John "Jeff" Jeffrey Freeman

August 02, 1969 - September 12, 2022


Obituary For John "Jeff" Jeffrey Freeman

Jeff Freeman, 53, passed away suddenly on Monday, September 12, 2022. He was the son of John Frink Freeman, Jr. and the late Mary Catherine Hales Freeman, formerly of Bladenboro, NC.

Jeff was born on August 2, 1969, in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he graduated from Sanderson High School. An avid fan of classical music, Jeff practiced for endless hours mastering the trombone and attended the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, earning a Bachelor of Music. Music was not his only love; science held a special place in his heart, and he later earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics from North Carolina State University. Jeff’s seemingly disparate interests in music and science are typical of Jeff’s intelligence and passions. His interest in all subjects was endless, and this quality allowed him to connect with everybody.

Jeff’s early years were strongly influenced by his heritage, by growing up in the environment of Tabernacle Baptist Church, and by his unique music-related experiences. Jeff’s parents were strongly supportive of Jeff’s and his brother, Alex’s, shared interest in music, allowing them to pursue their dreams through adulthood. As brothers, Jeff and Alex were not only close, they were the best of friends. They shared similar humor and mannerisms, in spite of being separated by continents, and they were in constant communication about their favorite songs, the news, flashes of memory from their childhood, their kids, and words of encouragement for each other. Jeff was fortunate to find numerous friends along the way. He did not take his friendships for granted, making a point of trying to catch up with people, stay in touch, sit awhile and talk.

Jeff’s love of science and music led him to roles at NASA and eventually to Dolby Laboratories, where he excelled in the world of audio engineering for the past 22 years, most recently as Director of Applications Engineering and Testing. It was also at Dolby where he met his wife, Wendy, and over several years, they worked side by side on countless tradeshows, often taking them to various cities across the country. They were able to experience countless fabulous meals and shows, making stays of 7-days+ a joy. Wendy and Jeff were also able to travel to other destinations, including multiple trips to Maui, Oahu, Oregon, Washington, Finland and Sweden.

Jeff’s brilliant supernova personality left a lasting impression on everyone he met, making them feel like they were the only person in the room when he talked to them. He poured his heart and soul into his work and received endless admiration from his fellow colleagues. Through music, his work at Dolby and other experiences, he had the fortune of traveling and working all over the world, including China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, India, Europe, South America and Australia. Along the way, he garnered the affection of everyone he met. It is without a doubt that he has fans on every continent and will be remembered fondly forever.

Jeff’s two children, Ella and Isaac, meant the world to him. His intelligence, humor, desire to try new things, and a good dose of goofiness made Jeff a wonderful and lovable father. When the children were born, he made them superhero babies, flying them around in the palm of his hand. As they grew, he would swing the kids up high over his head, and they loved every minute of it, totally fearless. In more recent years, he went on countless walks with the children through the woods, searched for snakes with Isaac, dirtied every pot in the kitchen cooking with Ella, and spent countless hours talking with the children as equals, not just as their dad. There is comfort in knowing that Jeff will live on in both of his children, who are so much like him.

Anybody who knew Jeff has a “Jeff story” that is always funny and heartwarming. One story shared recently by a friend was when he, Ella and a few friends were waiting in a long line for the Hello Kitty truck to purchase a few items for Wendy. Jeff suggested buying dozens of doughnuts to hand out to people standing in line. When somebody in line asked him why he did it, he said “I like making people happy.” Jeff touched all of us who knew him, and we would love for anybody to share special stories about Jeff on the Renaissance Funeral Home website.

Jeff is survived by his wife, Wendy Tang; his two children, Ella and Isaac; his father, John Freeman and wife, Pat; his brother, Alex Freeman, his wife Aino and their children Armas and Auvo, of Helsinki, Finland. In addition, Jeff is survived by his mother-in-law, Linda Tang, his brother-in-law, Wayne Tang, Wayne’s wife Sandy and their children Jeremy and Hayley, all of California. He is also survived by his step-sister, Joanna Bradley, her husband Don, and their children, Julia and Erica; and his step-sister, Andrea Christensen and her husband, Jon. Jeff is also survived by his ex-wife, Carrie Freeman, and her husband, Gus Grubba (Ella and Isaac’s mother and step-father). Jeff is predeceased by his mother, Catherine Freeman, and his father-in-law, Jack Tang.

