James Rush Freeman
Prominent residential and multi-family home-builder, civic leader and philanthropist died in Phoenix, Arizona on August 4, 2010. Born in Savannah, Tennessee on April 2,1943, Jim graduated from Columbia Military Academy, Georgia Tech, and Harvard Business School, and served in Viet Nam as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army from 1968-70.
Following his Army commitment, Jim worked as a developer in Los Angeles and Portland before being recruited to Phoenix by Lincoln Property Company. Over the next thirty years, he became Regional Partner of Lincoln Property Company, CEO of Gemini Development, and President of Keepsake Homes.
In addition to his significant professional career achievements, Jim reached out to respond to community needs by serving on many community boards including Junior Achievement, Brophy College Preparatory, Foster Care Review, Arizona Multi-Housing Association, the Phoenix Symphony, Delta Dental Foundation, and the Harvard Business School Alumni Board. He chaired Junior Achievement, the Arizona Multi-Housing Association, and the City of Phoenix Block Grant Program. In addition, Jim was active in Habitat for Humanity and on many government and nonprofit task forces and oversaw capital construction projects at the Arizona Science Center, Junior Achievement, and Brophy College Preparatory.
Although Jim was an avid hiker, tennis player, and golfer, it was flying that captured his heart. He earned his single engine, IFR, and multi-engine ratings and was a seasoned and experienced pilot of 38 years. Jim’s favorite trips were cross-country flights from Phoenix to his NC summer home and his Hardin County roots as well as to Oshkosh’s Annual Airshow. A passionate traveler, he loved seeing the world at ground level as well as looking down through the clouds.
Above all, Jim cherished family and friends. He was a devoted husband and found great pleasure in coaching his daughters’ softball teams and supporting the projects of friends. Warm, trustworthy, and loyal, his memory will always be treasured by those who were fortunate enough to know this remarkable man and be blessed by his unfailingly kind, generous, and gentle spirit.
He is survived by his wife and life partner, Barbara (BJ) Freeman, daughters Kate Sheffield Freeman and Robin Stanley Freeman, sisters Anne Freeman Trejo of Pickwick and Julia Freeman Guy of Columbus, Ohio, mother-in-law Jean T. Brown as well as numerous in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews, and nephew/shared son Stuart Brown Evans.
A celebration of Jim’s life was held on Monday, Aug. 9, at 5 p.m. in the Great Hall at Brophy College Preparatory, 4701 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, Ariz.
To honor Jim’s memory and acknowledge his enduring commitment to education, the family has established the James Rush Freeman III Fund at the Arizona Community Foundation to provide enriching educational opportunities for at risk youth. Contributions can be sent to ACF, c/0 the Fund, at 2201 E. Camelback Rd., Ste 202, Phoenix, AZ 85016.