William H. Freeman, Jr.|
William Harry (Bill, Willy) Freeman, Jr., passed away February 11, 2013 at the age of 79 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, March 9 at 1:00 PM at Magnolia Presbyterian Church (3051 28th Avenue W, Seattle).
Bill was born in 1933 in Oregon City, Oregon. He met his wife, Evelyn, when they were both working summer jobs at a Smucker's strawberry plant to pay for college. They married in 1956 and spent the following decades supporting each other through graduate school (they earned four post-graduate degrees between them), parenthood, and demanding careers.
Bill was an educator, environmentalist, and Air Force officer. After earning a BA and MA from Willamette University, he taught at Oregon City High School, Seattle Pacific College, and Highline Community College. His passion for environmental preservation began during his days as an undersized Boy Scout carrying a large pack through the Oregon Cascades. He was an early director of the Washington Environmental Council, lobbying hard for passage of Washington State's 1971 Shoreline Management Act. He also led efforts by the Presbyterian Church in the Pacific Northwest to fight the root causes of hunger, including environmental degradation.
Bill combined his interests in environmentalism and military policy by studying military land use while earning his PhD from the University of Washington. Bill's field and archival research helped guide the creation of Discovery Park in Fort Lawton and of Warren G. Magnuson Park in Sand Point Naval Base. He unearthed long-lost blueprints for buildings at Forts Lawton, Worden, and Casey, which proved invaluable during building restoration.
Bill served stateside assignments in the Air Force during the Korean conflict and Vietnam War. After completing his doctorate, he returned to the active duty, serving in the Pentagon in personnel and land-use planning until he retired as a Colonel in 1986. He then served as a civilian employee of the Department of Defense. He and Evelyn retired to Port Townsend, near Fort Warden, site of many family vacations.
Bill loved to laugh and performed as a clown, beginning in high school, continuing through his years at the Pentagon (where he'd show up in white face and a hobo costume on floors where no one knew him), and in Port Townsend where he and Evelyn clowned in parades. Bill also loved music and sang bass in choirs and played the clarinet and banjo in bands. Bill is survived by his wife, Evelyn; his son, Dan Freeman; and his daughter, Kris Freeman.
Published in The Seattle Times on Mar. 3, 2013