Walter E. Freeman

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Walter E. Freeman January 27, 1925 October 17, 2013 Walter E. Freeman, of State College, died peaceably Thursday evening, Oct. 17, 2013, at Mount Nittany Medical Center. He was born on Jan. 27, 1925, in Chicago, Ill., the son of the late Gaylord and Louise Cox Freeman. A Midwesterner by birth, and in his heart, Walt grew up in the Oak Park suburb of Chicago. Following WWII service in the Army Air Force as a radio operator, which included a number of combat missions on a B-24 plane over Germany, he received his B.S. degree from Northern Illinois State University. His masters and doctorate in sociology and anthropology were granted by Michigan State University. After serving as assistant professor of sociology at Mississippi State University, he joined the Michigan State faculty in 1955 and later served as chief of research for MSU's Institute for Community Development. He came to Penn State's College of Human Development in 1968 as professor of human development and director of the Division of Community Development. He retired in 1989 with emeritus status. As a sociologist, Walt's research focused on the dynamics of community development. He served for four years as director of the Hispanic Leadership Development project in Reading. In that role, he was a consultant to the Advisory Board of the Spanish Speaking Council of Reading, and to the Centro Hispano, of Reading. He was a Ford Foundation adviser and project head, Academy for Rural and Village Development in Pakistan for two years; visiting professor at the University of Puerto Rico, in Mayaguez and an adviser to the Pan American Health Organization. He was an adviser and lecturer in the Division of Social Science, at Kolej Damansara Utama in Malaysia. He also served on a number of advisory committees, including the Pennsylvania State Advisory Committee for the Department of Community Affairs and the State Advisory Committee in Law Education. He also was a USIA adviser and consultant to the Universidad de Monterrey in Mexico. Through the United Nations, he served the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Mission to Kenya. In retirement, he and his wife of 31 years, Shirley enjoyed spending time in the Cayman Islands. A longtime, devoted Penn State football fan, he also was a member of the American Legion Post 245, of State College. He was preceded in death by his younger brother, Louis, and his first wife, Jane Freeman-King. Surviving are Shirley; his daughter, Jan Knisley, of Bellefonte; his sons, Peter, of New Cumberland, and Paul and wife, Karen, of Fredrick, Md.; Walt's stepsons, Troy Raker, and his wife, Dianna, of Mooresville, N.C., and Walter Raker and his wife, Sara, of Portland, Ore. Also, surviving are nine grandchildren, Adam and Keaton Freeman, Katharine (Knisley) Haire and Hannah Knisley, Melanie (Freeman) Lucas, Eric and Elizabeth Freeman, and Carl and Maggie Raker. There are five great-grandchildren. And, as they say on the Island, a host of family and friends will miss Walter in their lives. A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, Nov.10, in the Fireside Room of the Nittany Lion Inn at 2:30 p.m. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Mark D. Heintzelman Funeral and Cremation Services, 1034 Benner Pike, State College. Online condolences can be shared at

Funeral Home
Mark D. Heintzelman Funeral and Cremation Services P. C. - State College
1034 Benner Pike  State College, PA 16801
814 234 0332
Funeral Home Details
Published in Centre Daily Times on Oct. 22, 2013
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