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