A champion for worker safety

July 31, 2018 | Amanda Pain
Photo of cherry blossoms by Elizar Mercado

DEOHS faculty member Stanley Freeman remembered for his contributions to curriculum and workplace safety

Photo: Elizar Mercado

Stanley Freeman joined the University of Washington in 1977 for what was supposed to be a one-year stint to launch an industrial safety program. That short-term job turned into a 20-year career as he discovered his passion for teaching.

Freeman, senior lecturer emeritus in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS), died April 5 shortly after his 90th birthday. His memorial service will be held Thursday, Aug. 2.

“He was a remarkable colleague that was highly respected and sought after for his knowledge of industrial safety problems and solutions,” said Lee Monteith, DEOHS senior lecturer emeritus.

A lasting impact

Photo of DEOHS senior lecturer emeritus Stanley Freeman.
Stanley Freeman, DEOHS senior lecturer emeritus. Photo credit: Courtesy of the Seattle Times.

Freeman, who began his career as a safety engineer for Boeing, was an enthusiastic teacher and offered his students hands-on learning opportunities. His students often conducted surveys and investigations into safety issues in industrial settings for their classwork. 

Richard Gleason, DEOHS senior lecturer, said the classes he teaches today were started by Freeman, including occupational safety management and technical aspects of occupational safety.

“Stan was a great instructor and used his knowledge of working at Boeing to present real-world worker safety issues,” Gleason said.

Industry expertise

Freeman brought with him an extensive background in industrial safety issues.

He worked with the DEOHS Field Research and Consultation Group, where he used his expertise to investigate and assist in the resolution of state and regional worker safety issues. In some instances, he testified for workers in court.

“Freeman joining our department helped to establish our faculty and students as a resource for local industries and labor groups to seek assistance in solving their safety problems,” Monteith said.

Memorial services will be held at East Shore Unitarian Church, 12700 SE 32nd St., Bellevue, on Thursday at 6:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to the Snow Leopard Trust or the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Remembering Freeman

Freeman was preceded in death by his wife, Helen. He is survived by his two sons and grandchildren. Learn more about his life and contributions here.  

“Stan was a knowledgeable friend to students and faculty,” Monteith said. “He was able to guide his students not only in their course work and projects, but also was a continuing resource for them throughout their careers.”



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