Catherine Moore Freed passed away in her home in Ada, Ohio on November 25, 2016.
She was the daughter of a prominent Army physician and grew up at their stations in Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Panama, and Hawaii.
She held Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees from the University of Texas, Master of Arts from the University of Kansas, and Doctor of Fine Arts (honorary) from Ohio Northern University. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Mortar Board.
She married DeBow Freed, a West Point graduate. After several years of meaningful military service in the US and abroad, the Freeds chose to go into private church related higher education in keeping with their commitment to long time public service. That led to her husband’s deanship of Mount Union College for five years, and presidencies of Monmouth College in Illinois for 5 years, Ohio Northern University for 20 years, and the University of Findlay for 7 years, for a total of 32 years as president. She was a full partner with her husband in their higher education service, contributed greatly to the success of the institutions they served, and was very active in campus and community affairs wherever they lived.
She taught at the Universities of Kansas and New Mexico, and at colleges near other locations where the Freeds lived. She was a lay pastor in the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches, and was an elder and elected head of the largest Presbytery in the country at the time. She regularly conducted worship services and taught Bible study classes.
The institutions she and her husband served benefitted from her taste, dedication, and hard work. The dedication plaque of the Freed Performing Arts Center at Ohio Northern University states that she, “a former faculty member and church leader brought exceptional abilities and grace to many areas of University and community life. Her quiet confidence, hard work, Christian concern and kindness, and encouragement of cooperative endeavors helped to bring faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends together to move the institution forward in remarkable ways.” She was strongly committed to the institutions the Freeds served, and was always active with students and student organizations.
She was highly knowledgeable about the arts, loved beautiful things, and had collected them since childhood. She used her collection of attractive items to completely furnish their quarters at West Point, the dean’s home at Mount Union, and the president’s homes at Monmouth and Ohio Northern. She made the homes, yards, and gardens into showplaces.
At Findlay from 2003 to 2010, she met with, encouraged, and entertained community reading groups, town and campus club, numerous campus and community organizations, and helped to beautify the campus.
She was strongly service oriented. Her friendly manner, elegant presence, and frequent direct contact with students and faculty had highly beneficial impact on the campus atmosphere, and made lasting impressions on students, parents, and visitors. The total of her activities was that she was seen as a person who was for the good features of the institution, good features of the faculty and staff, and good features of the student body.
She led a rewarding life of service to others and set a fine example in that regard. The Performing Arts Center at Ohio Northern University is named for her, as is the annual outstanding senior female student leadership and service award at Ohio Northern University, the Catherine Freed Mortar Board Chapter at the University of Findlay and the Freed Contemporary Christian Lecture Series of the University of Findlay and Winebrenner Theological Seminary.
One of Findlay’s most admired and distinguished citizens noted that Kitty Freed “brought grace, style, and commitment in abundance to the University and the community and both have benefitted greatly from her service in Findlay”.
She is prominently included in the room which is dedicated to the Freeds at West Point and in the book West Point Leadership, Profiles of Courage, which profiles 180 West Point graduates since its founding who are characterized as having helped to shape our world. The text notes the key roll and unique contributions she made in the Freeds’ lifetime of service to the nation.
Her son, Dr. DeBow Freed II, died in 2014 from the effects of cancer. Her mother, Henrietta Banker Moore died in 1952 and her father Prentice Moore in 1985.
She is survived by her husband, DeBow Freed, in Ada, and her sister, Elizabeth Ross who lives in Lake Lure, North Carolina.
A memorial service will be held for her in the Chapel at Ohio Northern University at 11 a.m., December 17, 2016, with a display of mementos in the Chapel lobby beforehand and a video of events in her life at 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 10:40 a.m.
A fifteen minute video on her life will be shown at 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m., and 5:30 p.m., December 15, in the Chapel of College First Church of God, 1100 North Main Street, Findlay. DeBow Freed will be present.
A memorial service for her will also be held later in the Old Cadet Chapel at West Point, NY prior to burial in the West Point National Cemetery.
She was 90 years old at the time of her death.
The family suggests no flowers or memorial contributions. Condolences or other messages can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to him at 205 West Lima Avenue, Ada, Ohio 45810.