North Powder, 1926-2020
Delmar Ed Free, 94, a longtime North Powder resident, died May 27, 2020.
A memorial service will take place outdoors at the La Grande Nazarene Church, 18th and Gekeler, on Friday, Sept. 11, at 6 p.m. Social distancing of 6 feet between families will be in place.
The family had a small graveside service, with military honors, on June 3 at the North Powder Cemetery.
Delmar was born on March 29, 1926, at 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 World War II, 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 at 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. They served together at the Front Street Mission and held services on the street corner. They were married on Aug. 26, 1951. He served as a lay pastor in Harper, Seneca, Union, North Powder and again in the Union 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 North Powder 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 his wife 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 ’60s 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 and to get firewood or logs to run through a small sawmill. They 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 6 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 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.
Delmar was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Elfrida Marie (Moline) Free, in 2014; his sister, Donna Dee (Free) Mann; his brothers, Elson, Charles and William Free; his son-in-law, Terry Mudd; several brothers and sisters-in-law, two nieces and a nephew.
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 the Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, 17001 Prairie Star Parkway No. 100, Lenexa, Kansas, 66220.