the top of the page you will see links to more photos of Katherine, along
message board for you to leave your thoughts, feelings and fond memories
Arthur's tribute page, photo gallery and message board are also linked
You are about to meet two remarkable
Proverbs 31:26-28 states it well,
"She speaks with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her
tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household, and does
the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her."
A definition of success: "Those who are
closest to you love you the most." If this is a valid concept of
a public/private life of integrity -- a life well lived -- Katherine Freeman
(Oma, to her grandchildren) was one of the many unsung
heroes who have journeyed their way through life on this planet...who have
epitomized this statement.
Katherine's main focus in life truly was heaven.
Loving and serving her family (Arthur, Nancy, Stephen, Joel and
Beth) was the main purpose of her life. She was the
heart of the family. Studying the Bible,
singing/humming hymns around the house and prayer were the main
disciplines that cascaded down from her consciousness of living
for all eternity with Jesus. And did she pray!!!
Eternity will reveal it all. On earth we view
some people as celebrities and others as important world
leaders. Perhaps it's an upside down view of eternal
reality. While in later years Katherine was physically frail, there is no doubt that in heaven Katherine
was (and is) viewed as
one who impacted the world from her knees. Smashing beyond
the four walls of her bedroom...doing battle in the invisible
realm. A world leader, a commanding general, someone who lived
the warrior ethos -- known
and respected by angels everywhere. Feared by demons throughout
the universe. Famous in heaven. Famous in hell.
Here is an
unsolicited note from a family friend who visited Katherine
while she was in the hospital: "I've
been to Burnaby General a few times in the past couple of
weeks... elderly parents of good friends are there, possibly
close to their "glory going time." They are 90 and 91, married
64 years. The wife is possibly the most passionate person I know
when it comes for a deep heart love for Jesus and pleasing him.
I think all of Heaven will roar when she passes through the
gates. Although she is not in any pain or really ill... just old
age, she is so eager for her time to go, and just for the sake
of seeing Jesus that she is almost pained by staying here,
although she dearly loves her husband, kids, grand kids, etc.
One of those people who, when you are with them, you almost feel
you are trespassing on holy ground."
Funk & Wagnall's dictionary defines the word godly
as "filled with love for God." W.E Vine's Expository Dictionary
of New Testament Words states that the term godly is
"...characterized by a Godward attitude, does that which is
pleasing to Him...the reverence of God..." Katherine's name
should be included in both definitions as a down-to-earth
illustration of the meaning of the word.
Katherine had her heart and mind on the
invisible much of the time -- almost like she had one foot in
heaven and the other foot on a banana peel. With her love for
eternity, she was still very practical about life here on earth.
You've heard of the phrase that depicts hyper-spirituality: "She's so heavenly minded that she's
of no earthly good." Well...the phrase that's true about Katherine
changes it up a bit with an opposite meaning, "She was
heavenly minded so that she could be of greater earthly good."
A hard worker.
Uncomplaining. Never an unkind word about anyone else. Giving
until it hurts and then giving some more. Would give her full
attention when talking with you. Extremely frugal.
Loved her HUGE vegetable garden, which us kids had to weed. A
big fan of vitamin pills, cod liver oil, flax seeds,
carrot juice (drank so much my hands seemed to turn a subtle
shade of orange...honest), liverburgers (her version of
Hamburger Helper...50% liver & 50% hamburger -- awful!), brewers yeast
(yuk), pep-up health drink concoction (triggered the gag reflex), etc.
Enthusiastic about projects, like unusual campmobile
that would provide basic traveling accommodations without the need for
staying at motels or eating at restaurants. Well educated.
Intelligent. Fluent in German ("aber junge!"), with a rudimentary
understanding of Russian. Very focused on some things, absent-minded about
other things. A "packrat" of odd items like Mason jars.
An incredible wife, mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, aunt,
friend and neighbor. It's all true.
She endeared herself to others in such a
genuinely "unselfconscious" manner. Plain and simple: To know
her was to love her. But everyone who knew her...knew that her
ultimate focused attention was truly on heaven.
Katherine had a regimen. On certain days of the
week she would pray for certain people and certain countries. If
she had met a person she would remember details about that
person that were uncanny. Months later she would ask, "So, how
is so and so?" And then she would recount aspects of their life
that were obviously part of her prayer regimen.
