Cover photo for John E. Freije's Obituary
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1939 John 2017

John E. Freije

July 26, 1939 — October 25, 2017

Edward “John” Freije died Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at his home in Mayville, North Dakota. John was 78.

John was born in Lawton, North Dakota on July 26, 1939 to Shabel & Martha Freije and was the 13th of 15 children. He graduated high school in Edmore, ND and went onto attend Business School in Grand Forks, ND.
His early years were spent operating heavy equipment in Ramsey County. He would often tell his kids about the roads he had built and how he often wished he could continue to run the equipment of his youth.

While attending a wedding dance, he met the love of his life, Merle Olson of Starkweather, ND. He attempted to give her a ride home and when she declined the offer, he asked her mother who, thinking he was a good catch, gave her permission for him to give Merle a ride home. They were married in Starkweather in June 1962. In 1964, daughter Kathy was born and in 1968, daughter Kristine was born. John’s love for his girls was evident in the daily phones he made to them up until his passing.

John & Merle moved to Mayville, in 1963, where he owned & operated the Coast to Coast Store. He then purchased the John Deere Implement in 1970. In 2003, John decided to retire. Retirement lasted two months, when he accepted an offer to be a salesman for Hunter Equipment in Hunter, ND where he worked until he truly retired at age 75 in 2015.

John loved his family, his community, John Deere, hunting, cars and time with friends. He served as Mayor of Mayville for 20 years, and could most often be found fixing something, helping someone or in his woodshop.

John was preceded in death by his parents (Shabel and Martha), 6 brothers (Raymond, George, Shabel Jr., Alfred, Bob and Bud), 5 sisters (Evelyn, Gloria, Devona, Yvonne and Sadie) and his one true love, his wife Merle.

He is survived by brothers Howard Dean (MaryAnn) of Grand Forks, ND; Arnie (Jeanne) of Warroad, MN, sister Delores McCown, of Grand Prairie, TX; and sister in laws Pat (Bob) Freije and Gloria (Raymond) Freije; daughter Kathy (Rich) Thompson of Eagan, MN; daughter Kristine (Brian) Olson of Fargo, ND; Grandchildren Tori Thompson, Ian Thompson, Sydney Olson and Micah Olson.

Memorials can be made to the Essentia Health Regional Foundation, 3000 32nd Avenue South, Fargo, North Dakota 58103.

Visitation: Will be from 5–7 PM on Monday, October 30, 2017 with 7:00 PM Public Prayer Service followed by a Masonic Service at the Baker
Funeral Home Chapel in Mayville, ND and resumes one hour prior to the service at the church.

Funeral Service: 10:00 AM Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at the Mayville Lutheran Church in Mayville, ND.

Burial: Will be 3 PM Tuesday at the Trinity-Bergen Cemetery in Starkweather, ND.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John E. Freije, please visit our flower store.


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