James Ernie Freeman concluded his time on earth on March 29, nearly a month shy of his 82nd birthday. He passed peacefully at his home in Arkadelphia. He was born April 26, 1941, in Curtis, to Ernie Bassid Freeman and Lola Mae Jester Freeman. He lived most of his life in the Piney community outside Arkadelphia, and spent 18 years in Nome, AK.
He leaves behind Diana Freeman, his wife of 35 years, sisters Cleola McDill, Mayetta Wilson (Bill) and Evelyn Bettis, children Timothy Ernie Freeman (Jeri), Jennifer Freeman Thompson (Curt), stepson Robert Meeker, and daughter-in-law Stacy Freeman. He was “Pappy” to his grandchildren Tonya Robb (David), Danielle Haddix (Jason), Shea Fogerty (Chris), Tyler Welch, Caitlin Freeman, Olivia Freeman, Walt Freeman, Hank Thompson, and nine great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Ernestine, son Jim Freeman, and brother-in-law Donnie Bettis.
A lifelong mechanic, James Ernie was the owner of R&S Auto Repair. When he wasn’t hard at work, he loved taking care of his horses and other animals, reading, and watching westerns, fishing, visiting with family, and watching sports—especially football, golf, and horse racing. He was known for his quick sense of humor, extraordinary work ethic, and willingness to help anyone who needed it. During his time in Alaska, he served as head mechanic at Alaska Cab Garage and later owned Ernie’s Auto Repair.
Visitation will take place Monday, April 3, at 2 p.m., at Welch’s Funeral Home, followed by a memorial service at 3 p.m. with his nephew Mitch Bettis officiating.
Memorials may be made to Cedar Grove Baptist Church.