Mrs. Josephine "Jo" Freer

August 5, 1939April 22, 2014


Josephine (Jo) Freer, 74, passed away from cancer on April 22, 2014, at her home in Potsdam, New York, under the compassionate care of Hospice with family in attendance.

She is survived by her husband James, three children and their families: Carrie (Tom) French (Potsdam, NY), grandchildren Daniel and Emma; Jason (Kristie) Freer (Erie, PA), grandchildren Allison and Grace; Timothy (Christina) Freer (Hamden, CT), grandchildren Olivia and Lauren. She is also survived by three brothers and their families: Boake and Marian Sells (Florida), Greg and Barbara Sells (California), and Tim and Melinda Sells (California).

Jo was born in Estherville, Iowa, in 1939, the daughter of Lyle and Louise (Gadd) Sells, and spent most of her childhood in Fort Dodge, Iowa. She graduated from the University of Iowa and worked for a time at Bell Telephone in Chicago, and General Mills in Minneapolis prior to marrying James in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on July 22, 1967. Jo raised the family while following Jim's Alcoa career through stops in Minneapolis, Cleveland, Akron, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta before winding up in Massena, NY. During that time she enjoyed being a substitute teacher in the North Country. Throughout her adult years she was active in religious instruction. She was a lifelong avid reader, loved music especially jazz, proficient knitter, and was totally devoted to her grandchildren. She is fondly remembered by many for her unselfish and thoughtful attention and concern to others, old and young, in need of a listening ear or a helping hand.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, April 28th at 11:00 am at St. Mary's Church in Potsdam with Father Garry Giroux and Msgr. Robert Aucoin concelebrating the Funeral Mass. Calling hours will be held on Sunday, April 27th from 3:00-6:00 pm at Garner Funeral Home in Potsdam.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate contributions to Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley or Catholic Relief Services. On line condolences may be made at


  • Visitation Sunday, April 27, 2014
  • Funeral Service Monday, April 28, 2014

Mrs. Josephine "Jo" Freer

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Catherine Murray Mamer

July 4, 2014

I too was a classmate st St. Catherine's College in St. Paul, MN. Dianne Walta Hart sent the information to a group of us who had been friends during our freshman year. I am especially sad to learn that she lived here in Minneapolis for a time after her marriage and to not have known that at the time since I live here now. We all have so many memories of her and especially her stories about Fort Dodge. I always look at it on a map and think of Jo. She was a special person and will be deeply missed. You are all in my heart and prayers.

Marge Franta Bean

July 2, 2014

I also knew Jo our freshman year at St. Catherine's College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was only there one year, but she was part of group that became good friends . As life moves on, we all went in different directions. From her picture and comments it is apparent she was a special person . Sorry for your loss.

July 1, 2014

I just found this online - I knew Jo our freshman year at the College of St. Catherine. I always thought we would be friends forever but somehow we lost track of each other. Earlier on in the days of the Internet, I looked for her, but to no avail. So tonight I looked again and found her, but too late. My condolences, with great sadness. Dianne Walta Hart

Michael Barton

May 7, 2014

To the entire Freer family especially Tim, I was informed of your Mom's passing and wanted to drop you a line. She was always very friendly and welcoming. So sorry for your loss...

May 3, 2014

Am deeply moved by all your kind thoughts and memories of Jo. It has been a while since last together, but rest assured you are all in my and the families thoughts. Thankyou
Jim Freer

Jean Morin Centrella

May 1, 2014

Carrie and Family: I have very fond memories of your Mom. I am sorry I just found out about her passing today. She was always such a great person to turn to during my years with CYO in Massena. She will be missed.
-Jean (Morin) Centrella

Dave & Jan Armpriester

April 29, 2014

To the Freer Family, We were so sorry to hear of Jo's passing. She was a remarkable woman, who's love and care for her family was always the most important thing in her life. Her deeply held faith and strong convictions were an inspiration to all who knew Jo and she will be missed by so many. Our thoughts and prayers are with each of you, but know that you all were deeply loved by your wife, mother and grandmother.

Elisabeth Dion

April 28, 2014

Our deepest sympathy to all the Freer family. Jo was such a lovely person and we have fond memories of her kindness. I am glad we got to see her one last time at the ball field in Potsdam last year! It was a joy to visit with her! Your loss is great but I am sure she remains with you in spirit and love. Take care....Liz and Armand Dion

April 28, 2014

To the entire Freer family it was so nice to see you all, I wish it was under different circumstances but what can we do..Jason & Tim you guys haven't changed a bit you look great, I will always miss Jo's monthly visits, her strength, and courage, for whatever life presented her, her compassion and care for others,and her love for you all.You were always in our conversations. How lucky you were,we were, she has been in my life for almost thirty years,thanks for sharing! God Bless, Mike Gagner

Mike "Eggy" Quenneville

April 26, 2014

Mr Freer, Carrie, Jason and Tim.
I am sorry for the Loss of Mrs Freer, Your wife, your Mom. She was a remarkable person who provided Guidenence, Leadership and Love during the most influential time of our lives which was high school. The smile like the one in the picture was one that brought joy to each and every person she game in contact with. She was such an awesome person and someone that I always looked up to. I know she will be missed by you and alot of other folks.
You all are in our thoughts and prayers.