Herman Freeman, 85, passed away on October 8, 2013 after a courageous 19 month battle with cancer. For the past 9 years, Herman's home has been Olive Branch, Mississippi. Prior to that time he spent the majority of his life in Jackson, Mississippi. For anyone who knew Herman, it's likely you used words like integrity, compassion, kindness, and patience to describe Herman's gentle spirit.
Herman is survived by his wife Mary Abigail Henley Freeman, daughter Deb Freeman West and her husband Garnett, daughter Ann Freeman Gilbert and her husband Louis, grandchildren Hunter Bryant Gilbert, Amanda Leigh Gilbert, Mary Abigail West, Garnett Bert West III and his wife Keri, Jason Blair West and his wife Erin, sister Etta Vera Seago and her husband D.G., and many nieces and nephews. Herman was preceded in death by his parents Clarence and Blanche Johnson Freeman, stepfather Louis Smith, paternal grandparents J.W. (Jack) and Ary Freeman, maternal grandparents George (Smiley) and Nettie Brown Johnson, in-laws John Bryant and Josephine (Jo) Haynes Henley, grandson Eric West, and numerous uncles, aunts, and cousins.
Herman was born December 28, 1927 in Pike County, Mississippi, to Clarence and Blanche Johnson Freeman. He was educated at Johnston Station, Jones Consolidated, and graduated from Fernwood High School. He attended Southwest Mississippi Community College and then obtained a Bachelor of Science as well as Master of Science in Entomology from Mississippi State University. After graduation Herman served his country in the United States Air Force and received an honorable discharge after 3 years of service.
Herman's priorities during his life were his faith, his family, and his occupation as a State Farm Insurance Agent. The importance of his faith in Jesus Christ was demonstrated by a lifelong involvement and commitment to his local church. While in Jackson, Herman served in many leadership capacities at Leavell Woods United Methodist Church. He chaired the Administrative Board, the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, the Finance Committee, the Council on Ministries, and was a certified Lay Speaker. He was also involved with the United Methodist Men's Club and taught an adult Sunday School class. In Olive Branch, Herman was an active member of Getwell Road United Methodist Church, serving as president of his Sunday School Class, membership on the Board of Trustees, Administrative Council, and the Men's Prayer Group.
It was no secret that after his faith, the most important thing in Herman's life was his family. He and Mary Gail enjoyed 58 wonderful years of marriage and were blessed with two daughters who were his pride and joy. That happiness extended throughout his entire life as "Grandy" treasured relationships with grandchildren, extended family, and close friends.
Herman began his professional career with Olin Corporation, selling and consulting with customers about agricultural chemicals. In 1956, he began a successful career as a State Farm Insurance Agent in Jackson, Mississippi. During his 47 year career, he qualified for almost every award available at State Farm. His most cherished honor was having been selected as a Lifetime Member of the President's Club which is awarded for outstanding, balanced production. It was a joy for him to serve his customers, most of whom considered him a friend.
Herman cared about his community as well. Most recently, he served on the Board of Directors of Wesley Meadows Retirement Community. He was a charter member of the South Jackson Rotary Club and was honored with the "Paul Harris Fellow" award. Herman was also instrumental in establishing the United Methodist South Jackson Cluster and chaired the group for many years.
The family would like to extend sincere appreciation for the care received from Dr. David Sullivan and the entire staff of the Southaven Family Cancer Center, Senior Care Services, and Unity Hospice.
A service celebrating Herman's life will be held at 12:00pm on Saturday, October 12 at Wright and Ferguson Funeral Home (1161 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, MS 39157). The family will receive friends from 10:00am until the time of the service. There will also be a service on Sunday, October 13 at 2:30pm at Getwell Road United Methodist Church (7875 Getwell Road, Southaven, MS 38672) with a time of fellowship with the family afterwards.
Services will be officiated by Bishop Clay Lee, Reverend Bill Beavers, Reverend Martin Case, and Reverend Henderson Rasberry. Pallbearers are Hunter Gilbert, Bert West, Jason West, John David Thomas, Matthew Thomas, Brian Jones, Will Jones, and Fowler Jones.
Memorials may be made to Getwell Road United Methodist Church (7875 Getwell Road, Southaven, MS 38672), Leavell Woods United Methodist Church (3302 Terry Road, Jackson, MS 39212), or Methodist Senior Services (Post Office Box 1567, Tupelo, MS 38802).