Ralph Baker Freeman

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Ralph Baker Freeman, 92 of the Hobart and Sentinel area, passed away Wednesday evening June 1, 2016, at the Clinton Veterans Center. Ralph was a well respected farmer and cattleman in the Kiowa and Washita County areas, living on the county line and farming in these two counties since returning from World War II in 1946. Ralph impacted the lives of many people with his honesty, integrity, and a moral compass for what is right. He especially impacted his family, including children, grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren. Ralph was a devout Christian, never missing a church service and he lived each day filled with a faith in God and as a student of God’s word. He served as a deacon and elder of the Sentinel Church of Christ for many years before retiring in Hobart. Ralph also served as an elder in the Hobart Church of Christ for many years, always teaching a Bible class until his health prevented him from continuing. He graduated from Sentinel High School in 1942, and in the fall of that year he volunteered to serve in the armed forces because the war overseas was rapidly escalating. In the Army his talent and determination were quickly recognized and he was sent to DePaul University in Chicago for special training and then later to Fort Benning, Georgia, where he attended Officer Candidate School (OCS). The OCS training regimen was difficult to survive and approximately half of those selected to attend were sent back to their regular units when they messed up or failed a test. Ralph survived, graduated, and was promoted to second Lieutenant in late 1944. He soon received orders to go to the European Theater. He landed in France as a platoon leader in the First Division, 16th Infantry, Second Battalion, Company G. Ralph began service under General Hodge’s First Army but ended up serving in General Patton’s Third Army. In early 1945, he helped liberate Waldorf and received the Bronze Star for heroic and meritorious achievement or service. While carefully leading his platoon into Geisbach to clear the town of Nazis they came under intensive sniper fire and a tank battle. He was able to guide his troops to safety, avoiding many casualties within his platoon and was nominated for the Silver Star by his commanding officer. The Silver Star is awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force. Ralph also received the Purple Heart for injuries he received in a later battle as they liberate Germany from Nazi rule. After World War II ended Ralph spent a year in Germany with the Army of Occupation. He was promoted to Captain June 9, 1946, as he was discharged after World War II and rejoined the Army Reserves in 1953, where he commanded a reserve unit and remained active in the Reserve program until 1963. When his occupation time in Germany was completed he returned to the United States and shortly thereafter married Dessie Maurine Hopkins on July 21, 1946, in Sentinel. They would soon have been married 70 years. As Ralph and Maurine started farming they also started a family, eventually numbering four children including three daughters and one son. They lived in the rural Sentinel area where he rented land to begin his farming operations west and south of town. As crops prospered, Ralph bought his first farmland in 1953 and continued to add acres as he was able. During his farming career Ralph raised wheat, cotton, sorghum, registered quarter horses, registered horned Herefords, registered Shorthorn Cattle and alfalfa hay. He also served as President of the Oklahoma Shorthorn Association in 1967-68 and was featured on the cover of the “Oklahoma Farmer Stockman” magazine. In 1966 Ralph and Maurine were honored by Ralph’s selection as Washita County Rotary Farmer of the Year, an award presented each year by the Cordell Rotary Club at their agriculture appreciation banquet. Ralph Baker Freeman was born January 26, 1924 to Eva Lenore Baker and John Odell Freeman in the farm house where his family lived near Sentinel, Oklahoma. He is survived by his wife, Dessie Maurine Hopkins Freeman, of Hobart and their four children: Dolores Maurine and husband Jerry Holt, Charles Ralph Freeman and wife Betty, Judith Ann and husband Michael Krieger, all of Hobart and Treva Jo and husband Jim Graham of Sayre. He is also survived by 15 grandchildren: Charles Ralph Freeman and Gregory Lynn Holt of Hobart, Joe Max Freeman and Valerie Lynn Freeman Roberts of Altus, Weston Lee Graham of Carter, Cade Joshua Graham of Sayre, Melody Layne Freeman Hunt of Grandfield, Joy Elizabeth Krieger Ambrose of Stillwater, Donna Joe Ferenczy of Pacific, Missouri, Lane Odell Krieger and Austin Doyle Krieger of Norman, Leigh Katherine Krieger Williams of Oklahoma City, Barclay Joe Holt of Shattuck, Jon Marc Holt of Bullard, Texas and Andrea Jean Freeman Wilks of Dallas, Texas. Ralph is also survived by 36 great grandchildren and his brother Clyde Odell Freeman and wife Martha Freeman, and sister-in-laws Mary Ann Freeman and Dawn Freeman. Ralph was preceded in death by his parents John and Eva Freeman; brothers Joe Edward Freeman, Otis Leon Freeman, and Johnnie Lee Freeman and great grandsons Charles Ralph Freeman III and Baby Boy Graham, infant son of Treva and Jim Graham. Services for Ralph were held June 4, 2016 at the Hobart Church of Christ, Hobart, Oklahoma. Officiating ministers were Bill Coffin, Hobart and James Cudd, Hinton. Congregational songs of praise were lead by Greg Holt, one of Ralph’s grandsons, and Herman Nesser, both of Hobart. A friend and fellow farmer, David Wattenbarger, Hobart, told of his 70 year friendship with Ralph. Grandsons Barclay Holt, Austin Krieger, Lane Krieger, Jon Marc Holt, Joe Max Freeman, Weston Graham and Charles Ralph Freeman shared memories of their grandfather. Camille Holt sang Daddy’s Hands. Burial was held at Sentinel Cemetery, Sentinel, Oklahoma with Bill Coffin officiating. Pallbearers were grandsons, Charles Ralph Freeman II, Barclay Joe Holt, Austin Michael Krieger, Gregory Linn Holt, Lane Odell Krieger, Jonathan Mark Holt, Weston Lee Graham, Cade Joshua Graham, and Joe Max Freeman. Services and burial were under the direction of the Musick – Varner Funeral Home, Sentinel, Oklahoma. Memorials may be made to the Charlie Freeman III Foundation for the Children’s Feeding Center in Ngodzi, Malawi Africa, located at any branch of the Great Plains National Bank; Church of Christ Disaster Relief Fund, or charity of your choice.