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William J. Free


1933 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
March 18, 1933 - June 5, 2016



William J. Free died June 5 of complications of Parkinson's Disease. He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert Free and Kate Free of Athens. Dr. Free is survived by his son, David, of Chicago, and by his wife, Marya, of Athens.

Dr. Free was a faculty member in UGA's Department of English before his retirement; he was awarded a Beaver professorship for his excellence in teaching. He directed several plays for Town and Gown Theater, and he was particularly proud of the production of Edward Albee's Three Tall Women. After retirement from the English Department, he enjoyed teaching for the Theater Department and serving as a docent for the Georgia Museum of Art, until health considerations forced him to give up leading tours of GMOA exhibitions.

Bill was a life-long fan of UNC basketball; when the time for "brackets" rolled around, he was an enthusiastic participant in judging the abilities of teams to make it to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament. He was fond of saying that he was pulling for the Tar Heels and for any team which might defeat Duke.

In addition to his enjoyment of Tar Heels basketball, Bill was also a champion of Old English Sheepdogs, of which he had at least three (in succession) during his time in Athens.

Bill's family thanks Oconee Area Home Care in general and caregiver Michelle Curry in particular for the excellent care of Bill. Gentiva Hospice deserves gratitude as well.

The family wishes to thank local restaurateurs for their kindness to Bill in his last weeks of life. Of particular note are the Royal Peasant, Sultan, Big City Bread, and Agua Linda. Thanks to you and your staffs for your many kindnesses.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 27, at 11:00 a.m. at Lord and Stephens, East, on Lexington Road. Lunch at George's Lowcountry Table will follow. Private interment with his parents in Sugar Valley, Georgia, will take place on Sunday.

In lieu of flowers, you may make a contribution to the UNC Libraries in Bill's honor.

Lord & Stephens East is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com

1933 - 2016

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Published in Athens Banner-Herald on Aug. 19, 2016
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