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F.R. Bud Freiheit obituary

F. R. “Bud” Freiheit, 97, of Owatonna, Minn. died on Saturday, March 2, 2024, at Benedictine Living Community in Owatonna.
Bud was born to Alice (Krinke) and Emil C. Freiheit in rural Chester Township, Wabasha County, Minn. on May 12, 1926. He attended Wabasha District 65 rural elementary school through 8th grade. Modern conveniences were conspicuously absent. There was no inside or outside plumbing. Water was “fetched” by two husky students, in a covered pail from the nearest farm site. (Jack and Jill never went to school here.) The two outdoor toilets were only heated by body heat. There was no playground equipment so there were no injuries. The school was heated with a wood burning stove, surrounded by a protective steel jacket to prevent contact and burns. The teacher had to start her own fire in the morning.
After graduation from District 65, Bud attended Lincoln High School in Lake City, and the school had all these wonderful conveniences which were non-existent at his previous school. He graduated with the class of ’44.
He then attended Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Ind., a private liberal arts institution with considerable emphasis on the sciences. It was while there he became interested in the funeral profession, which had already interested him in high school. At some time later, he had all the plans in place to attend the school of mortuary science at the University of Minnesota. But the Korean Conflict changed the plans permanently.
Bud had been a reservist with the 330th MP Battalion Headquarters, with offices in the lower level of the Norton Hotel in Rochester. (The Hotel was later destroyed by fire.) He was ordered for active duty during the Korena Conflict in 1952. (The USA has not officially declared a war since 1941.) He was ordered to the Provost Marshall’s school in Camp Gorden, Ga. (The name was later changed to Fort Gordon) for Military Police training.
After the MP training, Bud was assigned as cadre with the 10th Infantry Division, which was then a training division at Camp Funston of Ft. Riley, Kan.
During this period of Bud’s service, Military Intelligence had concerns that if hostilities should occur between the US and Russia, an air attack from Russia over the north polar region could be anticipated against major populated industrial targets in north central US. He was transferred to Headquarters 79th AAA Battalion (gun) (120mn) (Static) Ravenwood Station, Battery D 79th AAA. After additional training he was promoted to Gun Commander with a combat operational crew of 13, not including radar supporting personnel. There were several gun placements placed in and around Chicago and other large cities. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant and served 27 months.
After completing his military commitment, Bud was employed by American Bakeries of Chicago – a large commercial baking operation, wholesaling fresh bakery products to various retailer accounts. He was a salesman for 14 years with this company.
Then a personal friend who was an insurance underwriter, Richard Shearer, made a recommendation to his company’s HR department that they should consider hiring Bud. This recommendation was favorably considered, and an offer was made. The offer was accepted, Bud was hired as an insurance examiner by Federated Insurance Company of Owatonna. One of the conditions of employment was if the employee wanted to advance, they had to work two years in the field.
After less than two years, Bud was offered the position of Supervisor of the Loss Control Department in the Atlanta division. Again, he accepted the offer but wondered if he had overstepped his abilities this time. On his arrival, he did an assessment of the problems needing attention because the department had been without direction for some time. The next move was to assign priorities to the problems.
Approximately six years later, Bud’s superior in the Owatonna home office wrote a letter of commendation to him, recognizing that the Atlanta Loss Control Department was now functioning as a contributing team member to the goals of the company. He was transferred back to Owatonna and given an assignment of coming up with a revised training program for the new hires in the Loss Control Deptartment. The former training program was basically an OJT program. (On the job training.) The new plan had two weeks of classroom work, and then ten weeks of field training. The two weeks provided introductory knowledge for the new person of what they could anticipate in the field training.
Bud was promoted to Regional Loss Control Manager.
Federated had expanded its marketing area into the greater northwest states. Bud was heavily involved with recruiting and training in the expansion of the Loss Control Department for this new area. The first two new hires were headquartered in Spokane and Vancouver, Wash.
When Bud was approached about what he would like for a retirement gift, he was advised that no retiree had ever previously requested a Stihl chain saw. He had great fun felling dead trees on his wood lot, cutting the tree up into large blocks, and splitting the thoroughly frozen blocks with a 12 pound splitting maul. He had given his golf clubs away to his son years ago so he could have more enjoyable time gardening, raising Heritage raspberries, and growing flowers. And innovative device was devised to stop the wild coons from raiding and destroying the sweet corn crop in a single night. An electric fence of five strands of smooth wire spaced about six inches apart encircled the patch. An electric livestock fencer was connected to the fence. The coons were stopped, but occasionally a skunk would accidentally contact the fence and leave an aromatic calling card.
Back in about 1950, Bud and three of his friends decided to organize a quartet, they had already been singing together for some time. George Hermann did the directing and sang baritone, Morgan Roland sang first tenor, Rev. Rus O’Hara lead singer, and Bud second bass. The quartet was named The Kingsmen Gospel Quartet. Practice was required once a week. A Webcor Wire recorder was purchased, practices were recorded and replayed to critique the harmony, diction and timing. (Wire was the forerunner as a recording medium prior to tape.)
The songs were southern in nature and similar to those commonly sung by the Blackwood’s and Stamps-Baxter quartets. The Kingsmen Gospel Quartet sang in various churches in Minnesota, and Iowa and some community events. The original four members sang together for over 60 years.
Bud married Elva Mae Anderson, daughter of Ray and Mabel Anderson of rural Zumbro Falls, Minn. on August 12, 1950. The marriage was in the German Evangelical Church of Hammond, Minn. The ceremony was officiated by the groom’s brother, Rev. Floyd L. Freiheit.
In their 67 years of marriage, he and his wife – Elva Mae, built eight new homes and were the first occupants in each of them. She died August 22, 2017.
Psalm 139:16 “All the days ordained for me, were written in Your Book, before one of them came to be.”
Bud is survived by his son, Ronald R. Freiheit of Owatonna; nieces, Kathleen (Freiheit) Robbins, and Betty Lou (Freiheit) Harries, both of Bartlesville, Okla., Eileen (Issendorf) Linscheid of Lake City; nephews, Lavern “Pete” Freiheit of Red Wing, and Larry “Art” Freiheit of Clinton, Mo. He was preceded in death by his parents, Emil C. and Alice Freiheit; sisters, Dorothy (Freiheit) Jones, and Hazel (Freiheit) Issendorf; and brothers, Rev. Floyd L. Freiheit, and Louis P. Freiheit; and nephew Dennis Issendorf.
The funeral service will be held on Thursday, March 7, at 11 a.m. at Ranfranz & Vine Funeral Homes Chapel in Rochester with Pastor Brent Carlson officiating. Friends and family may visit one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. Burial will follow the luncheon at Dale Pleasant Prairie Cemetery in rural Zumbro Falls.
Arrangements entrusted to Schleicher Funeral Homes, Plainview Chapel, the guest register may be signed at

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ISSN 2994-1059 (print)  ISSN 2994-1067 (online)