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Orland E. Freeman Jr.


1924 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Orland E. Freeman Jr. Obituary
Freeman, Orland E. Jr.
Orland E. Freeman, Jr., a World War II veteran, Special Agent in the FBI, husband, and father, passed away in Phoenix on Wednesday, November 9, 2016. He was 92. Orland was born in Bisbee, Arizona, on March 22, 1924, to Orland Estmer Freeman, Sr., and Occa Jefferson (Cunningham) Freeman. He enjoyed a small-town American childhood; helping in his father's grocery store, participating in Bisbee's coaster races, hunting with his parents in the surrounding hills, and celebrating the 50th anniversary of Bisbee's founding. As a teenager, he worked as a mucker in the Copper Queen Mine. An essay he wrote his senior year at Bisbee High School about J. Edgar Hoover's Federal Bureau of Investigation shaped his remarkable future. When an FBI agent contacted the school to recruit clerical employees, Orland's essay was forwarded. He was soon working at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., on the disposition high-profile World War II-related investigations, including the splashy trial of German saboteurs who were plotting the bombings of eastern cities. Orland left the Bureau to enlist in the Army in February 1943. He trained in the California-Arizona Maneuver Area and Texas before being shipped to Buna, New Guinea. Because of his FBI credential, he was plucked from a formation to serve as a chief clerk of supplies in the General Headquarters, United States Army Forces Pacific, of General Douglas MacArthur. After the war, Orland attended Arizona State College where he met the love of his life, Jo Ann Day. They married at the home of a justice of the peace in Florence, Arizona, on September 22, 1946. The marriage was secret because Jo Ann would have been expelled from her all-female dormitory if known to be married. A church wedding occurred on December 20, 1946, in Phoenix. The couple did not reveal the earlier ceremony for many years. Orland and Jo Ann started their family while Orland finished college at The University of Arizona. After graduating, he was accepted into the FBI as a Special Agent, launching a career that involved professional intrigue and numerous family moves. Orland investigated the treachery of American communists and their sympathizers, pursued Mann Act violators, tailed Soviet spies, conducted a Warren Commission-related interview, and bird-dogged mobsters. In the memorable "Tootsie Roll Caper," Orland's act of offering candy to the children of a suspect diffused violence and ultimately led to capture. The Bureau demanded discipline, but Director Hoover was committed to his agents and their families. After relocating his growing family to Montebello, Colma, South San Francisco, Stockton, San Bruno, Oklahoma City, Ardmore, and back to Oklahoma City; Hoover ordered that Special Agent Freeman be transferred to his office of choice for the remainder of his career. He opted for Phoenix, where he worked until his 1974 retirement after 25 years of service. Orland taught at the Phoenix Police Academy, Northern Arizona University, and Phoenix College. He also served as a law enforcement consultant for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and as a Special Agent for the Arizona Narcotics Strike Force. Later, Orland worked on his World War II memoirs and wrote a novel based on one of his investigations. During this time, Jo Ann built a career as a banker. The couple enjoyed traveling, their home in Paradise Valley, and the fellowship of their church. Before Jo Ann's passing in 2009, Orland was her devoted caregiver. Orland is survived by four children Constance Elaine Iannella, Sheri Candus Holton (Will), John Douglas Freeman (Lisa), and Scott Day Freeman (Laura); grandchildren Richard Chayne Iannella (Laura), Tracey Ann Van Wickler (James), Jeffrey Dean Freeman (Lauren), Hunter Fredrick Freeman, Taylor Day Freeman, Piper Joy Freeman, Abigail Day Freeman, Emma Stephen Freeman, Eli Callam Freeman, and Ryan Andrew Freeman; and four great grandchildren. Burial will be with military honors at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 15th, at Hansen Desert Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary in Scottsdale. A memorial service will follow at 3:00 p.m. at Valley Presbyterian Church in Paradise Valley with a reception at Rita's Kitchen at the Camelback Inn. Donations may be made in memory of Orland to BASIS Phoenix Central, 201 East Indianola Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85012. Three of Orland's youngest grandchildren attend school there. Because life comes full circle, the campus is the former home of the FBI's Phoenix field office. For condolences visit www.obits.azcentral.com and www.hansenmortuary.com.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Nov. 13, 2016
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