In memory of
On the evening of October 9, 2016, Donald Freeman (Don), age 96 passed away peacefully of natural causes. Don was born in New York City in 1920 as the first child and son of John Milton Friedmann and Helen Elizabeth Halsted. He went to school in New Rochelle, N.Y., where as a Boy Scout he achieved the Eagle Scout rank and Order of the Arrow. Don attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT until enlisting in the Army in 1943 and serving in Patton's Third Army in Europe during World War II. In 1946, Don was honorably discharged and returned home. To his surprise, he was greeted by Harriette Leonard Judd of Grand Rapids, MI. Don and Harriette fell in love and married six months later at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids. Don received his bachelor's degree and Phi Beta Kappa membership from Wesleyan. He and his new bride moved to Boston, where Don attended Harvard University. He graduated with distinction in 1948 having achieved his MBA degree. Harriette and Don returned to Grand Rapids where Don pursued a career in business and managed several small manufacturing companies. From 1956 to 1985 Don was president of AGM Industries, a public company and supplier to the automotive industry. He was a director of Union Bank & Trust (now Chase Bank) for 29 years, and also a director of a number of other local companies. Don was active in cultural and civic organizations in Grand Rapids. He served as vice president of the Grand Rapids Symphony, board member of Aquinas College and board chairman of Blodgett Memorial Hospital. He was a founding member of the French Society of West Michigan. Aquinas College honored Don with an award for his service to the college. Don was a long time member of Kent Country Club, The University Athletic Club and Kinnie Creek. Through many charitable gifts he supported St. Cecilia Music Center, Grand Rapids Ryerson Public Library, Fountain Street Church, Grand Rapids Symphony and Aquinas College. Don and his multi-talented wife Harriette were happily married for 50 years. They both loved music, art, and architecture. On a trip to the Greek islands they decided to have a modern version of a Greek island home built for them when they returned to Grand Rapids. "The Freeman House" at 2032 Lake Drive was designed by well-known architect, Gunnar Birkerts in 1966. The Freemans also had a residence in Boca Grande, FL. Harriette predeceased Don in May of 1996, a month short of their 50th wedding anniversary. In 2000 Don married Marlene Zelasko-Reuben. In his final years, Don transitioned from married life to a private apartment where he could walk the village of East Grand Rapids. He enjoyed the park, many passing dogs and the companionship of a neighbor, Nancy Kruer. Surviving in Don's family are Don's son Judd (Barbara) and their children Jennifer (Jeff Jenks and children Katie and Zoe), Kim (Fred Martin), son Mark (Linda and children Michelle (Geoff) and Robby). Don's brother Tom (Anna) lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His brother Bobby and sister Lynn pre-deceased him. Memorial services will be held at Mayflower Congregational Church on Saturday, October 29, 11 a.m. with a reception following at the church. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to the Grand Rapids Symphony Musician Fund, the Aquinas Scholarship Fund, or a charitable organization of the donor's choice.
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