DeBow Freed grew up and worked daily on a family farm, was president of his high school class, appointed to West Point, and graduated from West Point in three years as a cadet officer when he was 20 years old.
He chose Infantry as his branch of service and was overseas for seven and a half years in the 26th, 32nd and 35th Infantry Regiments in Japan, Germany, South Korea and Vietnam and was aide and assistant to the head of our military assistance program in the Middle East. He had been in all of the countries in the Middle East and North and Eastern Africa on various assignments by the time he was 28 years old.
He graduated from the Infantry School, the Army Command and Staff College and the Air War College. He completed the course work and research, entirely at night and on weekends, which enabled him to obtain a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico.
After service in Vietnam, he was assigned to West Point to help strengthen the physics program and initiate a major in nuclear engineering and those projects went exceedingly well. He and his wife had decided earlier that they would leave the military service and go into church-related higher education as part of their commitment to lifelong public service. They left West Point and he became dean/provost of Mount Union University in Ohio.
He later served as president of Monmouth College in Illinois for five years, then 20 years as president at Ohio Northern University, and later seven years as president at the University of Findlay, for a total of 32 years as president of church-related universities.
He and his wife entertained 3,000 to 4,000 students, faculty and community guests in their home annually and regularly as part of their commitment and contribution to public service. They visited student resident halls with treats the night before the first exams as part of their outreach to students.
He presented diplomas to over 20,000 graduates in arts, sciences, engineering, pharmacy, business and law who had successfully completed their collegiate academic programs.
His wife was a lay minister in the United Methodist and Presbyterian churches and frequently spoke at those churches in areas where they lived.
Their approach was one of getting to know and help others as part of their lifelong commitment to public service. Military service was a key step in that regard.
After 23 years of active military duty, they had 37 years of academic leadership service in church related private higher education as part of their commitment to lifelong public service.
He and his wife considered themselves enormously fortunate to be able to devote their post military years to young people, which their military service had made possible. She passed away in 2016.