Harry D. “Abe” Freeman

February 12, 1931 ‒ February 16, 2010

Butler, Ohio

BUTLER ~ A good day to Harry Freeman found him driving his motor boat down the Muskingum River, racing family and friends. He’d put in at McConnellsville, have his sunglasses on, along with a big grin, and head down through all the locks to the Ohio River. Other days he’d boat around the Dillon Dam, enjoying a happy carefree day.

Described as caring, with a big heart, the man who “looked out for everybody” passed away Tuesday evening February 16, 2010 in Knox Community Hospital of Mount Vernon. He was 79.

Abe was nicknamed for his President’s Day birthday: February 12, 1931. He was born in Belmont to Harry J. and Ethel (Taylor) Freeman, and was graduated from Belmont High School.

He served with the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany during the Korean War, and though he attended The Ohio State University, Abe went to work with the railroads. He served as a dispatcher with the B&O Railroad, working mostly from their Butler depot, but often traveling the line to Mansfield station behind the steel mill, or south to Dover. He worked more than 40 years with the railroads, both the B&O and later Chessie Systems.

Stationed at the Butler depot, Abe met the young restaurant owner of the Clear Fork Inn. She knew the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach, and Billie Keesee’s packed lunches for Abe resulted in a marriage proposal. The two were married March 5, 1968 in Chicago.

Long before the Richland Mall became bricks and mortar, Abe operated Harry’s Pure Oil, a “76” filling station on the southwest corner of Fourth Street and Lexington-Springmill Road. Most all of his kids got a chance to work the pumps, and share in knowledge of running a family business.

Abe was an avid sports fan, notably of the Cleveland Browns, Indians and Cavaliers, as well as his alma mater’s Ohio State Buckeyes. He had amassed an impressive train collection, but will be better remembered for his loving personality, loving kids and being available.

He is survived by his wife Billie; sons and daughters-in-law Kevin & Ruth Freeman of Uniontown, Kurt & Lois Freeman of Bellville, Wayne & Pat Ousley, Russ & Lynn Ousley, and Danny Ousley all of Butler; a daughter Sharon Fulton of Butler; 14 grandchildren; nine great grandchildren including Courtney and Brooklyn Fulton and one on the way, sisters and brothers-in-law Nina Westmoreland of Corpus Christi, TX, Naomi & John Booth of Bethesda, and Judy & John Lonberger of Ft. Smith, AR; a brother and sister-in-law Larry & Mary Freeman of Columbus; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by brothers and sisters Paul Freeman, Ellen Freeman, Charles Freeman, Wright Freeman, Robert Freeman and Ruby Freeman.

The Freeman family will receive friends Friday, February 19, 2010 from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Bellville Snyder Funeral Home, and also on Saturday from 10 a.m. until time for his funeral service at 11 a.m. in the funeral home. Pastor Ken Kinley will officiate. Burial will follow in Mansfield Memorial Park, where American Legion Post #535 will hold graveside military honors.

Contributions in his memory to the Worthington Township-Butler Rescue Squad may be made at the funeral home.

Snyder Funeral Home is honored to serve the Freeman family, and condolences to them may be made at: www.snyderfuneralhomes.com