John R. Freas

John R. Freas, a retired manufacturers' representative who coached youth football, died Wednesday of cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. He was 73.

The son of an insurance adjuster and a secretary, John Robert Freas was born in Philadelphia and raised in West Philadelphia, where he graduated in 1957 from John Bartram High School.


He attended Temple University and enlisted in the Army in 1958, where he attained the rank of specialist and served in Korea for 13 months.

Mr. Freas worked for 40 years as a self-employed manufacturers' representative in the commercial stationery industry, representing companies in five states and Washington, until his retirement in 2006.

"One of his clients was Fahrney's Pens in Washington," said his wife of 52 years, the former Kay Simpson.

The former Woodlawn resident, who moved to Sykesville in 1978, had been an active member of the Randallstown Optimist Club, where he coached Pop Warner football for eight years and had national championship teams, family members said.

In the 1970s, he was a co-founder with Jiffy Lube founder Jim Hindman of the Optimist Club's youth track and field team.

Mr. Freas was a gourmet cook and took cooking classes.

"He was known for his grilled meats, ribs and shrimp Diablo," said Mrs. Freas.

Mr. Freas enjoyed playing poker and vacationing at the Jersey Shore, especially Avalon, Stone Harbor and Wildwood, said his wife.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Feb. 16 at Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church, 961 Johnsville Road, Sykesville.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Freas is survived by two sons, Paul Freas of Phoenix, Baltimore County, and Richard Freas of Sykesville; a daughter, Sharon Winkler of Sykesville; two sisters, Pati Coyle of Hainesport, N.J., and Nancy Wilk of Haddonfield, N.J.; and three grandchildren.