John Thomas Freetly passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family on February 22nd 2019.  He was 85 years old.  John was born in Fulda, MN on September 11, 1933, to Frank and Ellen (Flynn) Freetly.

Following high school, John joined the Army and was sent to Korea.  Upon return, he re-enlisted in the Air Force and continued his military career, traveling the world.  While in the Air Force he was an aircraft mechanic and Drill Instructor.

He retired from the Air Force in 1973 at Webb Air Force Base TX, and began truck driving, which he enjoyed for the next 20 years, traveling every state in the U.S.

John was very active in military organizations and started DAV Chapter 38 in Park Rapids, MN in 1982 and went on to become the Minnesota State Department Commander in 1996.  He helped numerous veterans negotiate the VA system and provided support to vets and their families for many years.  He was a member of the VFW, DAV, American Legion, Forty & Eight, and the Military Order of the Cootie.

He enjoyed the outdoors, including hunting and fishing for as long as he was able, and was a loving father to his kids.  He was a great friend to many and had a one of a kind larger than life personality that endeared him to all who met and got to know him.  He will be missed immensely and cherished forever by his family and friends.

John was preceded in death by his parents and his wives, Virginia, Mary, and Margie. He is survived by his sister Patricia Schoeberl Arndt (Jim); children Tracy Scott Freetly (Susie), Joanne Nickolauson, and John F. Freetly (Kathy); and leaves behind five grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 2pm on Thursday, March 14, at Heights Family Funeral Home.

Special Thanks to wonderful staff at Billings Clinic, Avantara, Visiting Angels, and Stillwater Hospice who made John’s last days as comfortable as possible and truly put their hearts into their work.