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Catherine and DeBow Freed Community Support Fund

Type: Designated

Catherine and DeBow Freed Community Support Fund

DeBow Freed was a celebrated veteran and educational leader. Catherine Freed was a career educator and faithful servant. Together the Freeds established a legacy of public service and commitment to community.

Catherine Moore Freed was the daughter of a prominent Army physician and grew up at their stations in Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Panama and Hawaii. She held Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees from the University of Texas, Master of Arts from the University of Kansas, and Doctor of Fine Arts (honorary) from Ohio Northern University. She taught at the Universities of Kansas and New Mexico as well as other colleges near their locations during DeBow’s military career. Catherine was active in campus and community affairs wherever they lived. She taught Bible study classes, served as a substitute minister in area churches, was on regional Girl Scouts councils and worked with several other charitable and service organizations. Catherine passed away at age 90 in 2016.

DeBow grew up on his family’s farm in Tennessee. He was appointed and graduated from West Point in 1946. He served overseas in the infantry for seven years in Japan, Germany, Iran, Korea and Vietnam. DeBow was chief of the nuclear branch of the Defense Atomic Support Agency where he was the principal briefer for the military on atomic and nuclear matters for three years. He concurrently earned his Ph.D. in nuclear engineering while on full-time active military duty. DeBow was later assigned to West Point to help modernize the physics program and create an academic major in nuclear engineering.

DeBow and Catherine Freed married in 1949 and they had one son, DeBow II, who was an outstanding scientist. DeBow II passed away in 2014 from the effects of cancer.

The Freeds greatly enjoyed military service but believed they could make additional contributions in private church-related higher education as part of their commitment to lifelong public service. DeBow retired after 23 years of active military duty and went into private higher education at Mount Union College where he was Dean of the College for five years. He was then elected President of Monmouth College where he served for another five years. He then became President of Ohio Northern University for 20 years and later served as President of the University of Findlay for seven years. All the institutions he served prospered greatly under his leadership. DeBow passed away at age 94 in 2020.

The Freeds established this fund through their estates to support organizations close to their hearts:

  • The University of Findlay
    • DeBow and Catherine Freed Contemporary Christian Lecture Series
    • Equestrian Teams
    • Curtain Raisers Society for the Performing Arts
    • Town and Campus Club
    • Faculty and staff enrichment study in the area of service to others and servant leadership
  • Mazza Museum
  • City Mission
  • Girl Scouts of Western Ohio
  • Boy Scouts of America, Black Swamp Area Council
  • Hancock County 4-H
  • Hancock County FFA programs
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