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Published: Friday, 4/9/2004

Lions Club regular built baseball park

CASTALIA, Ohio - Joseph P. Freeh, long active in the Castalia Lions Club and a former traffic manager at New Departure Hyatt Bearing Division of the General Motors Corp., Sandusky, died of a heart attack Monday while vacationing in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He was 71.

Born in Fremont, Mr. Freeh graduated in 1951 from Fremont St. Joseph High School. In the fall of that year, he enrolled in John Carroll University, completing a bachelor's degree in transportation in 1955.

He returned to Fremont to work several years for the Whirlpool Corp. in Clyde, Ohio. In the mid 1960s, he joined General Motors, where he oversaw material shipments in and out of the plant, then moved to Castalia in 1969.

He worked for the bearing division for 26 years, then retired to become a consultant for Janesville Products.

For many years, Mr. Freeh was active in the Castalia Lions Club, which raises money for community projects and supports efforts to fight blindness. He once served as president of the local chapter.

"He was pretty easygoing," Mark Freeh, his son, said. "He would do almost anything for you."

Mr. Freeh was involved in an assortment of club projects benefitting Castalia, including creating more baseball diamonds and improving Lions Park, and erecting a veterans war memorial on Main Street last year.

"They built basically a whole park of baseball fields," his son said.

In his spare time, he enjoyed golf and fished Lake Erie for perch and walleye. "It was more about being with friends than the actual fishing," his son said.

Mr. Freeh was a member of Holy Angels Catholic Church and a past president of the Sandusky Traffic Club. He was also a member of the Elks Lodge, the American Legion, and the Knights of Columbus.

Surviving are his wife, Kathleen; sons, Lonnie, Doug, and Mark; daughter, Julie Weng; sister, Jeanne Wade; brothers, James, Jack, and Jerry; and seven grandchildren.

Services will be held at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow at Holy Angels Catholic Church, Sandusky. The body will be in the Ransom Funeral Home after 2 p.m. today.

The family suggests tributes be to the Castalia Lions Club.

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