Freeman reflects on work, blessings

Story and photos
by Callie Sterling

Eighty-six-year-old Charles Freeman of Greenbrier has worn many hats in his noteworthy life. He has played the role of a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, a devout church member, postmaster and entrepreneur to name a few.

Born and raised on a farm, he learned the value of hard work at a young age. “I was born June 7 of 1930 in the McGintytown community near Greenbrier,” Freeman said. “I did farm chores with my brothers and sisters; I am one of eight children.”

In May 1948, Freeman graduated from Centerville High School and entered the workforce. “On July 11, 1949, my public work began in Conway at Ward Bus, a school bus manufacturer,” Freeman said. “I was later promoted to line foreman, and I worked on the assembly line until May 1957. I was paid 50 cents per hour back then.”

Although he grew up not far from his future bride, Mary Ann Glover, he did not meet her until 1949. The two married on Dec. 8, 1950.

“I met my wife at our church (Greenbrier Church of the Nazarene) in August of 1949,” Freeman said. “She was a member, and I was visiting the church at the time. We will be married 66 years this December. We still attend the same church and have for many years.”

Freeman tackled entrepreneurship with ease when he decided to purchase a local grocery business.

“I became an entrepreneur and business owner while maintaining my employment at Ward Bus,” he said. “I was dual-employed for a while until I left Ward Bus to run the grocery business. It was hard work but very rewarding. I sold the grocery business in January of 1969.”

Freeman’s next phase of employment was spent serving the citizens of Greenbrier at the local post office. His first position at the postal service, which he began in March 1968, was the role of a substitute rural carrier. Later, on June 27, 1970, Freeman became the officer in charge at the Greenbrier Post Office. One short year later, on Sept. 4, 1971, he was promoted to his highest position — postmaster. Freeman devoted 21 years to the postal service, retiring on Oct. 4, 1992.

During his time spent with the postal service, and even into retirement, he played a large role in the National Association of Postmasters of the United States (NAPUS). The nationwide organization provides networking opportunities, motivational support, representation and training for postmasters throughout the country. Freeman served NAPUS as the elected state president in 1983 and continued in that position for two years. He also was elected at NAPUS as state secretary treasurer in 1987.

“I genuinely enjoyed being a member of NAPUS,” Freeman said. “As an active member I served on national committees for the organization and held two positions. I continued my involvement with NAPUS as a retiree. They have two sectors, one for active postmasters and another for retired postmasters.”

One year into retirement, Freeman began looking for his next business venture, which was in the form of automobile sales in March 1993. “I created my used car dealership, Freeman Motors Inc., with my wife,” Freeman said. “I retired from that in 2010. My son, Blaine, now runs the business.”

Freeman gives credit to God for his opportunities and accomplishments.

“I feel so blessed to have been given a good paying job like my position as postmaster,” Freeman said. “My wife and I both feel like God has truly been the leader in our lives. He has blessed us with the jobs we have had, good health and so many other wonderful opportunities.”