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Published: Thursday, 4/13/2006

Black-student leader noted for friendliness

BOWLING GREEN - Byron D. Freeman, 28, a former president of Bowling Green State University's Black Student Union, died of cancer Sunday in his apartment here.

Mr. Freeman was president of the Black Student Union when he attend the university in the late 1990s. During the same time, he also was a counselor with the university's Upward Bound program for high school students planning to go to college.

"Byron Freeman was a full and total embodiment of friendship, love, and determination," said Stanley Jackson, Jr., a former fellow student and fraternity brother. "He taught us the true meaning of friendship. He could take the most minute thing about you and highlight it and make you [feel] that you are the only one in the world to possess this quality."

Two Bowling Green State University Foundation's scholarships were named in his honor - the Byron D. Freeman Upward Bound Scholarship and the Byron D. Freeman Scholarship.

His sister, Jenel M. Freeman, said he was a driven man who was working toward his doctoral degree in psychology with an ultimate goal of opening a practice in rehabilitative psychology. "He had a passion for helping others," she said. "And he was very generous in giving his time and talent, both professionally and to his family and his friends."

A Columbus native, Mr. Freeman graduated from Scott High School in Toledo in 1995 and enrolled at BGSU.

He later got a bachelor's degree in psychology and another bachelor's degree in telecommunications, both in 1999 from BGSU, and a master's degree in rehabilitation psychology in 2002, also from BGSU.

For the last few years, Mr. Freeman and his brother, Tyson W. Freeman, operated Image Imperial LLC, a photography, engraving, and design company in Toledo, which they founded in about 2002.

Most recently, since 2005, Byron Freeman had been doing his doctoral studies in psychology at the University of Iowa.

Mr. Freeman was a lifelong member of Mays Chapel United Holy Church of America in Toledo, where his late father, the Rev. Franklin Freeman, was a pastor. The older Mr. Freeman died in 1996.

Byron Freeman also was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

Surviving are his mother, Janet Freeman-Thurston; stepfather John Thurston; brothers, Franklin Freeman II and Tyson W. Freeman; sister, Jenel M. Freeman, and grandparents, Francis and Madelee Freeman.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in First Church of God, 3016 Collingwood Blvd. Toledo. The body will be at the Dale-Riggs Funeral Home Chapel after 5 p.m. tomorrow.

The family suggests tributes to the Byron D. Freeman Scholarship or the Byron D. Freeman Upward Bound Scholarship, both at the Bowling Green State University Foundation.

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