A visitation service will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 PM (Eastern Time) on Thursday, September 22, 2022, at Renaissance Funeral home, 7615 Six Forks Road, Raleigh, NC 27615.

The celebration of life service will be held on Friday, September 23, 2022, at 10:00 AM (ET) at Tabernacle Baptist Church, 8304 Leesville Road, Raleigh, NC 27613. Friends and family are welcome to attend. For those who are unable to attend the memorial service, it will be live-streamed starting at 9:45 AM (ET) on September 23. The live stream link is: Tabernacle Baptist Church Livestream

The celebration of life service will be followed by a graveside service at Pine Crest Cemetery in Bladenboro, North Carolina, at 3:00 PM. Jeff will be buried next to his mother, Catherine, with whom he shared the same sense of humor and from whom he learned so much.

Flowers are welcome, and for those wishing to make a memorial donation, donations are appreciated at:

John Frink and Edith Lennon Freeman Foundation Fund- Galeed Church
North Carolina Baptist Foundation
201 Convention Drive
Cary, NC 27511-4257

Hayward Animal Shelter
16 Barnes Ct.
Hayward, CA 94544
(510) 293-7200

Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina Inc.
1924 Capital Blvd
Raleigh, NC 27604
(919) 875-0707

125 Broad Street, 18th Floor New York NY 10004
(212) 549-2500


22 Sep


06:00 PM - 08:00 PM

Renaissance Funeral Home 7615 Six Forks Road Raleigh, NC 27615 Get Directions »
23 Sep

Funeral Service

10:00 AM

Tabernacle Baptist Church 8304 Leesville Rd Raleigh, NC 27613 Get Directions »
23 Sep

Graveside Service

03:00 PM

Pine Crest Cemetery 921 S. Main St Bladenboro, NC 28320 Get Directions »
by Obituary Assistant

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  • 09/28/2022

    My deepest condolences to Jeff's family, especially Wendy, Isaac and Ella, Carrie and Gus, and so many others whose lives intersected with Jeff's. As I listened to the words and music of the memorial service, memories from San Francisco in the early 2000s come flooding back – of talking with Jeff about politics and society and culture and religion, the what-ifs of technology and science, weird cat health and North Carolina, and a conversation that lead to Jeff's revelation that he stored actual armor in an armoire. We last met up during my visit to San Francisco in 2016. Any concern about bridging several years out of touch dissolved instantly in Jeff's smile and hug, and we wandered around San Francisco, exchanging stories and laughter, confessed fears and frustrations, all as if we still lived blocks, not oceans, apart.

  • 09/26/2022

  • 09/26/2022

    My condolences to family, Jeff was a great man I am blessed to work with him. I remember several stories he shared at work-event such as an event called IdaaQuest which he worked on , he has special category and use for scotch tape . His presence was full of fun and he influenced a lot of people including myself.my condolences to family

  • 09/26/2022

    The world needs more people like you Jeff. Life won't be the same without you. Rest in Peace my friend.

  • 09/25/2022

    Jeff you were such a great friend, human being and a real Gentleman - you will be sorely missed by us all. I will never forget your warmth, kindness and great humour - it has been such an honour to meet you and to work with you. It must be so incredibly hard for all your loved ones - whom I'm sure you'll be still caring for and look after from the other side, with your heartwarming smile. My most heartfelt condolences to Wendy, Ella, Isaac and all Freeman family, God bless you All

  • 09/24/2022

    Wikipedia defines "Supernova" as "a powerful and luminous explosion of a star". In the 15+ years that I have known Jeff, I have countless "Jeff" stories, as we all do. Hearing everyone's shared heart warming stories about how Jeff always made them feel special, and his unforgettable kindness and personality, it is solidifying regret that things will not be the same without him and that the sadness will be around for a while. But as I sit here and think about how remarkable he was, I am also thinking about the final lesson that he has left us - that life is short, and it is possible to make an impact, whether big or small. I will remember him and aspire to be half as generous and kind as he was, so that he can continue to live in our memories, and inspire each of us to inspire others, as the supernova as he truly is. Thank you Jeff, I miss you already.

