SCV historian, member of longtime local family, dies at 94 

Tom Frew IV, middle, holding key, receives a recognition from the Santa Clarita City Council in 2003. Signal file photo
Tom Frew IV, middle, holding key, receives a recognition from the Santa Clarita City Council in 2003. Signal file photo

Thomas McNaughton Frew IV, a former local historian and member of a family with more than 100 years of history in the Santa Clarita Valley, died Jan. 12. He was 94. 

Frew’s family was long entwined with the SCV, according to the archives of The Signal and the SCV Historical Society that tell the story of his forefathers.  

Thomas M. Frew II stopped in Newhall in 1900 while moving his family from the Antelope Valley to Long Beach, and in the process, ended up striking a deal to open a blacksmith shop.  

The family would settle in the area for more than 100 years, and the metalwork evolved with the generations, according to Eric Frew, Frew IV’s youngest of two sons. 

By the time Thomas Frew IV took the helm, the family business involved machining and welding, the younger Frew said. Thomas Frew IV’s real interest and passion was in the area’s role in the entertainment industry, but it never really became a part of his professional life, according to Eric.  

But he still pursued his educational goals, according to a writeup on  

“Undaunted, Tom (Frew IV) got his bachelor of arts in cinema from a technical college in Hollywood, and in 1970 went to Europe to work on a film,” according to the post. “His mother was now gone; his brother was a school teacher, and Newhall had turned from a village into a burgeoning suburb. A blacksmith shop was no longer a community necessity, so in 1970 he closed it for all time.” 

Frew IV, also was involved in a number of local groups, including the city’s downtown Newhall Redevelopment Committee, served as grand marshal of the city’s July 4 parade, and received a key to the city for his local contributions in 2003. He’s also a past president of the SCV Historical Society, which now has the anvil his grandfather brought to Newhall in 1900. 

Frew was the fourth and last of his name to live in the SCV. Eric said his older brother, Tom Frew V, lived in West Los Angeles but died in 2019. 

“I think just how much how he identified with Newhall and the Santa Clarita Valley,” Eric Frew said Wednesday in a phone interview, in sharing what stands out to him about his father’s legacy. 

Tom Frew IV invested in a commercial nursery in Camarillo, where he moved after leaving the SCV. That’s where he was living when he died, Eric Frew said.  

He was preceded in death by son Thomas Frew V, according to his obituary, which also noted Thomas V’s widow (Liana) and grandsons Kevin and Garrett; his younger son, Eric (Heather Noelte) and grandson Daniel.  

A graveside service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Jan. 30 at Eternal Valley Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to be made to the SCV Historical Society. 

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