Members of the Polk State School group are saddened by the information of Tom Freeman’s passing final week. His legacy lives on by means of his paintings throughout Polk County, together with the Polk State JD Alexander Heart in Lake Wales that’s house to a few of his items, most notably the “Outdated Oak Tree” mural that pays homage to the greater than 100-year-old fixture of the Metropolis.
“This can be a nice loss for Polk County and Lake Wales, however Mr. Freeman’s impression is lengthy lasting and we’re grateful on the Polk State JD Alexander Heart to have items of his magnificent paintings that embody the spirit of the Metropolis and the School,” mentioned Andy Oguntola, Director of the JD Alexander Heart and Interim Dean for Workforce Schooling and Financial Improvement.
Freeman was born in Tennessee on October 19, 1925, and in 1942, he moved to Frostproof the place he attended Frostproof Excessive College. He served within the U.S. Navy, the place he started his craft as an artist sketching battleships and scenes from warfare.
After his discharge from the Navy in 1946, Freeman studied business artwork and promoting at Florida State College. He held a bachelor’s diploma in artwork schooling from Florida Southern School and a grasp’s diploma in artwork schooling and administration from Florida Atlantic College.
Freeman moved to Lake Wales in 1958 and have become recognized for his paintings depicting Florida’s landscapes. He owned a number of companies together with Freeman’s Artwork and Body Store downtown and served as an artwork instructor at Lake Wales Excessive College, turning into dean of scholars and assistant principal earlier than retiring in 1987.
However he by no means stopped creating and educating artwork. The Lake Wales Artwork Council shared with The Ledger that Freeman was nonetheless educating courses for the group as just lately as final yr.
Freeman’s work is on show throughout the County, together with Warner College, the Lake Wales Public Library, and the Polk State JD Alexander Heart. His mural that lives within the reception space of Polk State’s Lake Wales Campus was unveiled in 2009 when the constructing was devoted to Senator JD Alexander for efficiently securing funds to revive the Outdated Lake Wales Metropolis Corridor to offer residents with entry to high quality greater schooling nearer to house.
Freeman additionally valued schooling and established the Gary Freeman Memorial Science Scholarship by means of the Polk State Basis in honor of his late son.
In lieu of flowers, Freeman’s household is requesting donations to the Polk State Basis’s Gary Freeman Memorial Science Scholarship. A memorial service will likely be held at 2 p.m. on October 9 on the First Presbyterian Church in Lake Wales.