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Obituary: Martha W. Freeman

February 14, 2023
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Martha Whitlock Freeman (Marcie), 78, died peacefully at her home in Essex on January 3, 2023 after a brief illness.

Marcie was born in New Haven on November 30, 1944 to the late Martha and Reverdy Whitlock and lived her entire life in Connecticut.  She grew up in Woodbridge, graduating from Amity High School in 1962 and Colby Junior College (now Colby-Sawyer College) in 1964.  In 1969 she married Greydon (Grey) Freeman of Hanover, NH.  They lived in New Haven and Bethany before returning to Woodbridge in 1977, where Marcie remained for nearly 45 years before relocating to Essex.  She was a devoted and loving wife to Grey until his death in 2015.  She was active in the Junior League of New Haven from the 1960s until the 1980s and worked for many years at the Foote School as assistant to the Head of School.

She loved so many things, but nothing more than her children and grandchildren.  Grandkids could always count on “Granny Girl” to host tea parties with “proper” etiquette, finger sandwiches, cookies, sugar cubes, milk with the barest hint of tea, and lively conversation.  When each granddaughter turned eight, Marcie provided a trip to “Birthday Street” (usually downtown New Canaan), during which they celebrated eight years with eight stops and a small gift at each stop:  a book, a toy, an outfit, a pair of shoes, a random knickknack, lunch, ice cream, and chocolate.

She was an accomplished cook capable of producing marvelous gourmet dinners on special occasions, although among her grandchildren she was particularly renowned for her grilled cheese sandwiches and scrambled eggs.  Her secrets were always low heat and lots of butter.

She enjoyed traveling immensely, returning again and again to favorite destinations including New York City, Paris, Kiawah Island, Maine, and classic hotels up and down the East Coast.

She was a meticulous organizer and marvelous event planner.  Her gift wrapping was so beautiful that it often seemed a shame to disturb it to get at the present within.  She loved Christmas above all other holidays, and her entire family cherishes the most recent celebration in Essex not quite two weeks before her death.

She appreciated elegance, grace, manners, pomp, and pageantry.  She wrote perfect thank-you notes, adored the Union League Café, loved marching bands, listed Queen Elizabeth on the guest list of her dream dinner party, and threw herself wholeheartedly into the weddings she planned (as well as occasionally eavesdropping on ones that happened to be taking place at one of those classic hotels while she was staying there).

Later in life she became an enthusiastic golfer and mahjong player, devoted fan of professional and college football, and avid watcher of Gilmore Girls and unsurprisingly, The Crown.

In one of her meticulously kept journals, she listed some of her simpler pleasures:  “waves washing up on the shore, the smell of newly mown grass, bugler’s ‘Taps,’ the sound of golf clubs rattling in the bag, and stars in the night sky.”

Her legacy will live on in her three children, Jonathan (Rebecca Makkai) of Lake Forest, IL, Courtney Phillips (John) of Malvern, PA, and Hunter of Raleigh, NC; in her granddaughters Sarah, Lucy, Alice, Lydia, and Heidi; and in the many friends she made over the course of what she described, simply, as “a great life.”

Services will be private at the request of the family.

<span class="fineprint">Published by The New Haven Register on January 7, 2023</span>

This is an opinion not necessarily endorsed by the Woodbridge Town News.

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