Emma Freeland passed away Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, in Spokane Valley, Wash., with her son and daughter at her side. She was 93 years young. Emma was born March 13, 1919, in Granite, Idaho, one of 12 children born to Dean and Estella Rooks.
The Rooks family moved to Spirit Lake, Idaho, where Emma later graduated from Spirit Lake High School in 1936, and then left home to attend college in Lewiston, Idaho.
After college she moved to Portland, Ore., to begin her teaching career and taught until World War II began. During the war, Emma became a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, pounding out the miles every day delivering the mail. It's in Portland that she met her future husband, Gilbert Freeland.
Gil and Emma moved to Fairbanks in 1951, where Emma went to work teaching for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. She began teaching at Main then went on to teach at Hunter School for several years before moving to Nordale Elementary in Hamilton Acres where she taught the third and fourth grades. In 1976, Emma retired from teaching full time and moved to Vancouver, Wash., where she returned to teaching as a substitute until she was 76 years old.
Emma was a loving, nurturing teacher who never forgot her students. There were many students through the years who she continued to reminisce about and could do so like it was yesterday. Emma will be remembered by many students for reading the "Little House on the Prairie" series to her class every day.
One of Emma's greatest personal achievements was graduating from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with her bachelor's degree in 1964. She managed to accomplish this while husband Gil was working out of town and she had the responsibility of raising her two oldest children, Gilbert and Teresa. At the same time, she was waiting for the birth of her youngest son, Robert.
Emma was preceded in death by her husband, Gilbert; son, Robert; grandson, Chad, and son-in-law, Michael Campbell.
She is survived by her son, Gilbert, and wife, Gloria; daughter, Teresa; brother, Robert (Jackie) Rooks, and sister, Helen Pillar; grandsons, Aaron (Jennifer) Campbell and Jake and Ryan Freeland; granddaughters, Christina Skinner, Jessica Ahrens, and Risha (Pete) Meniers; great-grandchildren, Mia, Jessica, Michael and Cali Skinner, Victoria, Chad and Emma Campbell, and Archer Ahrens, and numerous cousins, nephews and nieces.
Also, so very close to her heart was her daughter-in-law, Sharon Freeland, her late son Robert's wife; sister-in-law, Zora Freeland; niece, Marlys Freeland; and last but not least, her very close friends, Fred and Vi Waggoner and family.
Emma's family will dearly miss their beloved mother and grandmother. She was the sparkle in our eyes and the polish that made things shine. She was our family's heroine.
Emma will be laid to rest at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, at Skyline Memorial Gardens, 4101 NW Skyline Blvd., Portland, Ore.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: Wounded Warriors Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, Kan. 66675-8516.