dr. Cherie Fretwell, fourth from left in this photo from a 2016 honors convocation, died on Wednesday at her home in Auburn. (TROY photo)

Troy University and the Phenix City Campus have lost one of their most ardent advocates.

Dr. Cherie Fretwell, Assistant Dean for Community Engagement of the Sorrell College of Business on the Phenix City Campus, died Wednesday, Oct. 10 at her home in Auburn.

“Cherie was loved and respected by her students, colleagues and staff. She was a fierce advocate of TROY and the Phenix City campus in her passionate mission of assisting our students to realize their dreams in their pursuit of higher education,” said Dr. Carmen Lewis, Associate Dean for Non-Traditional Programs in the Sorrell College who was hired and mentored by Fretwell.

“I am devastated to say the Sorrell College of Business has lost one of its brightest stars in the passing  of Dr. Cherie Fretwell,” she said. “Most of all, she was always a friend. No matter the situation, she continuously stood by me, supporting me in every endeavor. She was a genuine mentor in every way, but she was also like a mother to us all.”

Dr. Fretwell joined the Troy State University faculty in 1983 as an adjunct, and was named professor and department chair in 1986, a position she held until being named assistant dean in 2012.

Prior to her joining the University family, Dr. Fretwell was vocational office training coordinator for West Point High School (Ga.), a real estate broker and owner and an office manager for the Agricultural Research Consortium. She completed the doctorate degree in organizational behavior in 1989 at the University of Southern Mississippi, after having completed master’s and bachelor’s degrees at Auburn University in business education.

“She truly changed the lives of students and colleagues through her teaching, mentorship and friendship. I can’t think of anyone who embodied the Troy University ‘culture of caring’ more than Dr. Cherie Fretwell,” said Sorrell Dean Dr. Judson Edwards. “The Sorrell College  lost one of its best, but her impact on the people she touched will never be forgotten.”

From Lewis’ perspective, Fretwell’s determination played out on a personal level for all those around her – both fellow faculty members and students alike.

“She embodied the ideal design of a role model for us all, but especially for the young, female professional trying to find her way. I thank God I had the pleasure to know her and work for her.  She will be missed dearly. In the days to come, let us find comfort in the warm memories and the vibrant smile that come to mind when we think of our dear friend, ‘Fret’,” she said.

Services for Dr. Fretwell have been set for Sunday, Oct. 14 at Frederick Dean Funeral Home in Opelika. Visitation will be from 1:30 p.m. until 2:45 p.m., with services beginning at 3 p.m. The funeral home is located at 1801 Frederick Road.