ROY EUGENE FREEMAN
On Friday, April 13, 2012, Roy (Gene) Freeman slipped softly from the warm embrace of Jackie’s arms onto the wings of an angel to be carried into God’s presence. He was surrounded by his family who faithfully cared for and supported him in his long and courageous challenge with Stage IV Glioblastoma brain cancer. To call it a challenge is pale compared to the celebrations and victories won during the last 7 1/2 years of his life since diagnosis. He often said, “I am living with cancer, not dying from it.” And that he did! Roy not only survived, he thrived. A reverence and love of God were a strong part of Roy’s existence.
Roy was born April 2, 1947, in Asheville North Carolina, the son of Roy and Eula (Smith) Freeman. In addition to his wife Jackie, their sons; Jason (Sandy) daughter Jane; Joseph (Carla) daughter Abyona, and Jonathan (Cari); other survivors include Roy’s parents and brother Jerry (Cathy), their children Jarrod, Jennifer (Tim) Janiszewski, their sons Ethan and Dylan. Also, Buddy, the family’s faithful dog, is missing his master.
Roy’s thirst and quest for knowledge led him in many directions. He graduated from Melvindale High School and completed his journeyman certification at Henry Ford Community College as a Machine Repairman. Roy utilized this degree while he worked at Ford Motor Company for 391/2 years. While working there he continued his education by achieving a Bachelor’s Degree from Baker College. To add to his “mental tool cabinet,” Roy became a licensed pilot, owning a 1965 Piper Cherokee. He inspired his doctors, nurses and co-workers. His love for history, particularly U.S. Presidential History, led Roy, Jackie and their family to many parts of the world to see and learn first-hand.
He entered the US Army, Infantry, in 1968 and served in Korea at the DMZ. He was a very skilled ‘car geek’ building and racing his 1957 Chevy. However, his love for that car was replaced with the new love of his life, Jackie Price, daughter of Perry and Joy (Thomas) Price. Roy was always grateful to them for allowing him to love their daughter. Jackie became his wife on August 21, 1971. They traded their city life for a country life in the home they established on a 60 acre farm in Onsted. There were many crops grown, animals raised, but their proudest accomplishments were their three sons. The dictionary in the dining room continues to remind all of us of his DTU, “Dinner Table University” lessons.
The little ladies of Roy’s life were his granddaughters. His world brightened anytime they called out his name “Gampi.” The love and laughter they shared with their ‘Gampi’ are treasured memories — a priceless gift!
Because of Roy’s commitment to learning a scholarship in his honor will be established through the Lenawee County Education Foundation.
The family cannot adequately express its appreciation to Hospice of Lenawee and its wonderful staff for their compassion, care and professionalism as they assisted him and his family during the last 16 months of his life. To support their endeavors, contributions in Roy’s memory can be made to Hospice of Lenawee.
In keeping with Roy’s wishes, cremation has taken place and a full military burial will be held at Fort Custer National Cemetery, in Augusta Mich., at a date to be determined. A celebration of his life will be held Sunday, April 22, 2012 at Wagley Funeral Home, 1501 West Maumee, in Adrian, with Pastor Fritz Kruse and Rev. Gail Blum officiating. The family will welcome friends on that Sunday from 2 p.m. until the time of the service at 3 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Roy E. Freeman Memorial Scholarship Fund or Hospice of Lenawee. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.WagleyFuneralHome.com.
All of the cards, visits, food, words of encouragement and prayers during Roy’s journey with his cancer challenge are gratefully acknowledged by Jackie and family.