On July 21, 1929, Janet Esther Ray Freeby, like her four brothers and one sister, was born in her parent’s farmhouse bedroom in Wilsey, Kansas. She was welcomed to Heaven on April 22, 2022 at the age of 92 by her loving husband, Frederick Raymond Freeby Jr. and her parents, Mildred Minerva Hewins and Earl Walter Ray. She was a well-treated resident at Homestead Assisted Living of Manhattan and was lovingly cared for in her final days at the local Good Shepherd Hospice House. Jan and Fred gave life to Larry Ray Freeby and Scott Richard Freeby and are survived by them and their wonderful families. They will be missed but we know that with Fred’s smile of an angel and Jan’s voice like a song… “Freddy and Jan Carry On.”
Jan attended the Wilsey Elementary school as the only girl in a class of 9 “ornery” boys (Jan’s consistent description). These same boys redeemed themselves by bringing the exact same gift (a plastic hairbrush and comb set in three colors procured at the local drugstore) to her 9th birthday party. Her family moved to Manhattan when Jan was in the fourth grade. She met Fred Freeby in Junior High. In High School, Fred pursued Jan until she finally placed him in the classification of High School Sweetheart. Jan and Fred graduated from Manhattan High School in the class of 1947 and were married on August 7, 1949. They celebrated 71 glorious years of marriage before Fred’s passing in 2020. Jan and Fred were life-long Christians who were charter members of the Blue Valley Memorial United Methodist Church of Manhattan.
Jan initially went to work at Kansas Farm Bureau to earn enough to pay for a refrigerator. Her beautiful smile, infectious giggle, and lasting friendship saw her through a 42-year career with the Kansas Farm Bureau Life Company. Her compassionate nature drew her to leadership positions in many local service clubs including Beta Sigma Phi, AAUW, and the Riley County Historical Society. Jan was as lovely as the geraniums she sold in her beloved Pilot Club – in which she was a charter member in 1963. Although her studies as an English Major in college were put on hold for her family, she pioneered a distance learning program at Kansas State University and received her diploma in 1976.
Jan loved spending time with friends, “shoppy-shopping,” playing card games, singing at clubs and church, dancing and attending McCain events with her sweetheart, Fred. Jan would light up a room just by entering it. Imagine heaven now! She was beautiful inside and out. The many lives she positively impacted with her kindness and wit are numerous indeed! May we continue her legacy of loving others.
Jan loved being with family and attending their concerts and theatrical performances. Mom and Granny were the names she loved best. From Larry and Pat (Mallon) came David, his wife Ginger (Straw) and their daughter Emily; and Daniel. From Scott and Diane (Sweeney) came Anna, her husband, Kent Buys, their sons, Milo and Oliver; Claire, her husband, Brantley Brooks, their children, Maya, Jacob, and Bryson Frederick; and Parker. She was the best Mom and Granny!
Visitation will be held Friday night, May 13 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. The Celebration of Life Service will be held Saturday, May 14 at 10:00 a.m. Family and friends are welcome to both held at the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue in Manhattan, Kansas 66502 (also virtually available live on their Facebook page). Inurnment will be at Sunrise Cemetery in a private family ceremony.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Blue Valley Memorial United Methodist Church or to Good Shepherd Hospice House in Jan’s behalf – which can be directed to the Funeral Home. Online condolences can be left for the family through the funeral home website at: ymlfuneralhome.com