Celebrating Tommy Freeman's Life

"To Live This Life is a Victory in Itself"

The Wick Poetry Center kicked off its 2019-20 event series year on September 13 with a celebration of Tommy Freeman’s life. The event was held in Room 120 of the Center for Architecture and Environmental Design with a reception afterward that expanded into the Wick Poetry Center’s Poetry Park. The event had a large turnout, attended mostly by family and close friends of the Freemans, as well as Kent State students and members of the Wick family. 

Tommy Freeman Art

Tommy Freeman was a Kent State graduate and avid writer, winner of the 2013 Wick Undergraduate Poetry Scholarship. His love for adventure and the outdoors led him on many trips, mostly on foot, through Cuyahoga Falls and across much of the United States, to Mexico and throughout South America. During his travels, he often kept journals where he documented his encounters with the beauty of the natural world and the people he met. However, on the morning of June 30, 2017, Tom disappeared on the edge of the Darien Jungle in Puerto Obaldia, Panama. In the midst of this tragedy, his family was inspired by Tommy’s legacy and used this event as a night to celebrate his life through philanthropy and poetry.


Opening with welcoming remarks, David Hassler, director of the Wick Poetry Center, thanked the family for the honor to help host this

Student Reading
event and for their creation of “The Thomas and Mimi Freeman Family Endowed Scholarship” and “The Thomas and Mimi Freeman Family Fund of the Wick Poetry Center.” Remarks were then given by James Blank, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a Freeman family friend, Tommy’s uncle, Father Deacon John Petrus, and his parents, Cindy and Ernie Freeman. Each person reminisced on Tommy’s life in their own way, sharing stories, pictures and letters. His father even dressed as Tommy, with a baseball cap and a replica of a meaningful bison shirt. Wick Interns Isaiah Hunt, Brittany Boord, Regan Schell, and Rebecca Cybulski were then invited to read a few of Tommy’s poems. Dan Dorman, Tim and Nick, friends of Tommy, also read several poems, the latter two reading works dedicated to them.

Poem in Poetry Garden

After the poetry reading, guests were invited to enjoy fellowship with one another. Food was provided and people stayed in the Poetry Park well into the night to enjoy each other’s company, surrounded by music and more of Tommy’s poems. The event was a stepping stone to fulfill Cindy Freeman’s wish that her son’s life continues to be cherished and shared with the world. 



“I think the world needs to hear Tom’s voice now,” she said.

POSTED: Monday, October 7, 2019 11:14 AM
UPDATED: Friday, December 09, 2022 09:05 AM
Sadie Schlegel