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home : obituaries : obituaries
February 3, 2023

10/28/2022 12:06:00 PM
William "Bill" Freeman

William F. “Bill” Freeman, 77, died on Oct. 21, 2022, while in hospice care at the home of his son Steven Freeman in Lindstrom, Minn. Bill will be remembered fondly for his wit, his singing voice, his love of northern Minnesota and his ability to give everyone and everything a clever and affectionate nickname.

Bill was the only child of Theodore “Ted” Freeman of Whitesville, N.Y., and Marjorie “Peggy” Freeman, of St. Paul, Minn., who met and were married while both served in the U. S. Coast Guard/SPARs during World War II.

Bill was born on Oct. 6, 1945, in St. Paul where his family lived until moving to Chisago City in 1956. At Chisago City High School Bill was active in choir, band and athletics, competing in shot put, as a heavyweight wrestler and playing center on the football team.

Bill had an excellent singing voice. In high school, Bill and three other students, David Johnson, Steve Peterson and Paul Buchkosky, were recruited by their band director Jack Tingblad to form a barbershop quartet known as “The Adolescent Four.” The popular quartet performed in the community and with the Chisago Lakes Barbershop Chorus which Tingblad directed.

After graduation, Bill married Leilani Dahl at Zion Lutheran Church, Chisago City, in October 1963. They lived in St. Cloud, Minn. where Bill attended St. Cloud State College for one year before returning to Chisago City. Bill and Leilani had two children, daughter Susan and son Steven.
In 1965, Bill began employment with the Toni Company, which later became The Gillette Company, in St. Paul. Bill and family moved to Lindstrom in 1967.

Bill sang for 20 years in the Trinity Lutheran Church Senior Choir. He was a charter member and volunteer with the community’s first ambulance service, the Chisago Lakes Rescue Squad. He played an active role in the Chisago Lakes Jaycees and in the area’s first youth hockey association. Bill coached youth hockey, and for several years entertained youngsters as the community’s Santa Claus at Christmas.

A natural-born performer, Bill shared his talent as an actor and singer with the Masquers Theatre Company in Forest Lake. During the 1980s, he appeared in a half dozen plays and musicals, including “South Pacific,” “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” “The Man from LaMancha,” and others. In 1987, he played the leading role of the sheriff in Chimera Theatre Company’s production of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” in downtown St. Paul.
Bill and Leilani were divorced in 1991 but remained friends as they shared the lives of their children and grandchildren.

After retiring from the Gillette Company in 1996, Bill moved to Ash Lake near Orr, Minn. In Orr, Bill attended Calvary Lutheran Church where he joined the choir and sang many solos.

In 2004, Bill met his partner Patricia Hoover and with her participated in numerous community activities, especially at the Orr School where Pat was a teacher. He worked on fund-raising events, built sets for school plays, created decorations for school proms, and helped Pat chaperone proms and dances. An avid school sports fan, he could be found in the stands enthusiastically cheering on the Orr Braves and Northwoods Grizzlies football and volleyball teams.

Every deer hunting season found Bill in Babbitt, Minn., with his cousin Ron Rykken and friends Kevin, Rick, and Tony, whose wives and children also became “family” and were dear to his heart.

In his later retirement years, Bill spent summers in Orr and winters with his devoted partner Patricia at her home in Green Valley, Ariz. There he attended the Lutheran Church of the Risen Savior, again singing in the choir and as a soloist. He belonged to several cribbage clubs and took part in the annual Senior Games as a cribbage player.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents Ted and Peggy Freeman and cousins Fred Vette and Mayleann “Toots” Rykken. He is survived by his special friend Patricia Hoover, his son Steven (Tammy) Freeman, of Lindstrom, daughter Susan Freeman of Center City, grandchildren Anthony, Devan (Alyssa Wickenhauser), Teran Freeman, and Tristin (Cole) Hemme, of Lindstrom, Connor (Marly) Freeman of Wyoming, Minn., Samantha Duncan and Nick Duncan of Center City, and Rheanna Duncan of Brooklyn, N.Y.; great-grandchildren Alexander Buys of Center City, Tucker and Tanner Hemme of Lindstrom, Leia, Ella, and Lois Freeman of Wyoming, Minn., and many cousins.

A Celebration of Life for Bill will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Chisago Lake Township Hall, 12400 316th St., Lindstrom, MN. All who knew Bill are welcome. Condolences or questions to Steve Freeman: 31661 Mildred Ave. Lindstrom, MN 55045.

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