A recent tribute by former University of Findlay President DeBow Freed, Ph.D., to his wife was, in essence, a love letter.
It was relayed during the Catherine Freed Galleria dedication on Oct. 14 at the Mazza Museum. The museum wall, adorned with her name, now features gold-framed original works of children’s book art depicts gentle images of nature; the pieces will be rotated up to 12 times each year to highlight museum events and special themes.
Taking the podium, DeBow told of the small, intimate details and larger life events that have shaped and strengthened their relationship for more than six decades; last month the couple celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary. He spoke of two wealthy Texas suitors whom Catherine rejected to instead marry a soldier who made $150 per month, of her tiny waist that she maintained throughout the years, and of her keen intelligence. She never wears blue jeans, is an excellent student, and has an “unerring eye for beauty,” he explained.
Life for her was not always easy, DeBow acknowledged. While he served in the military, Catherine raised their son, DeBow Freed II. DeBow said he was in Iran when their son was born, in Korea when he went to elementary school, and in Vietnam when he went to college. The family moved 15 times for his military and higher education careers, he noted. Catherine took the changes in stride, teaching students in places where they lived; entertaining up to 2,000 people per year during their years in Ada, Ohio; and starting an annual rotation of art from the Mazza Museum for display in the Carrothers Home, The University of Findlay president’s home.
“She marches to her own drum. She is well read, but has never been convinced that there is a better novel than ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ She has always been interested in lower paid employees and worked to make sure that they were treated well. She worked quietly in the background but was not reticent about matters which she thought were not getting the attention they deserved,” Freed continued. “She has always been a full partner and has had a positive approach.”
Catherine “is highly knowledgeable about the arts. She loves beautiful things. She made our homes, yards and gardens into showplaces,” said Freed. “She is, I believe, a very, very remarkable and committed person.”
The galleria is located on the east wall near the gallery’s entrance, and serves as an introduction to the rest of the museum, which features other exhibits that focus on changing themes that range from Ohio scenes to unusual media.
The Mazza Museum is open Wednesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m., Sunday from 1-4 p.m., and at other times by appointment. More information on events, tours and more can be found at www.mazzamuseum.org.