Katherine was a selfless person who modeled putting others ahead of
her personal desires. By the way, once you are finished reading this
page about Katherine, feel free to visit Arthur's tribute page
HERE. The following vignette
about Katherine (told by Nancy Freeman
was characteristic of her life:
In 1954, our family of four, with a baby on the way, moved
into an old Litchfield, Maine parsonage that lacked indoor
plumbing. Dad (Arthur) was the principal of Litchfield
Academy, and the interim pastor of two local churches.
Having a great love for the local young people, our
parents started a youth group that quickly outgrew their
small quarters. Knowing that Mom (Katherine) was about to
have a third child, the head of the church board
approached her about building an indoor bathroom.
thoughtfully considered their tempting proposal, but said,
“No.” Her desire was that they take the funds and remodel
the shed, attached to the house, into a youth meeting
room. She knew the next occupants of the parsonage would
get a bathroom; however, the youth would not get their
meeting room. The board did as she desired, and the
church had a thriving youth group for a number of years,
while we, as a family, continued to use the outdoor
If there was one thing that Katherine struggled with
in the early years it was the spirit of fear. Tracing back to her
childhood one could understand why. She was born in the Ukraine
during the height of the Russian Revolution. It was a time of
upheaval, with her father (a respected educator) and mother
experiencing much uncertainty at this time before taking advantage
of a small window of opportunity to come over to Canada, with the
help of the Mennonites.
Her father (Gerhard Schroeder) had his life
threatened numerous times by bandits who thought of life as of
little to no value. The stories we have read in Gerhard's book,
Miracles of Grace and Judgment,
are gripping enough. Who knows what Katherine saw, heard or felt
during the first four or five years of her life that will never be
chronicled in any book but were a part of her psyche?
Happiness and depression never mix. Joy and sorrow
mix all the time. We're still here, but she has arrived...with a
celestial reception beyond description.
Who will pick up her mantle of intercessory prayer?
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great
cloud of witnesses (Katherine has a front row seat), let us throw off
everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us, and
let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix
our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." Hebrews
Click on image to visit
Vignettes (verbal snapshots) of Katherine:
Humming hymns while washing dishes, cooking or scrubbing
the kitchen floor...
Apologizing for something benign, wanting to make sure that
there was no offense so that she was keeping short accounts with
the Holy Spirit and with the other person...
On her knees, deeply in prayer by her bed, with the Daily Light
open before her...
Pushing clothes down into the agitated water of the old
wringer washing machine in the basement of the apartment in
Sitting at a desk writing an encouraging letter
or note to yet another person...
We are not human beings having a spiritual
Rather, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
Conway Twitty released a song years ago entitled “Who Will Pray
For Me Now That Mama's Gone?”. My siblings and their families
will all greatly miss Oma's powerful prayers. She prayed for us
every day but she had
certain days each week set aside for intercessory prayer for her
individual children. Psalm 116:14 says, “Precious in the sight of
the Lord is the death of His saints”. Catholics have their saints in
death. Mom was truly a living saint. She impacted all those
who were privileged enough
to have spent any significant time with her.
at funerals you hear such positive glowing words about the
deceased that you wonder if they are talking about the same
person you knew. The testimonies you will hear and read about my
mother are the real thing – no
embellishments – because she was the genuine
Godly women of Proverbs 31. She was the same sweet person
outside our home as she
was in it. She never complained about her circumstances.
At Prairie (PBI, Three Hills, Alberta), where we lived at near
poverty levels, she praised God for the
privilege of serving and
training others for Christ. She lived
Philippians 4:11, “For I have learned
whatever state I am in, to be content”. She sang hymns with
gusto all day as she cleaned the house, prepared meals, washed
our clothes and hung them out to dry. We would hear
hallelujahs as she put patches on the
clothes she bought for us at the
second-hand Tillie Shop. She stretched a dime into a dollar as
she filled our bellies with goulash,
mac and cheese, meatloaf and other basic staples.
She was never
depressed, never gossiped or maligned others. One time my sister
Beth had to step in and tell a relative, who my mother was only
sharing the love of Jesus with, that she could not communicate
with mom again if she was going to keep ripping into her. My
mother had no natural or developed defenses against nasty
people. She did not live there.
