Herman Freeman

December 28, 1927October 8, 2013
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Herman Freeman, 85, passed away on October 8, 2013 after a courageous 19 month battle with cancer. For the past 9 years, Herman's home has been Olive Branch, Mississippi. Prior to that time he spent the majority of his life in Jackson, Mississippi. For anyone who knew Herman, it's likely you used words like integrity, compassion, kindness, and patience to describe Herman's gentle spirit.

Herman is survived by his wife Mary Abigail Henley Freeman, daughter Deb Freeman West and her husband Garnett, daughter Ann Freeman Gilbert and her husband Louis, grandchildren Hunter Bryant Gilbert, Amanda Leigh Gilbert, Mary Abigail West, Garnett Bert West III and his wife Keri, Jason Blair West and his wife Erin, sister Etta Vera Seago and her husband D.G., and many nieces and nephews. Herman was preceded in death by his parents Clarence and Blanche Johnson Freeman, stepfather Louis Smith, paternal grandparents J.W. (Jack) and Ary Freeman, maternal grandparents George (Smiley) and Nettie Brown Johnson, in-laws John Bryant and Josephine (Jo) Haynes Henley, grandson Eric West, and numerous uncles, aunts, and cousins.

Herman was born December 28, 1927 in Pike County, Mississippi, to Clarence and Blanche Johnson Freeman. He was educated at Johnston Station, Jones Consolidated, and graduated from Fernwood High School. He attended Southwest Mississippi Community College and then obtained a Bachelor of Science as well as Master of Science in Entomology from Mississippi State University. After graduation Herman served his country in the United States Air Force and received an honorable discharge after 3 years of service.

Herman's priorities during his life were his faith, his family, and his occupation as a State Farm Insurance Agent. The importance of his faith in Jesus Christ was demonstrated by a lifelong involvement and commitment to his local church. While in Jackson, Herman served in many leadership capacities at Leavell Woods United Methodist Church. He chaired the Administrative Board, the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, the Finance Committee, the Council on Ministries, and was a certified Lay Speaker. He was also involved with the United Methodist Men's Club and taught an adult Sunday School class. In Olive Branch, Herman was an active member of Getwell Road United Methodist Church, serving as president of his Sunday School Class, membership on the Board of Trustees, Administrative Council, and the Men's Prayer Group.

It was no secret that after his faith, the most important thing in Herman's life was his family. He and Mary Gail enjoyed 58 wonderful years of marriage and were blessed with two daughters who were his pride and joy. That happiness extended throughout his entire life as "Grandy" treasured relationships with grandchildren, extended family, and close friends.

Herman began his professional career with Olin Corporation, selling and consulting with customers about agricultural chemicals. In 1956, he began a successful career as a State Farm Insurance Agent in Jackson, Mississippi. During his 47 year career, he qualified for almost every award available at State Farm. His most cherished honor was having been selected as a Lifetime Member of the President's Club which is awarded for outstanding, balanced production. It was a joy for him to serve his customers, most of whom considered him a friend.

Herman cared about his community as well. Most recently, he served on the Board of Directors of Wesley Meadows Retirement Community. He was a charter member of the South Jackson Rotary Club and was honored with the "Paul Harris Fellow" award. Herman was also instrumental in establishing the United Methodist South Jackson Cluster and chaired the group for many years.

The family would like to extend sincere appreciation for the care received from Dr. David Sullivan and the entire staff of the Southaven Family Cancer Center, Senior Care Services, and Unity Hospice.

A service celebrating Herman's life will be held at 12:00pm on Saturday, October 12 at Wright and Ferguson Funeral Home (1161 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, MS 39157). The family will receive friends from 10:00am until the time of the service. There will also be a service on Sunday, October 13 at 2:30pm at Getwell Road United Methodist Church (7875 Getwell Road, Southaven, MS 38672) with a time of fellowship with the family afterwards.

Services will be officiated by Bishop Clay Lee, Reverend Bill Beavers, Reverend Martin Case, and Reverend Henderson Rasberry. Pallbearers are Hunter Gilbert, Bert West, Jason West, John David Thomas, Matthew Thomas, Brian Jones, Will Jones, and Fowler Jones.

Memorials may be made to Getwell Road United Methodist Church (7875 Getwell Road, Southaven, MS 38672), Leavell Woods United Methodist Church (3302 Terry Road, Jackson, MS 39212), or Methodist Senior Services (Post Office Box 1567, Tupelo, MS 38802).


  • Funeral Service Saturday, October 12, 2013
  • Visitation Saturday, October 12, 2013

Herman Freeman

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July 19, 2014

Sorry to hear this, he was truly a fine man. Had lost touch, we were neighbors in Jackson years ago and had been my insurance agent as well. Mike Kanosky (Jackson)

Van Wilson

October 16, 2013

Mrs. Freeman, Ann & Debbie,
Mr. Freeman was a very good Christian man. Very good memories of him and you all growing up in Leavell Woods Church. He will definitely be missed, but we all know he is in a much better place. Praying for all of you.

October 14, 2013

Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.

Wesley Meadows Board of Directors

Jackie Green

October 13, 2013

The best insurance man in the world. What a huge loss! He was our first insurance agent some 29 years ago...always pleasant, kind, and helpful...I can only pray that he will be one of those who rises first when Jesus returns. God bless you all!

Sharon & Robert DeStefano

October 12, 2013

Our hearts are saddened and we will miss Herman. We loved Herman, but he was very easy to love. His life was a testimony and an example for all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time.

Lavern Hardin

October 12, 2013

So sorry but did not know until this morning about 10:30. Praying for your family. Lavern Wallace Hardin, Aunt Ruby's daughter.

Lavern Wallace Hardin

October 12, 2013

Mary and family, I just found out about Herman this morning. Ruth saw it in the paper so I couldn't make it to the Jackson service and don't think we will make it to Olive Branch. I loved him even though I didn't come visit. Love you and give the girls my love and Etta.

William D (Chip) Sanders

October 12, 2013

In his personal life, his family life, and his professional business life, Herman Freeman was a GIANT among men. He gave me my first job at age 12, putting State Farm insurance fliers on windshields in a local shopping center parking lot at a penny a piece, and some 55 years later at age 67 I'm still with State Farm. Herman did not just "go to Church." His life exuded his Christian principals. Some people cut moral and ethical corners to become successful. Not so with Herman Freeman. He became one of the top and most admired State Farm Agents in the entire United States, and he did it "the right way," morally, professionally, and ethically. From time to time in my career, when I was unsure how to handle a particular problem or sensitive issue, I've caught myself thinking, "How would Herman handle that?" Mary, Ann, & Deb: Dad always told us that Herman was his favorite agent. They had a special relationship - but Herman was my mentor and my hero. We'll all miss him so much.

Martha & Larry Miley

October 12, 2013

Mrs. Freeman and Family: Larry and I are so sorry to hear of the passing of Mr. Freeman. He was compassionate and friendly to all he met. We think about the 2 of you a lot and have missed seeing you around Jackson. He will be greatly missed. Prayers are with all of you at this sad time.

October 12, 2013

Mary, Debbie and Ann, I have the sweetest memories of many State Farm gatherings when the Freemans and the Jenkins' families were together! I always remember Herman's gentle, kind spirit. We certainly had fun back in those days. Mama and Daddy are unable to be with you today due to their own health decline. They loved you all. Keith and I will be at the service and hope to see you. Our love and prayers during this time of grief and celebration of a life well lived. To God be the Glory. Jan Michaels