Former lawmaker dies

Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2001

JUNEAU -- Oral E. Freeman, a former legislator who played a major role in creating the Alaska Permanent Fund, died on Saturday in Ketchikan. He was 85.

Gov. Tony Knowles ordered state flags to be flown at half-staff until sundown today in his memory.

Freeman served six terms in the House of Representatives and was on the state House Finance Committee that crafted legislation creating the fund. He later served on a special committee that created the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. and was twice appointed a trustee, under Govs. Steve Cowper and Walter Hickel.

Freeman came to Alaska in 1945 to work as a civilian machinist at Elmendorf Air Force Base. He moved to Ketchikan in 1946 with his wife, Fay, and sons Charles and James.

He worked as a commercial fisherman and territorial highway patrolman and later owned Alaska Outboard Service.

Freeman, a Democrat, served in the first Legislature and later served from 1973 to 1982. He was elected Ketchikan mayor in 1967 and also served on the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly.

Funeral services are planned for 2 p.m. on Thursday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ketchikan.

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