Nelson Freeman

Nelson Anthony Freeman

June 20, 1939 - January 1, 2020
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Nelson Anthony Freeman departed this life on January 1, 2020 after an extended illness. He was born June 20, 1939 in Ann Arbor, MI at the University of Michigan Hospital to Louis Anthony Freeman and Leonia Mae (Francois) Freeman, who preceded him in death. His brother Kyle Freeman also preceded him in death. Nelson grew up in Ypsilanti where he attended the Ypsilanti schools. After graduation from Ypsilanti High School, he enlisted in the Navy. Upon completing his service in the Navy where he trained as a Dental Technician, he returned to Ypsilanti and enrolled in Cleary College while working for the Ford Motor Company. With a desire to continue his education in Dental Technology, he then enrolled at the Elkhart Institute of Technology in Elkhart, Indiana where he received his certification as a Dental Technician. After graduation he accepted a position as a Dental Technician at the Shipman Dental Lab in Worcester, Massachusetts where he applied his trade. He returned to the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area in 1970 with his family, and soon after opened Freeman Dental Lab in Ypsilanti. The Lab was in operation for twenty years (1970 – 1990). After closing the lab in Ypsilanti he managed the Crown and Bridge department for a Lansing Dental Laboratory. Later he accepted a position in the Crown and Bridge department at the VA Hospital in Ann Arbor; he retired in 2012.

It was a life changing experience for Nelson when he declared as a Baha’i in 1965. He became a devoted and active member of the Faith and participated in a number of groups and activities with them. Two of his favorite activities were parking cars on football Saturdays with fellow Baha’is while making friends with the clientele, and Coffee House on the last Friday of the month where friends were welcomed and invited to share their talents, or enjoy the performances of others and have fun. He was passionate about his service to the Baha’i Faith and remained so until the end.

In his retirement he also remained active by traveling, taking classes at the senior centers in Pittsfield and Ypsilanti where he was also an exercise and dance instructor. He took guitar classes and was part of a Harmonica Band. Being the family genealogist he became a member of the The Black History Museum of Ann Arbor and The Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society in Detroit.

He leaves to mourn his passing his wife of 53 years, Jean (Staples) Freeman and two sons: Marvin Freeman, (Deborah) Manassas, VA and Anthony Freeman, Warren, MI. Three granddaughters: Maya Bricio-Freeman of Ypsilanti; Tiffany Freeman of Denver, CO and Kiana Freeman of Colorado Springs, CO. There are many more relatives and friends that will miss his beautiful spirit.

In lieu of flowers, make a donation to the Peace Neighborhood Center, 1111 N. Maple Rd,
Ann Arbor, MI 48103.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Tuesday January 7, 2020 | 10:00am - 11:00am
    Tuesday January 7, 2020 10:00am - 11:00am
    Nie Family Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Liberty Road Chapel
    3767 W. Liberty Road
    Ann Arbor, MI 48103
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Funeral Service

    Tuesday January 7, 2020 | 11:00am
    Tuesday January 7, 2020 11:00am
    Nie Family Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Liberty Road Chapel
    3767 W. Liberty Road
    Ann Arbor, MI 48103
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Paul Harrison
  • Interment

    Tuesday January 7, 2020 | 1:00pm
    Tuesday January 7, 2020 1:00pm
    Alban Cemetery
    8800 Bemis Road
    Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Procession from Funeral Home to Cemetery directly after the Funeral Service


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Betty Brown Chappell

Posted at 10:16am
Dear Jean and Family. The Chappells are all saddened at your loss but glad that we got to share the last several years together not only as family, but also as friends. Nelson's enthusiasm for life and family history was infectious. That enthusiasm will be captured in the Fred Hart Williams Society monograph to be published this year. You may recall that the article is called "Passing the Baton." Michael and I were also very happy to work on the Detroit Memories v. 1-3 with Nelson; many photographs from his family archives appear in those books for all the world to see. He left a brilliant legacy and we will miss him.

Shaun Thomas

Posted at 12:03pm
Condoences to the family on behalf of the The Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society. Mr. Nelson was a valued member of our group. He will be missed.

Kim Harding

Posted at 10:19am
Jean,I am so sorry to hear about Nelson. I was checking the website for a friends son and saw that Nelson had passed. We use to work out a the old Vic-Tanny on Washtenaw ave. Jean I know you from jazzercise back in the day as Kim Smith. I hope to make it to his service tomorrow.

Mattie Odessa Smith

Posted at 10:37pm
We shall all miss Nelson. He was a gentle and caring person, a beloved classmate and friend with a great smile and sense of devotion to friends and his community. We shall always remember the contribution of his family to the youth of Ypsilanti for many years. May God rest his soul.

Janice perez Posted at 11:02am

I am saddened to hear about Nelson. I had worked with Nelson at a back clinic several years ago. Jean, my heart is with you in the days ahead. Nelson was a very kind caring, and loving man. He will be missed. I feel honored that I had the chance to meet Nelson and you. Janice

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