Alexander Mark Freberg, Sr.March 3, 1952 ~ September 27, 2017 (age 65)
Alexander Mark Freberg, Sr., age 65, of Chatham, died early Wednesday morning, September 27, 2017 at UPHS Marquette. He was born on March 3, 1952 to Lula Freberg who when Alex was one, married Francis Dhondt. Francis raised Alex as his own. He grew up in Rumely and graduated from Eben High School in 1970. Alex was offered a basketball scholarship to Suomi College, but turned it down and attended NMU. He then went to RETS technical school near Grand Rapids for two years. Alex spent a year sailing and working on the ore boats on the Great Lakes. He was hired by C.C.I. at the Empire Mine in March of 1975 and worked for 39 ½ years. Alex was his shop’s “head cook” and he retired as an electronic instrument technician on November 30, 2014. Alex married his best friend and soulmate, Cathy Savola, on February 2, 1996 and together raised their wonderful family. Alex followed and supported his kids during all of their sporting and extracurricular events. When they were young, he helped coach little league and youth basketball. Alex was a great basketball player and enjoyed playing in leagues in Eben and Gladstone. He was culinary genius in the kitchen and he acquired his natural talent from his mother. Alex made tremendous breakfasts for family and friends, baked goodies, and cooked delicious meals. He enjoyed making homemade wine and kept bees in his yard to help him out in the kitchen. Alex also enjoyed reading and was knowledgeable in a wide range of subjects.
Alex and Cathy opened up their home and hearts to any “stray kid” that their children would bring home. He loved spending quality time with his family and teaching them how much joy, appreciation, and peace that could be found in the outdoors. Oftentimes, the quality time was spent berry picking and on LDW….. “Let’s Do Wood.” Alex would cut more wood than his kids could find a place to put it. He always cut too much and his children knew he just liked running the saw. Another quality time and love of his that has been passed down through the generations included the sauna. Life lessons, talks, laughs, Busch Light, and family pranks were an important part of the family’s sauna ritual. Alex also loved being an integral part of his grandchildren’s lives. He would lovingly come up with nicknames for each of them. Alex and Cathy were honored as “Grandparents of the Year” at the 2017 Alger County Fair because of a beautiful essay written by their granddaughters praising them. He was very proud of his wife, children and grandchildren and the remarkable family they created.
He was an extremely patient man and always found the solution for whatever problem arose. Alex was kind, selfless, friendly, meticulous and had a giant heart. He could make friends anywhere and wherever he went, he always seemed to run into someone he knew. Alex was an exceptionally good man who always encouraged people to do their best, he saw the best in people, and he never uttered an unkind word about anyone.
He is survived by his best friend and wife – Cathy Freberg of Chatham; their children – Taylor Dandron of Traunik, Ashley (Mike) Johnson of Trenary, Alexander Freberg, Jr. of Chatham, and Vanessa Freberg of Chatham; grandchildren – Dylan, Jada, Riley, Sammy, and Finn; siblings – Sharon Bignall, Andrew (Ann) Freberg of Marquette, Patricia (Kenny) Remilard of Marquette, Henry (Laurie) Dhondt of Rumely, Joe (Linda) Dhondt of Colorado, and Aloysius Dhondt of Rumely; sisters-in-law – Lynn (Bill) Hawley of Chatham and Colleen McLachlan of Munising; special niece and nephew Lacey and Cody Dhondt who spent a lot of time at the family home; and numerous other nieces and nephews; lifelong special friends Don and Jim Verbrigghe. and pets dog Luca and Mr. Cat. Alex was preceded in death by his parents – Francis and Lula Dhondt, sisters – Melanie and Roxanne; parents-in-law – Walter and Betty Savola; and nephew Adam Martinez.
Services will be held at the Bowerman Funeral Home in Munising on Saturday, September 30, 2017. Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Pastor Paul Kelto will conduct his funeral in the funeral home’s chapel at 1:00 p.m. Interment will be at a later date at the Mathias Township Cemetery in Trenary. Honorary escorts will be Mike Johnson, Aloysius Dhondt, Henry Dhondt, Derek Hawley, Tyler Hillstead, Tyler Kienitz, Andy Freberg, and Joe Dhondt.
A fellowship gathering will take place at the New Moon in Eben following Alex’s services.