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Paul G. Freeman

Published: 01/10/2013

Paul G. Freeman, age 84, passed on to his Heavenly Home on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, at Newport Medical Center after suffering several illnesses.

He was one of the major owners and operators of one of the oldest businesses in Newport,  Freeman's Furniture, for 62 years.

Paul was the son of Talmadge Ernest Freeman and Rebecca Hall Freeman Glenn. He was the second son born to parents who ran a small country store in the Hall's Top area of Raven's Branch in Cocke County.

In 1939, the Freeman family moved to Newport and opened a furniture store. He and his brother, Warren Freeman, enrolled in Newport Grammar School and later continued their education at Cocke County High School.

At the end of World War II, Paul, a very patriotic young man, wanted to join the US Navy and help America recover from the war years. Against his mother's vehement opposition, Paul left school during his junior year and enlisted in the Navy. His goal was to go to sea aboard the "big ships." However, his chief petty officer recognized Paul's business talents and assigned him a desk job doing paper work and working with new recruits at the Rhode Island Naval Port.

He spent two years in the Navy. While on a short furlough to his Tennessee home, he met Imogene Nease of Parrottsville and the couple quickly became engaged. After dating only a few weeks, they married on July 12, 1947, at Bethel Baptist Church and began a union that lasted 65 years.

His bride lived with her new mother-in-law while Paul returned to base to finish his naval commitment. Upon his discharge, he returned to Newport, and he and Imogene then moved to White Pine, where they opened a small furniture store.

They were very happy there and the business thrived. Their only child, Regenia Karen, was born while the couple lived there.

Meanwhile Paul's father had expanded his business and asked Paul to return to Newport to help him. Paul accepted his father's offer, and the small family moved back to Newport, purchasing a home from Jim Masters at 515 Fourth Street, where they lived throughout the rest of Paul's life.

At one time, the Freeman family owned six stores in the East Tennessee area. The brothers were proud of their ability to provide furniture through low payment financing for their customers.

For a few years, Paul also sold mobile homes, a new business venture, with the help of his son-in-law Charles Mason and the late Burlin Caldwell. He also oversaw a rental home park on Battle Way near Newport's City Park as long as his health permitted.

In addition to the family's furniture and mobile home businesses, Paul and his wife Imogene also raised cattle. He had Polled Herefords, while his wife preferred Black Angus, and they enjoyed competing with one another at the Saturday cattle sales to see who made the most money from their livestock ventures.

Paul's father died in 1954 and his mother in 1998. In addition to his parents, Paul was preceded in death by two brothers, Warren and Roger Freeman, and one sister Iris Dale Glenn Wood.

In addition to his beloved wife, Paul is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Regenia and Charles Mason, grandson Chuck Mason, great-grandson Jackson McCaid Mason, brother and sister-in-law Dan and Dorothy Freeman, brother and sister-in-law Rolan and Betty Jean Freeman, sisters-in-law Mickey Freeman and Eula Freeman, and several nieces, nephews, cousins, uncles, and aunts.

Imogene and Regenia extend a very special "Thank you" to Barbara Davis, Ronnie Davis, Tammy Francis, and Jabo Francis.

The family will receive friends on Friday, January 11, 2013, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Manes Funeral Home with funeral services following in the funeral home's chapel at 7:00 p.m.

Interment will be in Union Cemetery on Saturday, January 12, 2013, at 11:00 a.m.

Family and friends may sign the guest register online at

Manes Funeral Home in charge

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