Obituary: William Freeman helped start Lincoln's archive museum

02/22/2013 12:00 AM

02/25/2013 8:53 AM

William "Wes" Freeman, a lifelong Lincoln resident who helped establish the town's archive museum, died Feb. 7 of heart failure, his family said. He was 90.

An amateur archaeologist and historian, Mr. Freeman grew up and spent his life hiking the countryside around Lincoln and western Placer County. He researched and mapped areas settled by American Indians and early pioneers, including Camp Far West and Spenceville.

After retiring from federal civil service, he joined boyhood friends and brothers Jerry and Don Logan collecting historic photos, maps, books and other memorabilia about Lincoln. The trio spent hours organizing artifacts and established the Lincoln Area Archives Museum in 1993.

The collection has grown as Lincoln has transformed from a sleepy rural town to a booming Sacramento suburb. The archives moved several times, most recently into a downtown museum.

"He was amazed at what Lincoln has become, but he always retained his love of what it was," said Mr. Freeman's daughter Meda. "The archive is a great legacy."

Born Jan. 4, 1923, in Sacramento, William Wesley Freeman graduated from Lincoln High School in 1940. He trained as an aircraft technician and served as a civilian in Hawaii during World War II.

He graduated from Placer College and spent a career as a civilian electronics specialist at McClellan Air Force Base. During the 1950s and 1960s, he worked on missile installations and other military projects at bases in England, France, Spain and Turkey.

Mr. Freeman is survived by his wife of 35 years, Kathy. He had five children with his first wife, Theodora "Teddy" Windes, who died in 1976 after 30 years of marriage.

Besides his wife, he is survived by his children, Janis of Lincoln, Mike of Portland, Ore., Denice Hart of Crescent City, Martin of Big Pine, and Meda of Santa Rosa; stepdaughter, Dina Short of Lincoln; and five grandchildren.

A private burial was held. Donations in memory of Mr. Freeman may be made to Lincoln Area Archives Museum, P.O. Box 394, Lincoln, CA 95648.

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