Oscar William “Bill” Freeman, III was born on December 10th, 1951 in Atlanta, GA to Dr. Oscar and Laura Jean Freeman. The family moved to Orlando, FL when he was 3 years old where he was raised alongside his younger brothers, Ken and Barry. He attended Edgewater High School and graduated with the class of ‘69 and went on to graduate Cum Laude from Furman University in 1973. After graduation, he returned to Orlando to begin his career. In 1976, he met Sheree Walburn while working for Knoble Homes, when she called on him in her sales role. Shortly after, he took his work to Cat Cay, Bahamas where he was contracted to build homes. Bill and Sheree maintained their relationship by ship to shore radio and occasional weekend visits. In 1979, his greatest achievement came after returning from the Bahamas when he married Sheree and they began their lives together in Orlando. Bill had a strong faith and was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando for over 50 years. He and Sheree were married in the Reformation Chapel. He served as an Elder and taught youth Sunday School.
Growing up “Billy” enjoyed boating, fishing, diving, trips to the Bahamas, hunting, playing golf and anything outdoors. All of which was most enjoyed with his brothers, Ken, and Barry. The joy he felt in passing these interests to his sons was only surpassed by the joy he felt in seeing his sons pass them on to their children.
His lifelong career, as a manufacturers rep in the plumbing industry, began at Carr Company in 1979, where he worked for 14 years. In 1994, with the support of Charlotte Pipe & Foundry, Bill, Sheree, and 6 other key employees founded Spirit Group, Inc. He built Spirit Group into a nationally recognized brand. Through his leadership and guidance, Spirit Group would go on to win many awards, none he was more honored by than Supply House Times “Rep of the Year.” He’s referred to as a foundational pillar of the industry due to his work in many advisory roles. He served on the AIM/R Board for many years and was President from 2006-2007. In 2012, Bill began the transition of Spirit Group, Inc. to the next generation of family and employees by taking on the role of CEO. Most recently in an advisory role he enjoyed being part of the business, while having more time with Sheree and his 7 grandkids.
Bill was a true patriot and loved his Country. He believed in hard work, continuous improvement, and Capitalism. Bill had a passion for live music and entertaining his friends. He took pride in planning events and trips that would gift those involved lasting memories.
Everything he did was for his sons Benn, Chase, and Mike. Their passions became his passions, their friends became his friends. His friendships were multi-generational, age didn’t matter in his eyes. He discovered a love for Auburn Football while Benn and Chase attended the school. However, in right field of Doug Kingsmore Stadium at Clemson University, Bill found one of his happiest places on earth. Recognized as the Cheapseats, he was able to share his love of watching Mike play baseball while surrounded by people he loved and who loved him.
Always a child at heart, he cherished the role as a grandfather, and loved the opportunity to be called “PawPaw,” “Bill,” and “Booba.” He saved his greatest love and admiration for his wife Sheree. They did life side by side as best friends and true companions. He was a legend, a selfless leader, a man of integrity, and he will always be the leader of the band. Whatever you do… Do it with Bill’s Spirit!
Bill is survived by his wife Sheree Freeman, his sons Benn (Lindsey), Chase (Catharine), and Mike (Caroline). His grandchildren, Walker (9), Piper (9), Weslyn (7), Ellie (7), Will (3), Savvy (3), Barrett (1). He is also survived by his brothers Ken (Celeste) and Barry Freeman (Stacy) and his nieces and nephews.
There will be a memorial service on Wednesday, May 25th at 2:00pm at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando (106 E. Church St. Orlando, FL 32801).
Following the service, the family will be receiving guests at the Rosalind Club (11 N. Rosalind Ave. Orlando, FL 32801)