  • 09/23/2022

    As we listened to the friends and family stories at Jeff's Celebration of Life, we are reminded that our largest impact in this life are our relationships. Jeff was a person that built memorable relationships at ease, with his thoughtfulness and quirky personality. He always took the time to ask how one was doing, no matter how crazy things were at work, in his calm tone of voice. And often brought quirky fun moments to those surrounding him, like when he found out he was more Scottish than Irish, and wore a Scottish kilt to a Dolby Holiday party. He brought many smiles around the world. And now, many tears around the world. Our deepest sympathy to Wendy and the entire Freeman Family. Jeff will be missed dearly.

  • 09/23/2022

    Thank you for all your help. You will be greatly missed. Condolences to all your family and friends.

  • 09/23/2022

    Jeff was very kind and always with a big smile on his face. In one techweek session, Jeff waved his hand to me and offered his seat to me, he remembered me had hip surgery one year ago. I will miss you, Jeff.

  • 09/23/2022

    As my Mom was dying she said "I always thought my heart would get me. I never guessed it would be Diverticulitis." I keep wishing I could talk to Jeff about his manner of death. It was very sudden. He was only fifty three. Jeff would have had something to say that I hadn't thought of. He always did. Jeff and I were friends for about twenty years. We worked together, but work was rarely the topic when we talked. Conversations inevitably started with Jeff saying "Hey Man. What's up?" indicating he was wide open, and off we went. We would talk for hours without interruption or the need for a glance at a device. Most people are good for a few topics, but Jeff had a unique take and great stories about just about everything. He was always humane. He found the good in people. We really liked each other. Jeff came to visit me in February 2004 when I was living in Shanghai. Well, actually he came for work, but it felt like he was there solely to visit me. That is what it was like being with him. 100% attention. We rode bikes all over Shanghai (he found it to be a very intense experience) and took a tiny ferry across the Huangpu River to Pudong where I led him to the newly opened Hooters. The place was incongruous with who Jeff was, but he went with the experience and had fun. We also went to a colleague's wedding, and hung out eating and drinking deep into the nights. All of my friends in Shanghai were quickly Jeff's friends. This was to be expected since he was someone that in all of these years I never heard anyone say a bad thing about. Another time, maybe five years later, we met up for a night out in Hong Kong. We hopped from one tiny dive bar to another late into the night, catching up on the changes in each other's lives. After I came back to the bay area in 2016, Jeff and I started having lunch every month or two. We usually ended up in a pork belly burger joint, not far from the office. We were a bit older. We knew we were eating badly, but we wanted to enjoy our meals the way we enjoyed one another's company. Conversations were often about family, about his love for his children Ella and Issac and his wife Wendy. Right after my mother died in April, I came back to the bay area and decided to go to the physical Dolby office to take my mind off of things. The one person that I wanted to see and talk to was Jeff. We met on a 12th floor deck. "Hey Man. What's up?" "My mother just died." For once, we ended up talking about work. He knew that I needed an emotional break and provided it. Jeff's sudden death is a huge shock. I am sure he did not expect it. Since Jeff isn't here to give his opinion, I will look for the silver lining, as he undoubtedly would have. There is only this, and it isn't much. Jeff was spared a lot of indignity. The indignity of being told you have outgrown your usefulness. The indignity of growing old. The indignity of a final illness in a cold hospital room. The indignity, if you live long enough, of everyone you used to know and love dying first. Jeff lives on through his deeds and kindness and friendship and especially in the hearts of his friends and family. Harry Cole

  • 09/22/2022

    My condolences to your entire family. His sense of humor, dedication to his work and family, authenticity and warmth will be dearly missed. And I hope Jeff's family finds comfort in the fact that he was so proud of all of you.

  • 09/22/2022

    I met Jeff just 2 times at Dolby. But the impression he left on me was so strong that this news comes as a shock. I was actually intimidated initially when I entered the meeting room. But his nature and the way he conversed just blew me away. I was a bit speechless in that meeting and in awe of the man to be honest. My heartfelt condolences to your loved ones at this tough moment. The world has definitely lost a great personality.

