March 29, 1926 - May 27, 2020
Delmar Ed Free at 94, longtime resident of North Powder, passed to his Heavenly home on May 27, 2020.
Delmar was born March 29, 1926, in Knowles, Oklahoma. His family lived in Kansas and Colorado before moving to Ontario, Oregon. In the early to mid-1940s his family moved to what is now the Jimmy Creek Ranch near North Powder.
Delmar enlisted in the Army during WWII serving in the Machine Guard crew, then Forward Observing Party with the in-combat Infantry, part of the 649th field Artillery Battalion. He later served as Surgical Tech 5th Grade alongside the Army physician. He enlisted in the Army and Army Reserves until 1953. He earned an Asiatic Pacific Ribbon, a Philippine Liberation Ribbon, four Bronze Stars and a Victory Medal. He was given four Honorable Discharges.
Delmar attended Northwest Nazarene (College) University in Nampa, Idaho, studying to fulfill his call to Evangelism Ministry. He was an avid reader his whole adult life. While at college he met Elfrida Moline, where they served together at the Front Street Mission and held services on the street corner. They were married August 26, 1951. He served as a lay pastor in Harper, Seneca, Union, North Powder and again in Union, Oregon, Nazarene Churches before he was needed to take over the family ranch near North Powder. He also held part-time jobs as a logger, school bus driver for N.P. School District and backhoe operator.
Delmar seemed the happiest when he could talk to others about his faith and love for Jesus Christ. He had many parts of the Bible memorized and would openly share with friends and strangers alike. He was a talented Bible study leader.
He and Elfrida raised six children, successfully, together. Gospel music was often playing throughout the day. The family spent a lot of time singing together during the 1960s and ’70s before the children moved away. Yes, Delmar SANG bass as well as melody! The family would make several trips a year to the mountains to pick mushrooms, huckleberries, get firewood or logs to run through a small sawmill, enjoyed fishing — especially the evening times catfishing together. Winter was enjoyed with ice skating on the pond, sledding and playing fox and geese in the snow.
During his last six months of life (being bedfast) he listened to the Bill Gaither Quartet DVDs singing along as best he could. He was overjoyed to have his family singing around his bed, especially the old Hymns. Delmar LONGED for Heaven and passed with an obvious visible smile on his face.
Delmar was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Elfrida Marie (Moline) Free, in 2014; his sister, Donna Dee (Free) Mann; brothers, Elson, Charles and William Free; son-in-law, Terry Mudd; several brothers- and sisters-in-law, two nieces and a nephew.
He is survived by his children, Kathy (Ted) Mudd of Union, Randy (Margaret) Free of Boardman, Karen Mudd of Union, Nancy Free-Klien, Rosemary Free and Jonathan (Diane) Free of North Powder; 19 grandchildren, many great- and several great-great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
The family held a small graveside service, where Military Honors were included, June 3rd at the North Powder Cemetery.
A memorial service will be held (outdoors) at the La Grande Nazarene Church at 18th and Gekeler on Friday, Sept. 11th at 6 p.m. Social distancing of 6 feet between families will be in place.
Those who would like to donate in Memory of Delmar may do so to Jesus Film Project http://www.jesusfilm.org, P.O. Box 628222, Orlando, Florida 32862-8220 or to Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, 17001 Prairie Star Parkway #100, Lenexa, Kansas 66220.