James William Freeman, age 68, died from a heart attack on Saturday, March 14, 2009 at Cape Canaveral waiting for the shuttle launch. He had been diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer Thanksgiving, but had successful surgery in mid December. He died before any true battle with cancer – and was still very active. In fact, only 75 days after major pancreatic surgery at the Mayo Clinic, he went skiing at Beaver Creek. At his post surgery check-up he had asked Dr. Kaye Reid Lombardo, his Mayo Clinic surgeon, when he could play golf. She looked at him puzzled and when asked if he actually felt good enough to play golf, he said almost – and with a smile she said as soon as he felt good enough.
His bucket list, as Phil described it, was more like a 25 gallon galvanized tub. And he had good friends that helped him check each item off. Good friends indeed… lifelong friends. He was a good, caring man who would help out someone in need, no matter the cost. The impact on his friends and family of his passing is testament to their love for him.
He died before that launch… but he had a much better view than we earthbound viewers. And that launch was magnitudes more beautiful and representative of his zest for life.
One of his many passions was their summer home on Flint Creek in northeast Oklahoma. He was a hard worker, constantly improving life at Flint – while enjoying every minute of it.
He also loved sports and managed to find himself in Augusta at the Masters when Tiger won, the Rose Bowl when Texas won the national championship, Indy 500s, Busch Stadium front row on the dugout for game 5 when the Cardinals won the World Series, and this year’s Super Bowl.
Equally enjoyable was his love for music – of which you have all had the unique pleasure to experience today. He loved the local music scene and has, on occasion been know to throw Bo Diddley a birthday party – only later to find out Bo would have come had he known!!!
He is survived by his wife, Becky, daughter Susan Freeman of Seabrook, Texas, niece/daughter Nacha Guzman and her husband Roy Guzman of Denton, Texas, and sister Barbara Milligan of Ft. Myers, Florida. Bill resided in McKinney, Texas. He met his wife while receiving his BS from Tulsa University and was on the golf team. He worked for Exco Resources in Dallas and Tulsa.
His funeral will take place in Siloam Springs, Arkansas at a later date. The family requests, instead of flowers, donations be made in his memory to the Mayo Clinic for pancreatic cancer surgical research.
Part 1: Someone Wrote Something
3 years ago