Cover photo for James Herman Freeh's Obituary
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1936 Herm 2024

James Herman Freeh

September 25, 1936 — April 7, 2024

James Herman Freeh, 87, of San Diego, CA and Pleasant Valley, PA, passed away peacefully on April 7, 2024, with his wife, Alice, by his side.  James, affectionately known as Herm to family and friends, was born in Allentown, PA, on September 25, 1936, the twelfth of thirteen children to Charles M. and Catherine Jamann Freeh.  


Herm grew up on a 98-acre farm in Bucks County, PA, and went to several one-room elementary schools.  His father drove the school bus much of the time.  After graduating from high school, Herm went to the University of Dayton and then served in the U.S. Army for two years.  Upon discharge, he attended and graduated from Lehigh University in 1964, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He worked for power utility companies throughout his career and retired from Southern California Edison in 1995.


Two years after their marriage, Herm and Alice moved to the family farm in Pleasant Valley, PA, where they lived over 20 years.  Herm worked tirelessly at improvement projects and maintenance, while they hosted guests, had gatherings, meals and parties, and welcomed any and all, relatives and friends.


Throughout his life, Herm was always ready to lend a helping hand on any job.  He spent nine months in Papua New Guinea working with his brother, Fr. Vince Freeh, and the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart on building and road construction.  He helped brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and friends across the country with many building projects, flood cleanups, tree removal, car relocations…. the list is endless.


Herm enjoyed spending time with those he loved watching sports, playing bridge, Euchre, dominos or Trivial Pursuit and doing the crossword. There was always a lot of storytelling and laughter.  He played the accordion and guitar at family reunions and loved to sing from the family songbook.   


Herm is survived by his wife of 28 years, Alice Babbitt Freeh, his brother, Fr. Vincent Freeh, M.S.C., of Center Valley, PA, and sister, Regina Clawson, and her husband Robert of Hellertown, PA.  He will be deeply missed by his step-children, local residents Jeff Babbitt (Julie), Greg Babbitt (Nyla), and Chris Babbitt (Jennifer) of Long Beach, CA, and by his five grandchildren, Wesley, Mick, Luke, Erin, and Brennan Babbitt.


Uncle Herm will be remembered often and fondly by the many children and grandchildren of his 12 brothers and sisters.  The profound influence that he had on his nieces and nephews cannot be measured. His example of steadfast faith, strong work ethic, selfless generosity, love for music, and the ability to bring laughter to all of it, leaves us with a lifetime of cherished memories.


A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on June 4, 2024, at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church at 2766 Navajo Rd, El Cajon, CA. There will be a Rosary at 9:30 AM before the Funeral Mass at 10:00 AM.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (misacor-usa.org), the American Cancer Society (donate.cancer.org) or a charity of your choice.   Condolences may be offered online at featheringillmortuary.com. 

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