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Lieutenant Commander Stanley Howard Freeman


1928 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Lieutenant Commander Stanley Howard Freeman Obituary
Lieutenant Commander Stanley Howard Freeman

Stan was born March 31, 1928 and passed away April 5, 2018. He celebrated his 90th birthday in style on the banks of the Wild and Scenic Missouri River with family and a large slice of chocolate cake.

Stan was born in the Bronx to Mary and Jack Freeman. He was the youngest of three, Clyde and Herb being his older brothers. Stan reminisced often on his wonderful childhood 'roaming free' in their Bronx neighborhood with 1000 kids his age. Together they played stick ball in the streets, formed their own football and baseball leagues, and played many games in the park across from their apartment complex. Stan's father was a Truant Officer in the City, and Stan talked about his kindness and how he was more of a mentor to the youth than a disciplinarian. Stan worked as a Camp Counselor every summer throughout high school in Upstate NY. Maybe this is where his love of teaching began?

Stan went to undergraduate school in Buffalo NY. The draft for the Korean War had started, but Stan applied to be an officer in the Coast Guard which accepted him right before his draft notice. Stan spent two years on a weather ship in the Pacific Ocean. Their ship was based out of Seattle, and while they docked for 3 months at a time, Stan rented a house in Magnolia, right on the water. He continued to serve in the Coast Guard reserves for 20 years as a Lieutenant Commander.

Stan met his wife Helen at a shipmate's wedding. Helen's sorority sister, Lois, was the bride. Stan and Helen wed in 1957, and they had two sons, Doug and Harry. Stan and Helen built their home in Bellevue, where they raised their kids, and lived until Helen passed away in 2007. Stan began a career at Boeing as a Safety Engineer, and a few years into his job the family moved into West Chester, PA so Stan could complete his Master's in Industrial Safety. After returning to Bellevue Stan continued to work for Boeing until 1977, when he was offered a position at the University of Washington to develop an Industrial Safety Program. What began as a 1 year-leave of absence turned into a 20-year teaching career. Stan was passionate about teaching, wrote his own textbook, and his courses were popular and highly regarded. He enjoyed offering his students hands-on, experiential learning, and often took them on field trips to local industries. His university position developed into a secondary career serving as an expert witness on hundreds of safety-related law cases.

Throughout Stan's teaching career, Helen had started the International Snow Leopard Trust, and he became her biggest fan, fully supporting her endeavor. He accompanied her on many trips to Asia, including Russia, China, and India. Throughout their busy careers, they always found time for each other and their sons. Every year the family would venture into the woods of the Pacific Northwest, Montana, Alaska, and Canada on multi-day backpacking trips. Stan's love and devotion to Helen was without parallel. He was always by her side and when Helen become fatally ill from a nearly lifelong chronic disease, Stan never wavered in his commitment to her care, or stop exclaiming what a lucky man he was to have such a wife. When not hiking and hanging out with Helen, Stan could be found in his workshop where all manner of contraptions were built. Many involved elaborate electrical grids that could be mistaken for the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, or they were one-of-a-kind creations in the form of lamps, speakers, terrariums, and toys. As his sons grew they were recruited into the shop and the three of them built a bass boat that plied the waters of Sammamish lake for many years, until it sunk in the Puget Sound. He was never one for following directions, whether he was putting something together or driving across town. Innovation and backroads were his modus operandi.

After Helen passed away, Lois sent condolences to Stan, which helped them to reacquaint. This was fortuitous, as Stan and Lois became very close and developed a loving partnership that lasted over 8 years. Stan developed a close relationship with Lois's children and grandchildren, especially with Lois's daughter Julianne.

The legacy of Stan, cannot be complete without mentioning his passion for competitive bridge. He was well-known throughout the Seattle area, from Renton to Redmond. Stan was so happy when he found his bridge partner Eddie Horowitz.

Stan is preceded in death by his parents, brothers, and wife, Helen. He is survived by his son Doug and his children with Julie Freeman, Madison and Mallory; and his son Harry and his children with Grace Freeman, Elena, Harrison, and Willa.

Memorial services will be held East Shore Unitarian Unitarian Church, 12700 SE 32nd St., on Thursday, August 2 at 6:30pm, to be followed by a light meal.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to the Snow Leopard Trust or the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Published in The Seattle Times on July 22, 2018
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