Steve Freese. Courtesy Family Photo.
Steve Freese. Courtesy Family Photo.

Steve Freese was born on June 3, 1948 and died on Nov. 12, 2014 from complications due to lung cancer. His wife, Laura Smyth Freese, and daughters, Corine Freese, Shauna Freese, and Alexa Freese Wiley were by his side along with other friends and relatives.

Though Steve accomplished a great deal, his greatest accomplishment was how he taught his friends and family to embrace life.

Steve found joy in the smallest things; like the flag waving on a hillside, the smell of fresh coffee or picking up a loved one from the airport. Steve lived a spiritual life: he fed the homeless, built houses for the poor and was kind and generous to everyone he ever encountered from the local pharmacist to the little kids in the neighborhood. He had an old fashioned sense of ethics and chivalry: he believed in the truth, fairness and protecting those weaker than himself. He had a huge number of friends because he made new friends everywhere and never lost a single one. His sincere smile welcomed all to his home and, if lucky, he provided a honky-tonk song on the guitar before they left.

Steve loved to laugh and never wanted to miss a moment of life. Even at the end of his life he stated with a whisper that he had “FOMO” (fear of missing out) when the morphine tempted him to sleep.

Though humble, Steve laughingly wrote a song about himself called “Steve Freese, what a handsome guy” which we sang at his bedside as he took his last breaths. His last wish was to go out laughing and he did.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to Lungevity.org for lung cancer research.

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comments (6)

  • Mechelle Lawrence Adams

    Steve Freese lived boldly. He was a mission volunteer, Portola Rider, San Juan Resident for decades, and husband of one of our staff, he sought solace in the St. Peregrine Chapel and was greatly loved by all who saw him regularly over last three years. As a 24 year resident he regularly promoted the Mission and was the impetus for our Yoga Centered Fundraising for St. Peregrine Chapel, for the American Cancer Society. I am proud of the positive impact that Steve left on the Mission and its team. we learned a lot about cancer first hand by seeing it. The Mission is inclusive and celebrates community members who make an impact on it in a positive way. At his passing, we tolled the bells proudly, like we did for former councilmember John Gelff, and many others whose ties to this place, this community represented new history. Rest in peace dear friend, and thank you for showing me again and again how powerful the Mission is as a place of solace and inspiration to loved ones.

    • Thank you, Mechelle, and all the staff of the Mission for your compassion and support. The death of a loved one is never easy but the tolling of the bells, the words of kindness and spirit of caring made it a softer blow. That is the true spirit of the Mission.

  • Laura, I am so sorry for your loss. I had the pleasure of meeting Steve on several occasions while covering San Juan. Like you, he was always gracious and kind. My thoughts are with you and the entire family.

    • Thank you, Brian. Steve Freese was the kind of guy that the world needs today. He fought for those who could not fight for themselves; he loved deeply; he was totally loyal, honest and kind. Laura

  • Laura, Please accept our sincere condolences to you and your Family.

  • Laura –

    So saddened to hear of Steve’s passing. As Mechelle stated, Steve was a bold guy – remember – he married a dynamo like you! Steve has graduated to the best place anyone can go and he’s caring and tending to those tasks that others stand in need of. Our thoughts are with you, HIS faithful servant. Love and prayers be with your family always.

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