US Navy


Thomas Wistar Freeman

June 28, 1939 ~ December 19, 2018 (age 79)

Thomas Wistar Freeman

June 28, 1939 – December 19, 2018

Thomas Wistar Freeman, 79, of High Point, North Carolina died on December 19, 2018.  He was born on June 28, 1939 in Greensboro, NC to the late Wistar Freeman and Mary Louise Mathews Freeman. He is survived by his wife, Marjorie Ferguson Freeman of 35 years, along with their children; Charlotte Freeman Jackson, Jennifer Duckwall-Burns and Thomas C. Freeman. He is survived by four grandchildren Hope Freeman, Jessica Freeman Crider, James Burns, Johnathon Burns and great-granddaughter Serenity Crider.  He is also survived by three sisters Barbara Leder of Siler City, Dorothy Gurley of Charlotte and Sylvia Freeman of Durham along with many nieces and nephews.

He graduated from High Point High School in 1957 and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from High Point College in 1962. He attended many alumni programs and events when it became High Point University.   In 2012, he got to walk down the aisle again with the current class at the time, as well as, his former graduating class as a special recognition for 50 years since graduation.

As a college student, he enlisted in the US Naval Reserve in 1959 and attended boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois. Upon graduation from High Point College, he was selected for Officer Candidate School and was stationed in Newport, Rhode Island. Upon being commissioned as an ensign, he was assigned to the USS Paiute and participated in patrolling the waters of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was later transferred to the Naval Air Station, Key West as a Top Secret Control/Crypto Officer.  

After active duty in Key West, Florida he was assigned to a Naval Reserve Unit in North Hollywood and Pasadena, California. There, he volunteered to join the USMC 3rd Anglico as a Naval Gunfire Liaison Officer, training and serving as a Naval Gunfire and Aircraft Spotter. Encouraged by pilots in the unit, he learned to fly at the El Monte Airport in El Monte, California.

After 4 years of active military service and 16 years in the reserves he retired as O-4 with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.  After a couple of other jobs in the private sector in California, Freeman returned to North Carolina where he earned Federal Aviation Administration Instrument, Commercial, Airline Transport Pilot, Multi-Engine and Flight Instructor certificates. He also held an Airframe and Powerplant certificate, as well as, a glider rating. He joined Piedmont General Aviation as a flight instructor. After building flight time as a flight instructor he took a position at Guilford Technical Institute, now Guilford Technical Community College, as department chair and remained at the school for 29 years. Over that time, he accumulated over 5,000 hours of flight time training in single-engine and multi-engine aircraft.

After retirement, Freeman enjoyed playing the fiddle, mandolin and banjo in several bluegrass groups including the High Lonesome Strings,  and jamming with other musicians at Little Cedar Grocery and Stonefield Cellars Winery.  He loved to attend bluegrass festivals and volunteered at Merlefest in North Wilkesboro for 25 years.  

He loved his wife, family, friends, grandchildren and recently his first great-grandchild.  He took great interest in all their education, activities and accomplishments attending many sporting events, graduations and programs.

A celebration of life through music, stories and friendship, along with light refreshments, will be held on Thursday, January 3, 2019 from 6:30 - 9 p.m., at Little Cedar Grocery Store, 4586 High Point Rd, Kernersville, NC 27284.  Bring your instruments for a bluegrass jam session in Tom's memory.  

The funeral service will be on Saturday, January 5, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at Jamestown United Methodist Church, Jamestown, NC.  Visitation and small reception will follow the service.

Funeral arrangements handled by Triad Cremation and Funeral Service of Greensboro,  NC.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made directly to the local chapter of the organization at High Point Regional Cancer Center. They provide events, meals, support and education to those with cancer along with their caretakers.  Thank you to all those who volunteered their time and service to help make his journey a little easier.

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