Causey man had wild pets, caring spirit

Helena Rodriguez

J.D. Freeman had two turkeys named Thanksgiving and Christmas that followed him around and would sit on a back porch swing with him.
“J.D. just had a spirit for animals. He loved those pet turkeys,” said Patti Darwin of Lubbock, as she recalled fond memories of her late stepfather who died on Nov. 15.
“And when Thanksgiving and Christmas came around, those turkeys became lunch,” Darwin said with a laugh.
According to J.D.’s surviving wife, Gladys, the 83-year-old retired farmer and rancher, also had a fondness for cats.
“What I liked most about J.D. was how he liked to sit in the backyard late in the afternoon in the summer and play with the cats. They were always up in his lap and crawling around him,” Gladys said.
Freeman moved to Causey in 1956 with his first wife, Dorothy Hughes, and lived on his farm between Dora and Causey up to the time of his death.
Besides his love for animals, Freeman, a World War II veteran, also enjoyed gardening, fishing, cooking, doing word searches, going camping, fixing lawn mowers and going down to the Causey Post Office every morning to sit around with guys, drink coffee and play pool.
Darwin said that Freeman also was known to raise giant pumpkins. In fact, his mother appeared in the Portales News-Tribune with a 83 pound pumpkin Freeman helped raise.
Gladys said her late husband was a kind and considerate man who generously gave produce to neighbors and friends.
‘“I think they are going to miss that,” Gladys said. “He also repaired lawn mowers for them. He charged them, but not near as much as they do in other places. He said ‘I can’t hold up my neighbors.’”
Gladys said she met Freeman when she was working at the old Flo’s Cafe in Causey.
“He ate lunch there nearly every day and he asked me out on a date,” Gladys recalled. “I thought he was a very nice person. He was always nice and polite and all that sort of stuff.”
Gladys said the best of times she had with her late husband was camping and fishing in the Texas Big Bend Country.
“We liked to fish on the Rio Grande. We did that for several years, but other than that, J.D. didn’t like to do too much. He was pretty much a home body,” she said.
Darwin said Freeman would spend hours just doing word search puzzles and also liked to cook.
“He was known for his fresh fried catfish and all the grand children always asked for his chicken and dumplings,” Darwin said.
During his earlier years, Freeman served in the Army Medical Corps in New Guinea, New Zealand, Japan and Australia. After the war, he married his first wife, Dorothy Hughes, who died in 1965. He married Gladys in 1969 in Littlefield, Texas.
Freeman outlived all seven of his brothers and sisters, his wife said.