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Paul Freshwater


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Paul Freshwater Obituary
Freshwater, Paul
Paul Ross Freshwater, of Eagle Harbor, Michigan and Avila Beach, California passed away on December 31st at Aspirus Hospital in Laurium, Michigan at age 76 after eight rich years with donated kidneys. He was born in Columbus, Ohio on August 16, 1941 to Fayne and Lillian (Ross) Freshwater. He grew up in the Clintonville neighborhood where he attended North High School. As a youth he enjoyed summers with his mother's family in Canada, activities at the Indianola Presbyterian Church, became an Eagle Scout at 14, won a city piano competition at 15, and enrolled nearby at The Ohio State University at 16. There he studied German, music and general subjects for one year, then Architecture for five years in the school from which his father graduated in 1930. His college activities included piano accompanist for the 300-voice University Chorus and the Naval ROTC Glee Club, editor-in-chief of The Ohio State Engineer magazine, president of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, campus improvements chairman of Ohio Staters, Inc., and several councils and honorary organizations. He earned his own tuition by working for Chemical Abstracts Service as a proofreader and for his father's architecture firm. At age 18 he met his beloved partner for the rest of his life, Robertine Ann "Bobbie" Nekervis, then a senior at University High School. Upon graduation in 1964, Paul married Bobbie and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps where he served for two years early in the Vietnam Era supervising construction contracts at the New York Naval Shipyard in Brooklyn. There he received a scholarship allowing two years of graduate study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School where he worked for computer systems pioneers Arnold Amstutz and Jay Forrester. Upon receiving his Master of Science in Management in 1968, Paul began a 29-year career with Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati that included executive positions in Advertising Brand Management, New Markets Analysis, and Government & Public Affairs. His professional activities included chairman of the Associate Members Group of the Southern States Energy Board in Atlanta, co-founder and vice chairman of the Southern States Waste Management Coalition in Atlanta, co-founder of the Ohio Issues Scanning Network for state officials in Akron, and treasurer of The Film House, Inc. in Cincinnati. Civic activities in Ohio included treasurer of the Ohio Alliance for the Environment in Columbus, president of Ohio Gamma Alumni Corp. of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity in Columbus, vice president of the Charter Committee of Greater Cincinnati (America's oldest municipal reform party, founded in 1924), chairman of the Kennedy Heights Community Council, co-founder of the Cincinnati Neighborhood Support Program Review Board, member of the Cincinnati Neighborhood Housing and Conservation Advisory Board, chairman of the High Adventure Exploring Cluster for Dan Beard Council of the Boy Scouts of America, chairman of Boy Scout Troop 6 and co-ed Sea Scout Ship 6 at Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church, district supervisor of 50 youth baseball teams for the Knothole Club of Greater Cincinnati, and advertising chair for the Cincinnati Nature Center. Family activities during these years included the birth of son Ross Foley Freshwater in 1972, family vacations in Upper Michigan's scenic Keweenaw Peninsula where Bobbie's ancestors immigrated as early as the 1840s to that region's copper mining boom, monthly campouts in all seasons and summer high adventure trips with the scouts, and Bobbie's weekly study nights for a wonderful group of high school friends with pizza and pool following. In 1997 Paul and Bobbie retired to their vacation cottage in Keweenaw's northernmost village of Eagle Harbor on Lake Superior where they later built a retirement home. There Paul became a trustee of the Keweenaw County Historical Society and since 2007 the editor of its award-winning Superior Signal quarterly magazine, a trustee of the neighboring Houghton County Historical Society, and a trustee of the two-county Keweenaw Community Foundation. Together Paul and Bobbie were sponsors of the Calumet Theatre, the Pine Mountain Music Festival, Historical Preservation endowments with the Keweenaw Community Foundation, and various wilderness conservation acquisitions in the Keweenaw. Soon after retiring, they also bought a winter home in Avila Beach, California near Bobbie's late parents. Paul's other affiliations at the time of his death included The Literary Club of Cincinnati (founded 1848), the Ohio Society of Colonial Wars and its Samuel Victor Constant Society, the Miscowaubik Club of Calumet (MI), Keweenaw Kernewek (Cornish Society), Fort Wilkins Historical Society, Copper Country Audubon Society, Gratiot Lake Conservancy, Northwoods Conservancy, San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum (CA), Buick Club of America, and Alumni Societies of The Ohio State University and MIT. Honors Paul received during and following his professional life included Who's Who in the World (1996), Who's Who in America (1995), Who's Who in the Midwest (1994), Who's Who in Finance and Industry (1994), Kennedy Heights Citizen of the Year (1977), Silver Beaver Award (1992) and William H. Spurgeon III Award (1997) from the National Boy Scout Council, the P&G Environmental Technology Council Award (1993), Keweenaw Community Foundation Bricks & Mortar Award (2010), and the Keweenaw County Historical Society Lauri W. Leskinen Memorial Award (2011). Paul is survived by his soulmate and wife of 54 years, Bobbie; son, Ross Foley Freshwater and his wif,e Melissa Leigh Gibson (both PhDs) of Milwaukee, their children, Anna Lorraine Freshwater and Rory Fayne Freshwater; niece, Erin DuMars Nekervis of New York City; nephew, Robert James Nekervis II of Columbus and his family; and several close cousins in Canada. A celebration of Paul's life will be held this summer in Eagle Harbor, Michigan. Donations in his memory may be made to the Keweenaw County Historical Society or a .
Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Jan. 7, 2018
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