Dr. Morris Freeman, Former Semex GM, Passes Away
Semex regrets to announce the passing of former Semex Canada General Manager, Dr. Morris Freeman.
Dr. Morris ‘Moe’ Freeman passed away peacefully on July 15 in Guelph, Ontario with his beloved wife of 57 years, Ruth, and loving family at his side. Born 80 years ago in Markdale, Ontario he was the loving son of Thomas & Annie (Graham) Freeman, cherished brother of June Falls (Ormond), Keith (Joan) and Doug (Eleanor); proud father of David (Laura), Michael (Odette) and Paul (Karen); and joyful and doting Grampa to Erin, Monica, Thomas, Danielle and John.
Moe was one-of-a-kind: a talented athlete, dedicated scholar and professor, successful businessman but, above all, a caring, kind and wonderful gentleman, who never forgot the lessons of humility, hard work, and compassion learned in a happy boyhood on the family dairy farm.
He was the first of his family to attend university when he started first year at the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC), now the University of Guelph. He often joked that his parents, although supportive, were convinced homesickness would bring him home in a couple of weeks. Happily, they were wrong and Moe went on to distinguish himself athletically and academically as a proud graduate of OAC 1955, including an athletic letter and playing on the collegiate hockey team, the last two years as captain. Moe also met the love of his life, Ruth Cooke, on a blind date in first year. They married in 1956 and shared an incredible, loving relationship that stood the test of time.
Moe's undergraduate courses and early work experience convinced him that his future lay in the study of genetics. And so, in September 1966, Moe and Ruth and their family of three boys moved to Ithaca, New York so that he could earn his PhD at Cornell University. Moe returned to his alma mater in 1969 as an Assistant Professor in Animal Science. He continued to be a consummate advocate, fundraiser and benefactor of the University of Guelph for the rest of his life.
In 1974, Dr. Freeman left the university to join what was then known as Semex Canada, a small organization charged with exporting Canadian livestock genetics and know-how. Moe loved the job and thrived. He was appointed General Manager in 1976, and under Moe's leadership over the next 17 years, Semex grew from sales of less than a million dollars to more than 46 million dollars. In 1991, Semex's export success was recognized by a Canada Export Award.
Moe's retirement years were happy and busy, filled with a little travel, a lot of golf, cottaging on the Big Rideau Lake and various carpentry projects. He and Ruth took great joy in their five grandchildren. Moe was a superb Grampa, delighting in building huge Lego structures, playing endless board and card games and swimming with his grandchildren.
The last 10 years of Moe's life were spent in a courageous and inspiring fight against the progression of Alzheimer's Disease. The disease ultimately claimed his life, but never his dignity, his kindness or his spirit. Fellow residents of Riverside Glen in Guelph knew Moe as the tall gentleman who walked a lot, always said 'hello' and jumped in to help those around him.
A celebration of Morris (Moe) Freeman's life will be organized in September. In Lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Wellington Alzheimer's Association. Expressions of sympathy can be emailed to Moe@SkyePlace.com