L to R: Stephen Freeman, Nancy (Freeman) Brown,
Joel Freeman, Beth (Freeman) Hankinson -- 2007 [ Her children rise up and call her Blessed ]
Once when I was younger, my mother came to me with tears streaming
down her face as she begged my
forgiveness for punishing
me in anger. At this time in my life I was very familiar with
corporal punishment administered with emotional zest and what my
mother had just given me did not have that signature. But my mother
insisted that she had felt anger in her heart toward me.
Mom had no time for television or radio except to watch 700 Club or
other Christian programs. She was too busy in her spare time reading
her Bible and devotional material. Many a time I heard her praying
for me on her knees as she implored
the Lord to turn me around. At the age of twenty, I was involved in
a lucrative business in Portland, Maine with my friend Ken LaRose.
God put a burden on the heart of my mother to go visit me. My mother
was a very tranquil women but she had a fire in her belly when it
came to the spiritual condition of others especially her children.
She was a real closer for God. I knew what was right but I was
making too much money in something I should not have been involved
with. Mom got me to admit that I really did want to follow the Lord.
Then she told me to go get my Bible and write in it a date in the
future when I would follow Jesus. God used this visit to turn my
heart towards Him and I became a committed Christian soon after this
visit. Her prayers and unconditional love would not release me to a
satisfied ungodly life no matter how much I tried.
Isaiah 55:11 states that "God's Word will not return empty, but will
accomplish what God desires and achieve His purpose." Proverbs 22:6
says “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is older he
will not depart from it”. I was a product of this kind of parenting.
Even though I rebelled as I grew older I could not turn from it.
Every Saturday after cleaning my room and weeding a few
rows in our immense garden,
Mom made me learn a verse from the Bible before I could go out to
play. These Bible verses still
remain a part of me today.
Inspiring and convicting me. She read to us stories of great
Christians like Hudson Taylor, C.T. Studd, George Mueller, D.L.
Moody, Billy Sunday and others. My brother, Joel, and my favorite was
“Land of the Giants” (by Harry Rimmer) which was probably read to us at least five times.
In 2003 Bruce
and Nancy showed up, as a surprise,
to visit dad and mom. This was the wonderful "mom" response when one of us kids arrived unannounced. I can almost see this same
look of genuine affection & surprise when she saw Jesus -- face
to face. It's a treasured glimpse into her heart of
unconditional love. A classic "mom moment" captured forever in digital.
My sons all have wonderful birthday cards, Christmas cards, letters
and inscribed Bible story books from Oma and Opa. Each one is
festooned with a Bible verse sticker and words of Godly
encouragement from their Oma.
I will always think of my mother when I hear some of the old hymns
that she loved to sing. Songs like “O, For a Thousand Tongues to
Sing”, “Guide me, O Thou Great Jehovah”, “Leaning on the Everlasting
Arms”, "It Is Well With My Soul", “Rock of Ages”,
"He Hideth My Soul", “Showers of Blessing”, “Great is Thy
Faithfulness” and “God Be with You Until We Meet Again”. I was able
to sing “God be with You Until We Meet Again” through my tears to my
mother over the telephone in her final hours. Over the last few
years whenever Mom was very sick you could always instantly lift her
spirits by starting to sing an old hymn. She would be right there
with you doing her best to sign along.
My mother's greatest hearts desire was for all her children and
grandchildren to serve the Lord. She lead by example as she lived a
life completely devoted to God. She could only handle secular
discussions for so long before she would gently steer
the conversation to the spiritual
dimension. My mother truly lived with her
head in the cloud of
Heavenly Places. She always reminded us to live for the Lord so we
would have rewards to lay at the feet of Jesus. I believe my
faithful mother is laying a mountain of rewards at the feet of Jesus
Mother was a beautiful women with a beautiful voice in her youth.
She was voted College Sweetheart at Gordon College in Boston. She
and her sister Margaret sang on the
radio and in churches all over the country representing Gordon
College. I see my mother in my mind today as she appeared in her
youthful pictures. Restored as a young beautiful songbird radiating
as she sings praises to her beloved Lord and Saviour.
It was not a great
transition from earth to heaven for her. She is Home!
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Imitate me just as I also
imitate Christ. I want to
be more like my precious Mama.
I love you
The blessed hope is I know I will be with you again. Only at that time
there will be no sorrow or separation.
As Mom would say, Eternal Hallelujahs!!!
