On May 3, 2014, Thomas Coleman Freund, “slipped the surly bonds of earth – put out his hand, and touched the face of God.”* His loving family and friends were honored to be by his side, both in his presence and from many miles away. Tom’s journey began on October 24, 1930 in Crenshaw, Mississippi. He was the 12th of 13 children of William J. Freund and Elizabeth Jane (King) Freund. He has been reunited with 9 of his brothers and sisters, leaving 3 sisters to cherish his memory, Edna Upchurch, Texarkana, AR, Ann Burns, Claremont, CA and Elizabeth Beland, Bloomington, IN. As one of the youngest in a large and loving family, Tom grew to be resourceful, quick-witted, and curious about the world around him. Bestowed with natural warmth and charm, he built life-long friendships that now encompass multiple generations and nationalities from around the world. At a young age, just out of high school, Tom joined the Navy serving his country in the Korean War. After 4 years of service in the Navy he continued his military career in the Air Force Cadet program where he earned his commission as an officer. This was followed by another 21 years of patriotic service. Once again he answered his country’s call when needed, completing 150 missions as an F-4 fighter pilot over the skies of Vietnam, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross and an Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters. Tom met the love of his life, Joanna Green in Nashville, TN. After a whirlwind romance of red roses, dancing and basketball games, they were united in marriage on March 28, 1954. Tom’s military career soon had them traveling frequently across the nation where they were joined by a son, Charles A. Freund, in Nashville, TN, daughter, Susan K. (Freund) Strode in Woodstock, IL, daughter Linda G. (Freund) Bull, in Madison, WI, and daughter Wendy K. (Freund) Elizardo in Moses Lake, WA. Tom and Joanna embraced the Air Force life and camaraderie that accompanied it. They loved to entertain, whether Tom was playing the guitar around the campfire or dressing up for their Annual Halloween party. From retirement parties to birthdays and wedding receptions, any occasion was an excuse to pull out all of the stops, from turning their backyard into a tropical, elegant Hawaiian Luau one year, to converting their garage into a Hippie-Hangout the next. In 1976, Tom retired at Carswell AFB in Fort Worth, TX. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from Texas Commerce University and joined American Airlines as a flight instructor. This new career allowed Tom and Joanna to continue their love of travel, from planned excursions across Europe to impromptu weekend trips to the Caribbean. Friends and family could never be sure when Tom and Joanna would decide to “pop-in” for a wedding or party, whether across the country or even on the other side of the world. In 1999 they lived out Tom’s life-long dream by moving to a beautiful home on Eagle Mountain Lake, where Tom loved to host and entertain his growing family which now included his daughter-in-law Valerie Freund, son-in-laws, Ronny Strode, Alan Bull and Eddie Elizardo, and especially, the apples of his eye, his devoted grandchildren, Kellen Freund, Parker and Lane Strode, and Stefan and Gianna Elizardo. Family and friends came from around the world to enjoy swimming, boating, cook-outs, and his endless hospitality. Throughout his life, Tom lived by his Christian faith. From his humble beginnings he had a life of amazing experiences and travels, and he dealt with loss and sorrows. But he always showed through his daily actions how to find the good in each day and that life is too short not to see our blessings. He lived with grace and humor, a fighter to the end. He will be missed, but his memories will endure and bring many smiles and laughter through the tears. Tom is also survived by his sister-in-law, Rose Green, of Hurst, TX, as well as numerous nieces and nephews who loved their “Uncle Cokie”. His family would like to say a special thank you to New Century Hospice of Fort Worth, to his sweet Joyce, and to all of the caregivers who shared in the last journey of his earthly life. A memorial service in his honor will be held on May 14, 2014, 2:30 pm at DFW National Cemetery, to be followed by a celebration of his life at Tom and Joanna’s home in Fort Worth, TX. In lieu of flowers, the family would like to suggest a remembrance donation to the Foundation for PSP at CurePSP.org or The Dudley Moore Research Fund for PSP *High Flight Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long delirious, burning blue, I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or even eagle flew - And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod The high untresspassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand and touched the face of God John Gillespie Magee, Jr
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