The late Dan Freeman, commonly known around town as “Mr. Northfield,” will have a tree dedicated in his memory Friday, May 24, at 5 p.m. on Bridge Square. Freeman died earlier this month after a long illness. The public is invited to attend.
The tree, a New Harmony elm, was donated by Knecht’s Nursery and Landscaping in Northfield. Owners Leif and Deb Knecht picked the tree because, says Leif, “When I think of Dan Freeman, I think of Dan as a goodwill ambassador for Northfield. Goodwill is like harmony, and that’s why we picked that tree.” He adds that the tree will be resistant to Dutch Elm disease and will grow quickly. “It will be a long-term reminder of the goodwill Dan always tried to bring to our community.”
A plaque, donated by the Defeat of Jesse James Days Committee and the Northfield Historical Society, will read “Dan Freeman, ‘Mr. Northfield,’ 2013.”
“After Danny’s passing I was contacted by many people asking how we are going to remember Dan,” says Hayes Scriven, general chair of this year’s Defeat of Jesse James Days celebration and executive director of the Northfield Historical Society. “It was a little overwhelming. How do you honor a community icon like Dan?”
Freeman’s tree will share the square with a tree planted by the DJJD committee in 1996 in honor of the late Don McRae, the public announcer of the bank raids for 30 plus years who was succeeded in that role by Freeman.
“It seemed logical to plant a tree in Danny’s honor,” explains Scriven. “We wanted something that would be a lasting reminder of all the good work he accomplished in his lifetime.”