Vincent Freeman

Vincent Freeman, former high school teacher, college adjunct
dies at 87
Vincent Freeman, a teacher by profession, was still offering lessons in living with grace, strength and a generous heart, even in his final weeks. Vincent died Oct. 10, 2019, in his home, on the 10th anniversary of the passing of his wife, Chaluay. He was 87.
After graduating from Orange, New Jersey, High School, and Seton Hall University in 1959, he began his teaching career at Essex Catholic High School, in Newark, New Jersey. He went on to the West Orange Public Schools, teaching first at Lincoln Junior High School, then moving to Mountain High School. There, he was promoted to chair of the Social Studies Department. He was loved by his students, who praised him for his ability to bring history to life and treat students with fairness and respect.
Former student William Arlan said Vincent “told me to live my ideals for fairness and justice … He was always respectful, even when challenged.”
Another of his students, Herman Asarnow, was inspired to seek a career in education, becoming a professor of English at the University of Portland.
“His good nature and excellence as a teacher were always an example I kept in mind,” he said. “No flash, real substance, and just a good guy.”
Vincent retired from the West Orange Public Schools in 1988, though he continued as an adjunct at what is now Caldwell University. In retirement, he served many years as a volunteer at Grossmont Hospital.
In his later years, Vincent’s vision declined. However, he took classes at the Blind Community Center in San Diego, where he learned how to use a computer, keeping in touch with family and friends through email. He also he enjoyed the art, cooking and yoga classes and other activities at the Braille Institute at La Jolla. The encroaching blindness never stopped him from expressing his talents as an artist. He pressed on; working with pencils and watercolors at every opportunity. Braille often put Vincent’s paintings on display.
Vincent served honorably in the U.S. Marine Corps as a corpsman at the time of the Korean War. After training at Bainbridge, Maryland, he served at Philadelphia Naval Hospital. Vincent was later assigned to the 8th Marine Regiment at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina.
A devout Catholic, he was a member, and sometime usher, at Our Lady of Grace in El Cajon, California. In his younger days, Vincent spent two years with the Christian Brothers as a junior novitiate in Maryland. He later found his true vocation as a husband, parent and teacher. He was a regular supporter of Father Joe’s Villages and Disabled American Veterans.
Celtic to the core, he reveled in all things Irish. The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem were a soundtrack for both family celebrations and every day living in the Freeman household.
He was a member of the Kiwanis Club.
Vincent is survived by two brothers, Dennis Freeman of Chula Vista, and John Freeman of Imperial Beach; a son, Vincent P. Freeman III of San Diego; a daughter, Mary Hightower and her husband John of Little Rock, Arkansas; a sister-in-law, Susan Higuera of Spring Valley. He is also survived by nieces Connie Freeman and Ruth Mateo, and nephew, Joe. He is preceded in death by his wife of nearly 50 years, Chaluay Sibunruang Freeman; and his brothers Joe and Francis Xavier, who died in infancy, and his parents, Vincent Freeman and Ruth Denvir.
In celebration of his life and in lieu of flowers, please make donations to Father Joe’s Villages, Braille Institute, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, or the Disabled American Veterans.
Funeral Mass will be held at Our Lady of Grace in El Cajon, California, on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, at 11:30 a.m. Burial at Fort Rosecrans will be at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 30.
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