Obituary of Sandra Frisoli
Sandra Gjerde Frisoli, aged 73, passed away on October 27, 2021, in New York City. With stoic courage she fought a decades-long battle with cancer.
Born December 6, 1947 in Plainfield, NJ, she was the daughter of the late Myhren I. Gjerde and Marie P. Van Veggelen. Growing up in West Caldwell, New Jersey, she spent her youth climbing trees, catching snakes, and fishing. A part of her always remained a child of the woods.
She was famous among the neighborhood kids for her soap-box derby car, self-built and painted pink. Her creativity was inborn and enduring, in many ways defining her life. Her industriousness and fun-loving spirit were likewise reflected in the purchase of her first car, a 1963 Triumph TR3 convertible, bought and paid for with money earned at Grunings Ice Cream parlor.
After graduating from James Caldwell High School in 1966, Sandra attended Berkeley Secretary School in East Orange. Her first job was secretary to the VP of Sales at Titanium Metals, followed by Assistant to the President of Litton Industries, a job she truly loved. A sales position took her around the country before finding great success as a licensed real-estate broker. Sandra’s easy combination of conviviality and sharp intelligence made her a natural fit for these positions, her gifts for creative problem-solving and nurturing relationships obvious to all.
Equal parts city and country girl, Sandra’s love of nature took her home to Hunterdon County, NJ in 1979, where she married her husband, John D. Frisoli, Jr. in 1980. The two went on to undertake many projects together, including the restoration of Dogwood Farm, a seven-acre farmstead on Lower Kingstown Road in Franklin Township. Subsequent projects included the purchase and restoration of a 107-acre estate along the South Branch of the Raritan River, partially subdivided by Sandra into 5 tracts of land to develop the impressive neighborhood of Coach ‘N Four.
John and Sandra lived together on Riverview Farm until John’s passing in 2015. It was their pride and joy, a great labor of love approached by both with pure devotion. Adam, their only child, was born in 1983 to run free over 75 acres of rolling fields and old-growth forest, among animals both wild and domestic. Sandra’s bountiful gardens produced vegetables sold alongside legendary farm-fresh eggs from a roadside stand. Neighbors and strangers alike were trusted with the honor system, which they never betrayed.
Working her garden on a summer day was Sandra’s greatest pleasure. In fact, she likened it to a religious experience. She loved kneeling in the sun with her hands in the dirt, listening to old radio dramas with the sound of birdsong in the background. A voracious reader, her spacious home was filled to bursting with books, from pulpy page-turners to rare first-editions. Her thirst for knowledge could never be quenched, but she was far too down to earth for navel-gazing, wasting not a single moment in advertising her self-education.
Sandra’s spirit for volunteerism led her to the Hunterdon County Board of Social Services for 10 years and the Franklin Township Board of Adjustment for 13 years. She also served as president of the Hunterdon Hills Garden Club and devoted many hours to the Delbarton Mothers’ Guild. She thoroughly enjoyed the responsibility of these positions and became well-known for her reasonableness, intelligence, and poise. Sandra’s giving nature readily included her friends and family, and she was always willing to lend a helping hand, offer advice, or provide financial support. Sandra’s hospitable and loving spirit mean that her earliest friends from childhood remain so to this day.
She is survived by her son, Adam Frisoli and his wife, Justine, and grandson, Kai, of Longboat Key, FL; sister-in-law Diane and stepdaughter Pamela Frisoli of Franklin Township, NJ, and step-granddaughter Charlotte. She is preceded in death by her husband of thirty-five years, John, stepson John III and her sister Patricia Martinsen of Ridgefield, CT.
Gathering of family and friends will be held on Friday, November 5 from 3:00 - 5:00pm and 7:00 – 9:00pm at Martin Funeral Home, 1761 Route 31, Clinton, NJ 08809.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be in Sandra’s name through IN MEMORY OF for the Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center or Tabby’s Place Cat Sanctuary in Ringoes, NJ, Please Click Here to Donate