Eugene “Gene” Freda ’48, one of The Hun School’s oldest alums at ninety-four years old, passed away on Friday, January 20th. He was one of only twenty-four Hun students in 1944 and was taught personally by the School’s founder, Dr. John Gale Hun. After graduating, Mr. Freda earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Miami and then enlisted in the United States Air Force. He served until 1956, including tours in Germany and France. After completing his service, he became an active member of the Army Reserve and enjoyed a decades-long career as a field service engineer.
Mr. Freda was arguably the School’s most dedicated long-term volunteer. Though he never drew a salary, he worked tirelessly on our behalf for decades. He was proudly listed as a Class Agent every year since he graduated, happily writing letters to classmates, soliciting gifts, and keeping friends connected. Dr. Chesebro called him in 1970 and asked him to initiate and formalize a Hun School Alumni Association, which he did, serving as its president from 1972 until 1979. He was then appointed to the School’s Board of Trustees, where he served until 1988. In 2004, Mr. Freda partnered with the late Mary Ann Fox to create the School’s archives. Together, they relentlessly solicited and cataloged one hundred years’ worth of documents, publications, and memorabilia from the Hun community. With easy access to the records, Mr. Freda once compiled a PDF of every Hun document containing his name – the PDF is 218 pages!
About the archives, Gene once wrote, “When Mary Ann Fox, the School head librarian, told me of her feelings that an archive should be established, I had no idea this project would be so challenging and prove to be of such value. The archive’s establishment has become an important source of information, for the in-progress writing of history of The Hun School.”
Gene Freda was a cherished pillar of Hun’s alumni community (fittingly, his grandfather carved the limestone balustrades that line the Russell Hall garden walls), and he will be missed by all who knew him. He is predeceased by his wife, Ellie Doten, and survived by their son Russell ’81; daughter-in-law, Mary Jo; and four grandsons, Anthony ’08, Nicholas ’13, Zachary, and Jeremy.