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Resident Spotlights | November 5, 2017 | By Jonita Dixon

Resident Spotlight – Ken Freeman

Meet Ken Freeman, Carlton Senior Living’s spotlight resident – Kenneth G. Freeman was born to parents Virginia and Frank on March 18, 1925, in Sandpoint, Idaho, a small community on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille. His mother and father both managed restaurants, and in those times, there rarely were specialty restaurants, and they “just served everything.”

In 1941, he and his parents moved to San Francisco, to manage another restaurant. Unfortunately, during this time, Ken’s father died in a partial building collapse. His mother remarried several times, ever searching for the qualities of Ken’s father in others.

Enrolling in Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Ken set out with the objective of becoming a physician. However, the country was becoming embroiled in World War II, and Ken answered the beckoning call of the United States Marine Corps, joining the elite special operations units of the 3rd and 4th Marine Raider Battalions. Ken was deployed with an infantry that made first landing at Okinawa in April 1945. Their main mission was to overtake the castle at Shuri. In the ensuing battle, Ken was fired upon multiple times, losing a finger and suffering from two bullet wounds in his leg.

M113 ACAV in Vietnam, 1966

M113 Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicle (ACAV) in Vietnam, 1966

At the conclusion of WWII, Ken realized that he would remain in the service of the military. He fought as a boots-on-the-ground soldier in Korea, and in Vietnam, and helped develop military personnel carriers, including the M113 ACAV. Realizing the extent of the injured and deceased coming back from the battles, Ken became part of a team who designed this vehicle to go into war zones, recover fallen soldiers, and return them home. Ken was also a soldier in the Persian Gulf War, known more famously as Desert Storm.

Ken with his Replica Wooden Firearms

Ken was married three times to wonderful women, each of whom passed during their marriage. He was thrilled to be able to travel with them around the world, and says “that’s why they married me!” Ken, in fact, lived in many different places, including Belgium, England, Germany, France, Russia, New York, Kentucky and North Carolina. Ken has a son, Kirk, of Davis, and a daughter, Randi, of Loomis. Ken also has ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren!

A hobby that Ken took up many decades ago, which turned into a business and an amazing historical contribution, was designing and hand-making replica firearms from wood. Ken would display these, sell them to collectors, and they were even on display at the Smithsonian. Ken is always willing and honored to show his extensive woodworking collection to anyone who asks.

Asked about how he would like to be remembered, Ken stated, “as the guy who could get it done.” He can be described as courageous, sincere, and tenacious. Ken most admires the late actor John Wayne, because he always had an answer for everything! He also admires Franklin D. Roosevelt for his persistence through the toughest times. At Carlton Senior Living Davis, Ken loves the hamburgers and filet mignon, and cheesecake for dessert! Appropriately, his favorite movie is 1944’s “Marine Raiders”. His favorite things about the Carlton are the food, the service, and that we help to train younger people on the aspects of life.

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Written by Eric DeMuth