In Memory

Gene Freerksen

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10/27/17 11:16 PM #1    

Ron Stassens

Gene was a very close friend since high school. He was an extremely kind and generous person. Gene loved and was very proud of his daughter and grand daughters and talked about them often. He was a Drama and Special Education  teacher who overcame an overwhelming birth deformity. He sacrificed his personal aspirations to help  "at risk" students achieve self-respect and dignity. Over the years he found hundreds of jobs for his students.

            I'd like to share something that very few people knew about Gene:

Immediately upon graduating from BYU his first job was at a small double A high school (enrollment up to one thousand students) in Utah. His school had under six hundred students. He took over a Speech and Drama program that was on life support. Several teachers before Gene had given up on the kids and abruptly quit, citing the kids were indifferent and aimless.. The class was down to six students and if Gene didn't succeed the school would drop the program.

The school had not won a state award of any kind in over twenty years. They hadn't even placed at district.

            Gene won the  State title in one act plays in his very first year teaching. He also won a State title in his second year of teaching. Gene moved to another school in Idaho his third year and won another State title. In his fourth year of teaching Gene won yet another State title.

            Gene won four State title in four years (must be a Guiness book world record). The fourth year was the last time Gene would teach Drama

            The following year Gene moved back to Beaverton to help take care of his ailing father. There were no openings for teaching Drama at that time he began his life time love of helping students with limitations find jobs.

            It was my great fortune to have Gene as my frientd.

10/28/17 09:47 AM #2    

Diane Langdon (Bradshaw)

Ron,  Your tribute to Gene was lovely.  Thank you for sharing.  Diane

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