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March 15, 1932 — April 24, 2020
Freeman Monroe Crutchfield passed away April 24, 2020. Freeman Monroe Crutchfield was born March 15, 1932, to Jesse M. and Maggie Lassiter Crutchfield in Wake County, North Carolina. He grew up in the Falls of Neuse area of Wake Forest. When he was 16 he ran away and joined a traveling carnival for a brief time, and then when he was 17 he joined the U.S. Navy with the permission of his father.
He served on board the USS Frank Knox (DD –742) during the Korean Conflict and received the following medals: UN, Navy Occupation, Korean Service medal with Four Stars, and China Service. His ship docked in ports in the Philippines, Japan and Hawaii. While docked in San Diego and Long Beach, California he fell in love with the West Coast.
While on leave in North Carolina, he married Leona E. Chambers (also of Wake Forest) and they eventually ended up in southern California. Together they raised four children, Barry Lynn Crutchfield, Lisa (Meche) Nagel, Desiree Hatch, and Amy Suzette Sorce. They were married for 30 years.
Freeman used to say that after being discharged from the Navy he “followed a pretty girl into a beauty school.” He received his Cosmetology license and began his career as a beautician that spanned more than 20 years and included owning and operating his own salon named “La Femme Fatale Coiffures” on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, California.
He always enjoyed being a mechanic and was an avid collector of Citroen DS models, that he would repair and drive. He was a member of the Citroen Car Club of America and would often send parts all over the United States. Eventually, this led to a second career as a mechanic for the Los Angeles Rapid Transit District and Metro lines. He worked for RTD/Metro for 18 years and served as the Union Shop Steward for his fellow mechanics for part of that time.
For as long as his children can remember, Freeman always had an HO Model Railroad layout that was unrivaled. He built his train tracks by hand, wired his own switches and created his own switchboards while listening to classical music. He put together models, mountains and scenery and created a world of his own in his garage. He often ran his trains loaded with candy for the kids and eventually grandkids, to gather as the train made its way around the tracks. Until very late in his life, every Monday night was train night at his home in Granada Hills, California. His model railroad buddies would come to play with the trains and trolley lines, talk politics and life, and enjoy coffee and sweets.
When he was 70 he married his last love, Ramona Munsterman, with a grand reception with jazz music and dancing. Together they traveled the world on cruises, enjoyed Dixieland jazz festivals, sang in the church choir at the Northridge United Methodist Church, and danced many nights away at the Elks and Moose lodges. Ramona passed away in March of 2019 and left a huge hole in his heart.
Freeman is remembered for his huge smile, strong handshake, contented nature, active lifestyle and spirit full of mischief — forever with a twinkle in his eye. He is loved, and will be dearly missed, by his four children, eight grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by five step-children and their families who loved him as well. His siblings, Ollie Mae Hutchens, Laura Wright, and Dan Crutchfield, of North Carolina, also survive Freeman.
“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the Engineer.” — Corrie Ten Boom