Cover photo for Dennis Lester Freeman's Obituary
Dennis Lester Freeman Profile Photo
1939 Dennis 2020

Dennis Lester Freeman

March 2, 1939 — May 31, 2020

Dennis Lester Freeman, 81, died from complications of Parkinson’s disease on Sunday, May 31, 2020 at Stratford Specialty Care in Stratford.

Born on March 2, 1939, in Paton, Dennis grew up in Gowrie and moved with his family to Spirit Lake, where he attended high school and played football. After attending Gustavus Adolphus College and graduating in 1961, he worked on the campus. In 1962, he married Mary Lou Hawkinson in St. Peter; they were the first Gustavus couple to be married in Gustavus’ newly built Christ Chapel.

Dennis and Mary Lou first settled in Des Moines, on Kingman Circle, where their first two children, Mark and Sara, were born. In 1966, they moved to Storm Lake, where they had two more children, Cary and Maret, and raised their family. In 1968, Dennis was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives representing Buena Vista County and served with his father, Lester, who represented Dickinson County. Dennis was reelected two times before stepping back from active political life in 1974. He never stepped back from political life all together, though, as politics was in his blood.

In Storm Lake, Dennis opened Freeman Insurance and Financial Services and made sure all the schoolteachers in Storm Lake had big calendars for their classrooms every year. He remained active in the Republican Party and many community activities. Dennis enjoyed the Fourth of July Celebrations in Storm Lake, where he and Mary Lou hosted numerous politicians on the front porch of their house on Lakeshore Drive. He could often be seen playing tennis at Chautauqua Park, riding bike to and from the office, or cheering on the Storm Lake Tornadoes and Buena Vista Beavers at sporting events. Along with others from the Storm Lake High Noon Kiwanis Club, he helped create the Storm Lake Basketball Jamboree and championed the concept and development of the Field of Dream Sports Complex. He was a member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.

In 1999, he moved to Ames and put out the Freeman Financial Services shingle there. He married Janice Peterson and together they enjoyed cheering on the Iowa State Cyclones. He remained active in the Republican Party and strived to meet as many Republican presidential candidates as possible that campaigned in Iowa.

In 2017, he moved back to Spirit Lake for a short period of time and has since been residing in care facilities in Gowrie and Stratford.

Dennis is preceded in death by his parents, Lester and Leona Freeman; his brother and sister-in-law, DeVere and Lois Freeman; and his first wife, Mary Lou Freeman. He is survived by his four children and their spouses, Mark (Chris) Freeman of Lititz, PA; Sara (John) Rekow of Chaska, MN; Cary (Todd) Friedrich of Alta, IA; and Maret (Edmund Ashley) Freeman of Portland, ME; 10 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, and his former wife Janice Peterson.

Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, a celebration of Dennis’ life will be held at a later date. To honor his memory, donations can be sent to Stratford Specialty Care in his name.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dennis Lester Freeman, please visit our flower store.


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