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John Samuel Freeman Jr., 36, loved his job with Zimmerman Marine

John Samuel Freeman Jr.

CASTLE HAYNE — John Samuel Freeman Jr., 36, was greeted with open arms as he was called to be with the Lord on the evening of May 16, 2017. John was born in Gwinnett County, Ga., on Nov. 21, 1980. He joined his father, the late John Samuel “Sam” Freeman Sr., this past Tuesday, who was surprised to see his son so soon, but happy to have the company “up there,” as Sam had recently passed in October 2016.

John is already lovingly missed by the rest of us that are still “down here,” wife, Jennifer Gautier Freeman; mother, Belvin Stewart Freeman, who resides in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; stepmother, Mrs. Cheryl Huffman of Rome, Ga.; step-siblings, Sarah Huffman of Rome, Ga., and Will Huffman of Colorado; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. B.T. Gautier; brother-in-law, Greg Gautier; sister-in-law, Christine Gautier; niece, Sam Gautier; nephews, Matthew and Jacob Gautier, and “Ginny” Jill Haug, all of Sanford, N.C.

John and Jennifer celebrated their wedding vows at Wrightsville Beach, N.C., and shared their life together in their home located in Castle Hayne, N.C.

Being an only child brought John close to his extended family. His aunts, uncles and cousins will treasure the fond memories of family vacations, holidays, and good times that they shared with John.

He will be greatly missed at Zimmerman Marine of Southport, N.C., John’s place of employment for the past two years. He truly admired the folks there and honestly enjoyed his job. Getting to fish during his lunch breaks was an added benefit John took advantage of often.

John’s faith in God started at an early age and continued into his adult life. With the love, support and guidance of his church family at Port City Community Church of Wilmington, N.C., his faith grew even stronger, leaving no doubt as to John’s final whereabouts. Port City will miss the laughter, warmth and insight that John brought to each Refuge and Topics, where he was a weekly participant.

The flounder, deer and turkey birds, will live to see another day. John had a passion for the outdoors, and if he hadn’t had to pay any bills, he would have hunted or fished every day. His friends will miss the good times to be had, as they’ll think of John every time they “put one in the boat” or gear up in their camo.

His wife will especially miss those mornings, where she just didn’t want to get up and go, but was glad she did when they pulled in that 5-pounder, sought out that 12-pointer or long beard. They shared that love for the outdoors, where most of their free time was spent. John would let her tag along, and was so patient, especially during the turkey-calling training sessions. John lovingly taught her everything he knew.

Of course, the Auburn Tigers lost their No. 1 fan. We will all miss the random “War Eagle” cry, as John would holler every time he saw anything Auburn. It was downright entertaining to be in the same room with him when Auburn was playing, delightful to fellow War Eagles, but not so much for the Bama fans around.

John attended Auburn briefly, following in his father footsteps, but his fondness for the ocean led him to Wilmington in 2000, where he graduated from Cape Fear Community College in the Marine Technology program. After school, John worked as a commercial fisherman, with Selby Lewis.

He learned after a few years that fishing commercially just wasn’t the same as recreation, so he opted out, finding employment with Freeman Landscaping. That just wasn’t close enough to the water to suit John, so he found his true calling in Southport with Zimmerman Marine. John absolutely adored his work family, and they have always treated John and Jennifer like family.

John was just an all-around fun guy to be with. He was always smiling, never negative, sharing that joy with everyone he knew. John carried the hope of Christ, and would tell you about it, if you wanted to listen. He would even try to get you to come to church on Sunday if you didn’t watch out!

He had the awesome gift of gab and just a talented sense of humor. Wherever he went he’d have the people laughing, before departing. He never met a stranger, and each encounter led to a smile. He was a patient and kind soul who leaves behind a legacy of love. John’s ultimate gifts to us are the smiles, now and for years to come, from the unique and individual memories he’s left each of us who knew him.

John Samuel Freeman Jr. was truly one of a kind and will be greatly missed.

In lieu of flowers, please give donations to Port City Community Church, The Gideon’s International, The Coastal Conservation Association of NC, or a charity of your choosing.

Services, including visitation and funeral, are open to everyone and will be held on Thursday, May 25, at Port City Community Church 250 Vision Drive Wilmington, NC 28403. Visitation starts at noon, followed by the funeral at 2 p.m. and immediately followed by a graveside service at Oleander Memorial Gardens.

A reception will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at 128 South Front St., downtown Wilmington, for close friends of the family and family.

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