Jerry Leland Freeman, 77, of Hamburg died Friday, October 22, 2021, at his residence. He was a native of Crossett and a resident of Hamburg for many years. Jerry had many accomplishments in his life as a papermaker, a bowler, a beekeeper, a published author, and an inventor. His biggest accomplishments were being a husband, father, and grandfather. He made his living at the Georgia-Pacific paper mill in Crossett, having retired at age 59 ½ as a tour foreman in the tissue mill. After he graduated from Crossett High School, Jerry attended Georgia Tech where he majored in Electrical Engineering. At the time, Georgia Tech had classes on the quarter system and he would go to school for three months and come back home and work at the paper mill until he had made enough money to go back to Georgia Tech for another quarter. It wasn’t long before he decided that he had rather work making paper than become an electrical engineer and thus began his long career with Georgia Pacific. Jerry thoroughly enjoyed his career at the Georgia-Pacific paper mill. He enjoyed learning and knowing about the technical aspects and the science behind making paper. He could talk about it for hours and did so many times with his brother, Glynn, who was also a papermaker in another town. In the latter part of his career, he would often take on special projects such as writing training manuals for the tissue mill. After graduating from the University of Arkansas at Monticello in 1992 with a 4.0 GPA and becoming a tour foreman at the mill, he was occasionally tapped by other companies to serve as a management consultant. He met the CEO of one of these companies that both were attending and he made several trips to their facility to provide consulting services. He was an avid bowler and didn’t let a bum knee slow him down. He had knee replacement surgery and a follow-up appointment after surgery he had only one question for his doctor, “When can I go bowling?”. He generally bowled several times a week. Some of his more well-known accomplishments were in the world of beekeeping. Jerry was a master beekeeper by any standard you can come up with. He was widely respected and known all over the country. He taught seminars and classes concerning bees at state conferences, local meetings, and even universities. He was a good friend of Dr. Hood of the entomology department at Clemson University. He invented a device called the “Original Freeman Beetle Trap” that was designed to trap hive beetles that were not just a pest but could actually kill a beehive. This beetle trap has been studied at two universities and is considered one of the top traps ever invented. He produced and sold the trap from his home for a time and then sold the rights to Heartwood, LLC in Star, MS where it is still produced and sold. No beekeeper in this country doesn’t know what the Original Freeman Beetle Trap is. He invented other gadgets and devices over the years and sold some, but the beetle trap is by far best known. He participated in numerous podcasts concerning beekeeping over the years and wrote many articles about beekeeping that were published in the American Bee Journal. He was a member of First Baptist Church in Hamburg where he thoroughly enjoyed teaching the Carl Locke and J.W. Hall Sunday school class.
He is preceded in death by a grandson, Sam Tanksley in 2011; his parents, Orie Leon & Sarah Alice Freeman and a sister, Ruby E. Freeman Simpson.
He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Mary Thompson Freeman of Hamburg; two sons, Scott Freeman and wife, Teri, and Tod Freeman and wife, Michelle, all of Crossett; two daughters, Penni Douglas of Hamburg and Zana Johnson and husband, Mike, of Hamburg; two brothers, Marvin Leon Freeman of St. Louis, Missouri and Glynn Freeman of Texarkana, Texas; a sister, Sheryl “Ann” Freeman Watt of Crossett; 11 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.
Funeral services are 10 a.m., Monday, October 25, 2021, at the First Baptist Church with Rev. Ty Danielson officiating. Burial will be in the Hamburg Cemetery. Pallbearers are Michael Murphy, Casey Freeman, Zach Freeman, Jacob Cannon, Ryan Austin and Justin Holland. Honorary pallbearers are his Friends and co-workers at the Georgia-Pacific #3 Tissue Mill, his many Beekeeper friends, and the members of the Carl Locke and J.W. Hall Sunday school class.
Visitation will be 5-7 p.m., Sunday at the funeral home
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