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Nettie S. Freedlund(1935 - 2013)

Freedlund, Nettie S.

Nettie S. Freedlund, 77, Pittsville, died peacefully with family by her side on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at Ministry St. Joseph's Hospital, Marshfield.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at Buchanan / Rembs Funeral Home, Pittsville. Burial will take place in Sherwood Cemetery, Town of Sherwood, Clark County. The visitation will be held on Friday from 4:00 pm until 8:00 pm and on Saturday from 10:00 am until service time at Buchanan / Rembs Funeral Home.

Nettie was born on December 10, 1935, the first of 9 children to William Arvil and Lydia Helena (Moeller) Schafer, in Bunker, Dent County, Missouri. She was a graduate of Pittsville High School where she was co-valedictorian. She also attended Wood County Normal School in Wisconsin Rapids. She was employed as a keypunch operator for Woodward Governor in Rockford, IL. She married Harold A. Freedlund on October 28, 1956 on the family farm in the Town of Sherwood. He died on March 9, 1995. Nettie and her husband farmed in the Town of Sherwood their entire lives. She also worked as a certified nursing assistant at Bethel Center in Arpin and at Family Heritage Nursing Home in Wisconsin Rapids and had provided home health care.

She was a member of Nature Conservancy, and CNRA, where she received the Silver Acorn Award for outstanding effort in conservation, the American Legion Auxiliary, and was a supporter of Wisconsin Public Radio. She taught swimming for Special Olympics and enjoyed knitting, reading, nature, bird watching, blueberries, baseball and was a Cubs and Brewers fan. She loved her grandchildren with a passion.

Nettie was a woman of great strength, courage, integrity, and conviction. She boldly stood up against intolerance, injustice, and prejudice. While she lived most of her life poor, she was rich in spirit. With limited means, she either volunteered or gave generously to organizations and causes close to her heart. She held a reverence for nature and was a pioneer in the environmental movement. When the family farm was inadvertently sprayed with the chemical herbicide, 2,4,5-T, used in Agent Orange, her family suffered long term health effects and financial burdens. Nettie and Harold tirelessly contacted medical, environmental, and government officials to help bring awareness about the harmful effects of Agent Orange (2,4-D and 2,4,5-T) and other herbicides/pesticides on our health and environment. Nettie lobbied and testified at legislative hearings on a measure to ban 2,4,5-T in the state of Wisconsin. When the legislation was passed and signed by Governor Tony Earl in 1983, Nettie and Harold proudly attended the ceremony.

Nettie is survived by 6 children, Helena (Richard) Freedlund Clark of Tuscon, AZ, John (Gail) Freedlund of Nampa, Idaho, Sarah Freedlund of Pittsville, Esther (David) Becker of Wisconsin Rapids, Mary Freedlund Totzke and Ruth (Bill) Buettner, all of Pittsville. She is also survived by 11 grandchildren, Meghan (Jason) Zarndt, Reginald Freedlund, Paul Totzke, Katherine Freedlund, Casey Freedlund, Jesse Becker, Rebekah Becker, Rachael Totzke, Leah Becker, Benjamin Buettner and Faith Buettner. She is further survived by 3 brothers and 3 sisters, Calvin (Thelma) Schafer of Machesney Park, IL, Wayne (Barb) Schafer of Athens, IL, Neda (Mel) Johnson of Loves Park, IL, Paula Schafer of Pittsville, Helen (Alan) Mernack of Rockford, IL, and Ralph (Dawn) Schafer of Spencer, and sisters-in-law, Janice Schafer of Roscoe, IL and Marilyn Freedlund of Loves Park, IL, brothers-in-law, Donald (MaryLea) Freedlund of Rockford, IL and Rodney (Carolyn) Freedlund of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and a special friend, JoAnn Dieringer.

She was predeceased by her parents, her husband Harold Allen Freedlund, a brother, Lawrence Schafer, a sister, Alice Schafer, a brother-in-law, Morris Freedlund and a sister-in-law, Ellen Eberhardt.

The family wishes to express their sincere gratitude to the physicians and staff at the Marshfield Clinic, and Ministry St. Joseph's Hospital for their kindness and care and a special thank you to the IR, the 8N Infusion Center, 4N and Palliative care staff.

Condolences may be sent online to www.rembsfh.com

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Published in the Marshfield News Herald on June 27, 2013
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