Freda E Bathe

May 11, 1923May 6, 2018

Freda Eileen Bathe, 94, of Bloomington died May 6, 2018, at the Richard L. Owens Hospice Home in Peoria, following a short illness. She was 5 days short of her 95 birthday. A visitation will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Tuesday, May 15 at East Lawn Funeral Home, 1102 Airport Road, Bloomington. A celebration of life will be held at 10:00 am on Wednesday, May 16 at the Second Presbyterian Church, 404 N. Prairie St., Bloomington. Freda married Harold Edwin Bathe on May 1, 1948; They had two children: John Harold and William Michael. Both sons predeceased their parents. Neither son had children. Freda is survived by her sister, Ruth Wood of Redwood City, CA and eight nieces and nephews. She was much loved by her family and friends. Freda was born May 11, 1923 to Howard and Fannie Dickey in Van Wert, Ohio. She married Harold Edwin Bathe on May 1, 1948 in Peoria. Harold died in 2004. Freda and Harold founded and, for years, operated the East Lawn Cemetery and Mortuary in Bloomington. Freda served as a homemaker, ambulance driver, and for many years worked as a secretary for State Farm. Prior to their marriage, Harold had served as a Tech. Sgt. in the U.S. Army Air Corp during World War II. Based in Italy, his 10-man crew flew bombing missions in a B-17. In the spring of 1944, on his 35th mission, his plane was shot down over Yugoslavia as its crew was returning from bombing an Austrian oil site. Harold and other crew members parachuted to safety, only to be captured and sent to Luft IV, a German POW camp in Eastern Poland. On February 6, 1945, to avoid the advancing Soviets, the Germans began marching the POWs across frozen Poland and northern Germany in a devastating 700-mile, 7-week, trek in subzero weather. Many prisoners who could not go on were shot or died of starvation during that ordeal. Harold who had lost 52 pounds during that trek, managed to escape on March 28, 1945 and made his way to British lines and freedom. He never left the continental United States after his return from the war. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to Greater Peoria Honor Flight, P.O. Box 5072, Peoria, IL 61601-5072. That organization takes Veterans to Washington, D.C. free of charge.


  • Harold Wood, Husband
  • John Harold Bathe, Son
  • William Michael Bathe, Son
  • Ruth (Weldon) Wood, Sister
  • Survived by eight nieces and nephews.

  • Greater Peoria Honor Flight


  • Visitation Tuesday, May 15, 2018
  • Celebration of Life Wednesday, May 16, 2018
  • Committal Service Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Freda E Bathe

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Linda Riordan

May 15, 2018

Freda was such a lovely lady! We first met over 10 years ago when I began working at Merle Norman Cosmetic studio in Bloomington.
I could have listened to her talk for hours about Harold and his life as a prisoner of war. She would tell about her life as a young wife, mother, ambulance driver, and secretary at State Farm (I worked full time at State Farm and part time at Merle Norman), share recipes with us; and always brought the most beautiful pointsettia to the studio at Christmas time.
Freda's greatest gift to me was when I lost my adult son a year ago. I believe she cried as much as I did when I told her of my son's death. Our bond of friendship became even tighter as we shared our stories of our boys!!
Freda, you are now enjoying the hugs and love of your so much loved husband and sons!!!
While your presence, beautiful smile, caring heart, and contagious laughter will be so greatly missed by all of us at Merle Norman, you are now truly home!!
Rest in peace, dear friend!!💕💕💕

Orval & Shirley Dahme

May 14, 2018

Deepest sympathies to family members of Freda. We are long time Bloomington Ridge Road neighbors who remember past times when we visited with Harold and Freda at block parties held back then - both so pleasant to converse with and Freda ever so gracious. No sorrow, for Freda is once again reunited with her beloved family.

Orval and Shirley Dahme, Bloomington, Illinois