Wayne J. Freiheit

October 13, 1936 ~ December 9, 2018 (age 82)

The funeral service for Wayne J. Freiheit, 82, of Stewartville, MN will be at 11:00 A.M. on Thursday (December 13,  2018) at  Zion Lutheran Church in Stewartville, with Rev. Kim Kyllo officiating.  Burial with military graveside honors by VFW Post 1215 – Rochester will take place at Woodlawn Cemetery in Stewartville.  Mr. Freiheit died on Sunday (December 9, 2018) following a long journey with prostate cancer, at Mayo Clinic – Rochester – Methodist Campus, where he had been a patient since Tuesday of last week. As the nurse stated, he died graciously and on his own terms.

Wayne Julius Freiheit was born on August 13, 1936 in Wykoff, MN, the first born child to Earl and Thelma (Finch) Freiheit. He grew up on the family farm, attended Wykoff schools where he played basketball, was on the first football team and participated in the school band until he graduated from Wykoff  H.S. in 1954. He enlisted into the United Sates Marine Corp serving 4 years, first stationed in San Diego, CA.  Eventually he was put on a ship headed to Korea, but was rerouted to Okinawa, Japan where he spent time as a communications specialist and chauffeuring his commander. Following his discharge he returned to the Wykoff area. Shortly after his return, he met the love of his live, Karen R. Hansen and married her on Feb. 13, 1960 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Bixby, MN. Following their marriage the couple moved to Stewartville where they raised their children and have continued to make their home.  One week before his marriage, Wayne was hired at IBM in Rochester, where he worked in numerous departments, retiring after 32 ½ years as a mechanical engineer.  He soon realized full retirement was not for him and worked part-time at Stewartville All-American Co-op, Severson Truck and Rochester Cheese. Karen is a homemaker and was employed part-time at the Stewartville Care Center, operated her own home cleaning business and for the past 24 years, with Wayne, cleaned the offices at Rochester Cheese. Wayne was a longtime member of Zion Lutheran Church, where he served as Council President and as an usher. He was an active life member of  the VFW Post 1215 in Rochester and Stewartville American Legion Post 164. He belonged to the VFW Color Guard for over 30 years and was the color guard commander for over 20 years, marching in parades throughout the region, performing honors for funerals, and organizing many Memorial Day services. He was one of the founders of the Stewartville Driftskippers Snowmobile Club, where he trained many kids in snowmobile safety, organized the Stewartville Ice Festival snowmobile races and snowmobile poker runs with money raised being given to the Eagles Cancer Telethon. He served on the Planning and Zoning Board at City Hall for a number of years, coached Little League baseball and enjoyed dancing and traveling with Karen, trips with the kids in the motorhome and camping in Eagle Cliff Campground near Whalen. Most recently he belonged to the Stewartville Morning Lions. He also enjoyed bowling, snowmobiling, playing cards, fishing, and hunting with his kids and grandkids. Wayne loved time spent with his family, especially following his kid’s and grandkid’s school and sporting activities. He was known for his jokes, Wayne-isms, Swedish meatballs, Herters snowmobile, and enjoying a good EJ water.

Wayne will be dearly missed by his wife of 58 years - Karen;  son - Dean (Annette) of Pine City,MN; 2 daughters - Vanessa(Mike) Freiheit - Rosolack of rural Stewartville and Valerie(Derek) Nelson of Stewartville; grandchildren – Ryan Nelson, Kate, Clint(Brooke) and Sam Freiheit, Laura and Andy Goodman and Alex Rosolack; his  sister -  Virginia(Al) Mandelko of Greenleafton,MN and 2 brothers – Wally Freiheit(Mary Berndt) of Wabasha,MN and Warren(Sandy) Freiheit of Hot Springs,AK and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents.

A very special thanks to Dr. Kwon and his team at Mayo Clinic Urology for giving us many more years with dad, Dr. Thome and his oncology team, and the awesome nurses and doctors at the Methodist Unit 44 for caring for dad in the last week.

A time of visitation for family and friends will take place from 4 to 8:00 P.M.  on Wednesday (December 12,  2018) at Griffin-Gray F.H. in Stewartville and 1 hr. prior to the service at the church on Thursday morning.  Arrangements are with Griffin-Gray F.H. in Stewartville. On- line condolences and memories of Wayne are welcome at

© 2019 Griffin-Gray Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS