Ernest Lee Frye was bron in Osceola, Iowa to Albert Ellihugh Frye and Anna Eliza Sharp Frye. The family of seven children moved west from Iowa in 1899 to Oregon, where Ernest's father found a job at a gold mine near Grants Pass. As a teenager, Ernest found a job in the lumber mills and was a member of the mill's baseball team. Ernest, along with his brothers Alonzo (Lon) and Jay, enlisted in the Army in 1917. Ernest was stationed at Kelly Field near San Antonio, Texas as part of the 75th Aero Squadron, which later became the 487th, and became part of the squadron's baseball team. The squadron was station in France during World War I, where planes were shipped in to be assembled, armed, tested, and flown out to other airfields. Frye left the service in June of 1919, he returned to Oregon and returned to working in the lumber mills but later found a job as a bookkeeper for Keizer Hospital.
In 1936 he married Alice V. Dick, a registered nurse, and adopted two children, a baby girl named Jane in 1937 and a baby boy named John in 1942. After World War I, Ernest was active in the community and served on the school baord and was elected mayor of North Bend, Oregon to two terms. He died in 1974 and was burried with his wife at Suset View Cemetery in Coos Bay, Oregon.