Obituary of Russell Freeman

Russell James FREEMAN

Russell James Freeman died peacefully at Kingston Health Sciences Complex (KHSC) on Thursday, March 28, 2024, with Lynn, his wife of 50 years, and daughter, Angela, by his side. They were the lights of his life.

Family always came first for Russ and he will be lovingly remembered and sorrowfully missed by all of his families. Born in Hamilton in 1944 to Alfred James and Sarah “Ethel” Freeman, he was older brother to Ross (Kelli) and twin sisters, Judy (Nick) and Jan (Tom) and uncle to Christopher (Jane), Paul (Miranda), Brittany (Josh), Kendall (Luke), Connor (Logan) and Kiara. He was predeceased by nephew Brendan.

A proud graduate of Hill Park Secondary School and McMaster University (B.A. History/English, 1966, B.P.E., 1968), Russ moved to Kingston to continue his education at Queen’s University in 1973. Soon after, he married Lynn (nee McCallum) and was warmly embraced by her mother, Shirley, and younger siblings, Gail, Susan (Lonnie), Cindy and Dale and by their children, Karim, Jamie, Jennifer (Joshua), Zachary (Andrea) and Emily.

Russ also opened his heart to “chosen” family members, Margaret Berry (Annika), Valarie (Michael) and Greer Simmons, and their children, Spencer, James, Alexandra and Lynette and special friends, Peter and Jane Barry. He maintained a 65-year friendship with boyhood friend, Winson Morrison (Annie).

A teacher by temperament and training, Russ applied his skills formally in the classroom and informally as a community volunteer, athletics coach, and mentor to many. They also served him well in his favourite role as Angela’s full-time Dad.

Russ was passionate about sports as player, coach and fan. He played softball into his ‘70s, coached youth sports teams and demonstrated an encyclopedic knowledge of most professional sports. He was an avid reader of newspapers and books, especially history, politics, sports and spy novels as well as poetry.

“You can’t win them all,” was a frequent youthful quip. In his final struggle with an unrelenting illness, Russ was still Russ. He maintained his interest in others, amused visitors with one-liners and amazed them with his recall of sports and other trivia. His smile could still melt hearts.

To the end, he was expressly grateful for his families, friends and the care staff on Davies 5 (KHSC) for their loving attention. Angela and Lynn share his appreciation for the hospital staff who provided Russ with a safe “home” and sense of community during the last three months of his life. He “loved you guys.”

A celebration of Russ’s life will take place at the James Reid Funeral Home on Saturday 13 April at 1:30pm, preceded by a visitation at the same location, beginning at 12:30pm. A private burial will take place at a later date. In his memory, you are invited to make a donation to Sydenham Street United Church, Kingston Kids First or a charity of your choice.

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