Robert Freeman

4 Freeman obit_PictureFormer Festival of Arts artist and board member Robert Freeman, aka Philip, died of natural causes on Feb. 13, 2013. Freeman was born in River Rouge, Mich., in 1925.

He met his wife to-be Jean Sampson at the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, which was later renamed the Center for Creative Studies. Both studied under famed ceramist John Foster. Freeman studied by the courtesy of the GI bill that provided for educational pursuits of veterans. While studying in Detroit, Freeman learned an ancient Chinese technique of glazing that produces crystalline formations. He developed crystalline and porcelain glazes, and at that time, he was one of six people in the United States that knew how to create these secret formulas.

Service in the Marines during World War II involved time spent in the Golden State. He fell in love with the West Coast and vowed to return. In 1952, he moved to Westminster, Calif., and convinced Jean to join him after she graduated from art school. They later married in 1954 and had two children. Both were on the Saddleback Community College faculty and together they set up the first educational programs at what is now Laguna Woods, where Freeman taught classes until he retired at age 65.

They moved to Dana Point in 1957, the same year the couple were juried into the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts fine art show. For 43 years, he showcased his crystalline glazed hand-thrown porcelain vases and pottery, included in permanent collections of the Detroit Museum of Art as well as 2,000 private and public collections.

Freeman served on the Festival of Arts board for two decades and held the position of president.

Freeman was predeceased by Jean, his wife of nearly 52 years. He is survived by his two sisters Joan Grace Greene and Nancy Joyce Durham, son Lance M. Freeman, daughter Paula Fowler, three married grand children and five great grand children.

A private memorial service will be held for Philip at Saint Edward the Confessor Church in Dana Point.

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