Yale '62 - Obituaries - Edward B. Freeman, Jr.

Edward B. Freeman, Jr.

Born: July 6, 1939
Died: November 27, 1962

Ed Freeman, our Class Poet, met an untimely death at the age of 23 on November 27, 1962, in the crash of a Varig Airlines jetliner on a craggy peak in the City of God Region in the Peruvian Andes Mountains. Ed was flying to Lima, Peru after spending the summer in Brazil researching television scripts.

Ed attended Hill School and St. Paul's School before coming to Yale. At St. Paul's, Ed was the Captain of the wrestling and tennis teams and President of his class. He was an outstanding scholar during his undergraduate years at Yale. He was elected to the Board of the Literary Magazine, a Ranking Scholar and graduated magna cum laude. Ed studied at the Sorbonne in Paris during his junior abroad. He had expressed the intention of becoming a professional writer after doing graduate work in world literature at the University of Copenhagen where he was intending to enroll. Ed never married. He as a member of Silliman College and a native of Baltimore, Maryland.

Classmate Toby Berger recalls Ed arriving at Yale laden with notebooks full of poems he had penned. He organized a poetry reading in Sterling and authored an avante guarde play which was performed in Silliman. Ed frequently disappeared to Greenwich Village where he befriended a young Bob Dylan. Lines of Ed's poetry influenced some of Dylan's songs. An example was the 4th line in the 4th stanza of the singer's famous "A Hard Rain's-A-Gonna Fall," saying "I met a white man who walked a black dog." Indeed, Dylan explicitly mentioned Ed Freeman in a long poem on the back cover of one of his early albums. Meeting backstage with Toby at a concert in Cambridge in the late 1960's, Dylan remembered Ed fondly.

"Ed lived so intensely and fully as if somehow he almost knew his end would be premature," Toby concluded.