Don't forget to leave
on the Message Board
If you have not made your peace with God, Katherine would boldly
tell you that even at 90 years of age, this life is but a short period of time. She would
then invite you to ask Jesus (the real Reason for living) to come into your
life and heart and to take over. “Jesus, I realize that I am a
sinner and that You died on the cross as payment for my sins. Please
forgive me and accept me just as I am. I receive you into my life
right now as my Personal Savior. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. I
want to live for You -- for the rest of my life.”
On February 14th at around 6:16pm (PST) Katherine passed from this place we all call "reality" and entered
into another realm. One split second later she could attest to a remarkable reality
-- making peace with the Lord is the most important gift anyone can
receive. Katherine is absent from her
earthly body and present with the Lord. What a triumphant homecoming
for a life well-lived! By the way, how large was the choir of angels
awaiting her arrival? Has she already checked out her mansion (with
boxed Mason jars in the kitchen closet)?
To the right
is the slideshow Steve Hankinson put together
for viewing before and after Oma’s memorial service. It’s 8 ˝
minutes long with pictures spanning Mom’s life (not in
chronological order) – Steve Freeman found the picture of Mom
being baptized in the Red River, Manitoba at age 12 by her Dad
(Gerhard Schroeder) about 24 hours before the service on
Monday – that is the prized picture in our opinion as it
figured largely into Mom’s eulogy (in her own words) and in a
short testimony we have on tape that Mom gave at a Schroeder
family reunion in 1976. There is no music on this YouTube
piece due to copyright laws. You'll have to hum -->
-- Do you have any fond
memories, personal stories or experiences that will help
everyone to get a greater glimpse into the life of Katherine
Freeman? If so, please
Message Board designed for you to share your fond
memories for others to read. If the web forum
isn't working properly, please
those stories to us and we'll post them for you. Thanks for
stopping by to pay your respects to a wonderful woman.
2009 Valentine's Day Message
(read to her about six hours before she graduated into eternity)
It's Valentine's Day and I wanted to take some time to
share my thoughts with you. I do not know if you will
even be able to comprehend what is being communicated,
but please think of this as a dozen roses especially
I have been blessed to have you as my mother for the
past 54 years. Your mothering methods have changed to
adapt to whatever stage of growth I was experiencing
throughout my life. But your mother's heart of love
toward me has never changed.
As I reflect back on your mothering, I realize more
and more that you have been a stable influence of
prayer, gratitude toward the Lord regardless of the
circumstances, hard work, watching over our health,
frugality, integrity and whispering words of
encouragement into my ear whenever I call on the
I know that God is the One who ultimately gives us the
proper hatred for sin, evil and injustice. I also know
that it is God who gives us the love for His Word, His
plan for our lives and for others. But you were the
one who modeled these things for me. You gave me a
desire to want what you lived. You were the one who
read the Word, prayed and loved me when I was
unlovable. I still remember walking by your bedroom
many time and hearing you intercede for me and the
other children through the closed door.
Please know that I will be sad when your soul leaves
this earth. There will be an ache, a hole in my heart
that will never quite be filled. But also there will
be joy...knowing that you will be basking in the
presence of the One who knows everything about us and
still recklessly loves us -- Jesus Christ.
God has been your audience. You have lived out your
life before Him. You have impacted more lives just by
being friendly, genuinely concerned when you needed to
be, writing letters of encouragement filled with
Scriptures, and by praying relentlessly for others
around the world. Thank you for your selflessness...in
spite of the many challenges that surrounded you on
many fronts. You have been a faithful woman of God and
I rise up and call you "Blessed."
You are my Valentine. As my mother, you have my heart
today and forever. I will live the rest of my life
seeking to honor your legacy of integrity, generosity
and your focus on eternal value -- with every fiber of my
being. I love you...xoxoxoxo
All my love,
The writer of Hebrews (chapter 11) talks about the faith of Abel,
Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah. He then goes on to state, "By faith he
home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country...For he
was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and
builder is God. All these people were still living by faith when they
died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and
welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and
strangers on the earth. People who say such things show that they are
looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the
country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. instead,
they were longing for a better country -- a heavenly one. Therefore
God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he prepared a city for
Katherine Freeman could be included in that list as a stranger/pilgrim,
forward to dwelling in a city not made with hands.
"Katherine Freeman --
prairie bible institute -- pbi -- harvester -- three hills -- brown -- hankinson
-- alberta -- british columbia -- canada -- servant -- schroeder -- arthur freeman -- eulogy -- funeral -- memorial -- life well lived -- joel