DANVILLE — Ronald (Ronnie) Eugene Freedlund, 84, peacefully passed away early Sunday morning, Feb. 13, 2022. He died at home in Bismarck with family by his side.
Ron was born in Bloomington on March 19, 1937, to Carl August and Florence Charlotte (Case) Freedlund, the third of three children. His two older sisters are June Freedlund Schumacher of Charlotte, N.C., who survives, and JoAnn Freedlund Burchett, deceased.
For years, as a youth, he delivered the Bloomington Daily Pantagraph newspaper and loved playing sports. As a teenager, he grew to well over 6 feet and 200 pounds, earning the nickname “Moose.” In high school, while working at a service station, he developed a love of cars, which became a lifelong passion and vocation. He owned and built a 1932 Ford Roadster street rod with his good Bloomington friend Dick Blaine. Ron was in the Bloomington High School Class of ’55. He went on to Illinois State University, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial technology, becoming an industrial arts teacher.
Ron’s first teaching job was at Rossville High School in 1961, in Rossville. He taught all seven areas of shop and coached football and basketball. He said it was a wonderful first job, a great place to start. While at Rossville High School, he met and married the love of his life and fellow teacher Susan Laury. They were married for 59½ years. She survives. In 1966, after four years at Rossville, Ron, Susan and son Alan moved to Elgin, where he taught auto mechanics for 26 years, retiring in 1992. For a number of years, he enjoyed coaching football and track. While at Elgin High School, he was given credit for developing the Vocational Education Automotive Program.
Ron and Susan have three children, all survive: Alan (Charlene Johnson) Freedlund of Naperville, Sarah Jo Anne (Mark) Clemons of Sharpsburg, Ga., and Jane Laury (John) Wagner of Champaign. They have nine grandchildren: Samuel Charles (Sarah Marshall) Freedlund, Lauryn Grace Freedlund, Joseph Carl Freedlund, Lucas Robert Freedlund, Shelby Jane Clemons, Peter Alan Wagner, Judson Freedlund Wagner, Katherine Laury Wagner and Case Lorene Wagner.
In 1997, Ron and Susan moved to Susan’s parental home in Bismarck. There he built a woodworking shop, turning out beautiful furniture, bowls, clocks and almost anything out of wood. On several occasions, he made wood pieces for churches. For Wesley United Methodist Church in Elgin, he made a large communion altar, which has since been moved to Journey of Hope United Methodist Church. While at First United Methodist Church in Elgin, he refinished the upstairs woodwork after a fire. In Bismarck, he made the cross that now hangs over the altar. Ron was happily working in his shop until just before his death.
He was a member of Bismarck United Methodist Church and the Bismarck Lions Club.
Ron’s family, his wife, children and grandchildren, were most important to him. He would drop anything to go watch a grandchild wrestle, swim, play baseball, football, basketball, volleyball or soccer. He was always supportive to each person. One rarely, if ever, heard criticism from him. For someone who turned out perfect products from his shop, he was very forgiving of others’ imperfections. Ron was very generous with his time and money. He loved the large family gatherings and reunions of any kind. You would see him sitting on the side, watching and smiling.
A celebration of his life will be held at Bismarck United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Randy Robinson officiating, on Saturday, Feb. 26. Visitation at the church is from 1 to 2:30 p.m. with a memorial service following at 2:30, and a party celebrating his life at 3 p.m. in the church’s fellowship hall. Burial will be in Gundy Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ron’s memory to: Bismarck United Methodist Church; the Bismarck Lions Club Scholarship Fund; Bismarck Volunteer Fire Department; or Elgin High School Industrial Arts Dept./Auto Shop. Messages and memories may be left on the Kruger Coan Pape Funeral Home website at krugercoanpape.com or on the Kruger Funeral Home Facebook page.