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Celebration of Life held at ASU for Jo Neal Freeman

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, reads a letter to Everette Freeman relating how Bishop and his wife valued Jo Freeman’s friendship.

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, reads a letter to Everette Freeman relating how Bishop and his wife valued Jo Freeman’s friendship.

ALBANY — A near-capacity crowd filled Albany State University’s ACAD Auditorium Monday to pay their respects to Jo Neal Freeman, wife of ASU President, Everette J. Freeman.

Freeman died March 2.

Following a musical number by the Albany Chorale and the ASU Concert Chorale and a reading of scripture by Mrs. Sylvia Berry, the “Celebration of Life Memorial” continued with various speakers commenting on the life of Mrs. Freeman, and their relationship with her.

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, of the Second Congressional District, read a letter he and his wife, Vivian, had sent to Everette, speaking to his loss and of how the Bishops had valued her friendship.

Mayor Dorothy Hubbard said that “while she could think of many positive adjectives” to describe Jo Freeman, what came first to her mind was the sincerity of the ASU First Lady.

“From the very first day I met her, Jo Freeman had the ability to make me feel like the two of us were the only people in the world. When she smiled at me, it was a smile as genuine as I’ve seen anyone do it.”

Other speakers at the memorial service included Chancellor Henry M. Huckaby of the University System of Georgia; Virginia Harris, president, ASU Foundation; Jane Willson, CEO/Owner, Sunnyland Farms, Inc.; Neshaszda Brown, Miss ASU 2011-2012; and Bertha McDonald of Albany Area Community Service Board.

Freeman was born in Washington, D.C. on July 21, 1953.

After graduation with a bachelors in sociology from Hampton University and a masters in social work from the University of Michigan, she worked for more than 25 years in the field of chemical dependency treatment as an administrator, manager and psychotherapist in the Detroit area.

She married Everette J. Freeman in 2006 and moved to Albany, working as clinical supervisor for the Albany Area Community Service Board and later at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

According to her friends and family, Jo Freeman loved people, traveling on her Honda 750 motorcycle, exercising, golfing, downhill skiing and movies.

She is survived by her husband, Everette; daughters, Mashon Gray, Dara Madzimoyo; four grandsons, Justin II, Jahi, Kachi, Bailo; brother Taalib-Din Uqdah and their two children, Abu Bakr and Aminah; and sister, Gina Neal of Jacksonville.