By Jan Irons Harris
I am only one of the many people who loved Chester Freeman. It didn’t take me long to meet Chester after moving here in early 2005 because he was highly visible in the Cullman community. He welcomed me, smiled, and let me know he was proud to have me in Cullman. I saw him often at community events, and each time I saw him, he smiled and encouraged me. He talked with a lilt as he told me he enjoyed reading about Cullman City Schools in the newspaper and he enjoyed watching us evolve as we tried new approaches with technology or creative programs.
It always made me happy when I had the opportunity to visit with Chester Freeman. He made me feel appreciated and loved. He was like the hundred-year-old oak trees on the Cullman Middle School campus. He was firmly rooted; he was strong and dependable. And, he was, metaphorically speaking, tall; Chester Freeman was a big man in town. He was respected and admired. And, if he spoke or someone said his name – well, everyone listened to what was being said.
Chester Freeman was a doer. He was a big thinker and a visionary leader. He cared about his community and used his gifts to make it better. He was a devoted husband and father. An encourager, he faithfully invested in people to accomplish his worthy goals. I will always think of Chester when I go to Heritage Park or the Field of Miracles.
At his beautiful funeral, St. Andrew’s Church was packed with people who tearfully said good-bye to Chester. Since that time, I have observed people still crying when they talk about this wonderful man named Chester Freeman.
As for me, I will miss seeing his smile, and hearing him tell me that he is proud of me. I am confident others feel the same way because I know that I am only one of the many people who loved Chester Freeman.
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