This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.
Hugh P. Freyer played seven-card stud in the Bronx with a core group of fellow recovering alcoholics for more than 30 years. The discretion demanded by his day job as a private banker, combined with the self-discipline required by Alcoholics Anonymous, made him more prudent than most of those at the table.
“He always had a budget when he played, and he did not play beyond his means, ever,” his daughter, Carolyn Freyer-Jones, said.
His prudence, she recalled, extended beyond poker: “He had no debt, he paid off any credit cards he used every month, and all of his end-of-life details were paid in advance, by him.”
Mr. Freyer was admitted to a Bronx hospital on June 20 for blood pressure problems. He tested negative for the novel coronavirus, as he had a week earlier when he was examined by his own doctor.
But the day before he was scheduled to be released for rehabilitation, Ms. Freyer-Jones said, he tested positive. Nine days later, on July 14, he died at the hospital. It was his 86th birthday. She said the cause was complications of Covid-19.
Hugh Philip Freyer was born on July 14, 1934, in Manhattan, the son of Josephine (Shannon) Freyer, an Irish immigrant who worked as a cleaning person at New York Hospital (now NewYork-Presbyterian), and Hugh Freyer, a window washer who was born in South Africa.
Hugh was raised in the Washington Heights neighborhood and, after graduating from George Washington High School, served in the Army in Korea from 1957 to 1959 as a radio operator. He started working at what is now Citibank in 1959 and attended night classes at New York University, earning a bachelor’s degree in business in 1967.
He rose from branch manager to corporate vice president, then moved to the New York office of the London-based bank Standard Chartered, where he was a senior vice president until he retired in 2001 at 67.
As a member of Alcoholics Anonymous for more than 50 years, he counseled patients at Roosevelt Hospital (now Mount Sinai West) who had been admitted for drug and alcohol overdoses. He also served on A.A.’s board.
He married Gertrude Flexer in 1956. They lived in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. She survives him. In addition to their daughter, he is also survived by their sons, Philip and Paul Freyer; seven grandchildren; and his sister, Kathleen Harmon.
The prudence Mr. Freyer showed at the poker table paid off, his daughter said.
“My dad bought every grandchild their first car,” she said. “Nothing fancy, just good used cars. He made sure in his will that there’s money set aside for my daughter’s first car as well.”