Jeff Freeman, 53, passed away suddenly on Monday, September 12, 2022. He was the son of John Frink Freeman, Jr. and the late Mary Catherine Hales Freeman, formerly of Bladenboro, NC.
Jeff was born on August 2, 1969, in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he graduated from Sanderson High School. An avid fan of classical music, Jeff practiced for endless hours mastering the trombone and attended the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, earning a Bachelor of Music. Music was not his only love; science held a special place in his heart, and he later earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics from North Carolina State University. Jeff’s seemingly disparate interests in music and science are typical of Jeff’s intelligence and passions. His interest in all subjects was endless, and this quality allowed him to connect with everybody.
Jeff’s early years were strongly influenced by his heritage, by growing up in the environment of Tabernacle Baptist Church, and by his unique music-related experiences. Jeff’s parents were strongly supportive of Jeff’s and his brother, Alex’s, shared interest in music, allowing them to pursue their dreams through adulthood. As brothers, Jeff and Alex were close and they shared similar humor and mannerisms although being separated by continents. Jeff was fortunate to find numerous friends along the way. He did not take his friendships for granted, making a point of trying to catch up with people, stay in touch, sit awhile and talk.
Jeff’s love of science and music led him to roles at NASA and eventually to Dolby Laboratories, where he excelled in the world of audio engineering for the past 22 years, most recently as Director of Applications Engineering and Testing. It was also at Dolby where he met his wife, Wendy, and over several years, they worked side by side on countless tradeshows, often taking them to various cities across the country. They were able to experience countless fabulous meals and shows, making stays of 7-days+ a joy. Wendy and Jeff were also able to travel to other destinations, including multiple trips to Maui, Oahu, Oregon, Washington, Finland and Sweden.
Jeff’s brilliant supernova personality left a lasting impression on everyone he met, making them feel like they were the only person in the room when he talked to them. He poured his heart and soul into his work and received endless admiration from his fellow colleagues. Through music, his work at Dolby and other experiences, he had the fortune of traveling and working all over the world, including China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, India, Europe, South America and Australia. Along the way, he garnered the affection of everyone he met. It is without a doubt that he has fans on every continent and will be remembered fondly forever.
Jeff’s two children, Ella and Isaac, meant the world to him. His intelligence, humor, desire to try new things, and a good dose of goofiness made Jeff a wonderful and lovable father. When the children were born, he made them superhero babies, flying them around in the palm of his hand. As they grew, he would swing the kids up high over his head, and they loved every minute of it, totally fearless. In more recent years, he went on countless walks with the children through the woods, searched for snakes with Isaac, dirtied every pot in the kitchen cooking with Ella, and spent countless hours talking with the children as equals, not just as their dad. There is comfort in knowing that Jeff will live on in both of his children, who are so much like him.
Anybody who knew Jeff has a “Jeff story” that is always funny and heartwarming. One story shared recently by a friend was when he, Ella and a few friends were waiting in a long line for the Hello Kitty truck to purchase a few items for Wendy. Jeff suggested buying dozens of doughnuts to hand out to people standing in line. When somebody in line asked him why he did it, he said “I like making people happy.” Jeff touched all of us who knew him, and we would love for anybody to share special stories about Jeff on the Renaissance Funeral Home website.
Jeff is survived by his wife, Wendy Tang; his two children, Ella and Isaac; his father, John Freeman and wife, Pat; his brother, Alex Freeman, his wife Aino and their children Armas and Auvo, of Helsinki, Finland. In addition, Jeff is survived by his mother-in-law, Linda Tang, his brother-in-law, Wayne Tang, Wayne’s wife Sandy and their children Jeremy and Hayley, all of California. He is also survived by his step-sister, Joanna Bradley, her husband Don, and their children, Julia and Erica; and his step-sister, Andrea Christensen and her husband, Jon. Jeff is also survived by his ex-wife, Carrie Freeman, and her husband, Gus Grubba (Ella and Isaac’s mother and step-father). Jeff is predeceased by his mother, Catherine Freeman, and his father-in-law, Jack Tang.
A visitation service will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 PM (Eastern Time) on Thursday, September 22, 2022, at Renaissance Funeral home, 7615 Six Forks Road, Raleigh, NC 27615.
The memorial service will be held on Friday, September 23, 2022, at 10:00 AM (ET) at Tabernacle Baptist Church, 8304 Leesville Road, Raleigh, NC 27613. Friends and family are welcome to attend. For those who are unable to attend the memorial service, it will be live-streamed starting at 9:45 AM (ET) on September 23. The live stream link is: Tabernacle Baptist Church Livestream
The memorial service will be followed by a graveside service at Pine Crest Cemetery in Bladenboro, North Carolina, at 3:00 PM. Jeff will be buried next to his mother, Catherine, with whom he shared the same sense of humor and from whom he learned so much.
Flowers are welcome, and for those wishing to make a memorial donation, donations are appreciated at:
John Frink and Edith Lennon Freeman Foundation Fund- Galeed Church
North Carolina Baptist Foundation
201 Convention Drive
Cary, NC 27511-4257
Hayward Animal Shelter
16 Barnes Ct.
Hayward, CA 94544
Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina Inc.
1924 Capital Blvd
Raleigh, NC 27604
ACLU Foundation (AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION FOUNDATION INC)
125 Broad Street, 18th Floor New York NY 10004