  • 09/22/2022

    Jeff, you made each person's day brighter just through seeing and interacting with you. I met you the first or second day I started at Dolby (I think Wendy introduced us lol) I remember that bright, welcoming smile of yours. So so so smart and you happily shared your knowledge, never making me feel silly or stupid for not knowing something. You were always kind, empathetic, so thoughtful too. And fun. I loved when I got to hang out at tradeshows with you. My heart breaks for Wenders and the family you left behind. The world has lost a truly great one.

  • 09/22/2022

    I didn't know Jeff, alas for a short glimpse of life, but my best memory of him is the twinkle and mischief in his eye - it matched his Hawaiian shirts always! What a rare and beautiful human being. Not too long after Ella was born I visited Jeff and Carrie in California. We had a nice visit of course but most memorably before I left for the night they sent me into Ella's room to read her bedtime story. I was thrilled! I sat down near the bed trying to ignore the baby monitor in the room that I'm sure Carrie and Jeff were captivated by. Ella all snuggled in, I opened the book to see it had no words. I don't remember the story I told her, but I remember the smile on my face for the mischief that was and always is Jeff. Thank you for all the love you gave and for the impact on myself so long ago and for such a sweet short moment in time. I am grateful. All of my love to those hearts you took a piece of when you left including mine.

  • 09/22/2022

    The Graphic Communications Program and Technology Education send the family our thoughts and prayers to John and family.

  • 09/21/2022

    Jeff I will miss you. Every time we had a chance to talk about anything I came away with a smile or unique insight. Working along side you was a highlight of my time at Dolby. I will miss you.

  • 09/21/2022

    Sending prayers for the family, especially his father, John, who was a friend and former co-worker. John was so very proud of both his sons. -Gayenell Gull

  • 09/21/2022

    Jeff ,sad for your leaving so early.... Appreciated a lot for your support when we worked together and your friendship. You will be missed forever. Deepest condolences to your family.

  • 09/21/2022

    Jeff - You've left many impressions on the people of this world. The impressions you've left on me are of a kind-hearted, compassionate, positive-intentioned, knowledgable, eloquent, funny, and creative being. Passionate, disciplined musician and avid music lover... ...with an endless supply of elbow grease, engineering prowess, and desire to help others "MacGyver" solutions to a range of random challenges. Even when there were disagreements, you approached difficult conversations with humor, empathy, and a willingness to consider other perspectives. I will miss hearing your hearty laugh, often from the other side of the floor or building. I will miss hearing you play Trombone in the labs of Dolby. I will miss seeing you sport your festive collection of Hawaii shirts. I will miss having heart-to-heart conversations with Jeff about important people in our lives. Being yourself has inspired others to be themselves. You are sorely missed and deeply loved.

  • 09/21/2022

    Jeff's friendship to our family, especially my brother Dave, will be greatly missed. Too sudden and too soon for him to go. My prayers are with all of his family for comfort and peace. God bless you all. Chrysti Vaughan Irwin

  • 09/21/2022

    Farewell Jeff and thank you for all your support and friendship at work. You will be greatly missed. Condolences to Wendy and all your family and friends.

  • 09/21/2022

    Your cheery nature lit up every situation. It was an honor to work with you and I know that many of us have benefited from and been guided by your influence. Condolences to Wendy and all your family. God bless

  • 09/21/2022

    JEFF was a man with an extensive English vocabulary who was passionate about his work and making the work environment fun, a place to learn, and help each other. His special leadership abilities and charismatic personality were readily apparent! His devotion to work and the 22 years at Dolby shows his committment. I will miss his presence, energy, leadership, and his vision! My sincerest condolenses to JEFFs family! Wishing you peace, comfort, courage during this difficult time!

  • 09/21/2022

    Jeff .. Too early to leave man. I have always enjoyed your company, your humor and your kind nature. I am sure many of us at Dolby who know you would agree that you will be dearly missed in Dolby offices all around the world.

  • 09/21/2022

    People will often exaggerate. Animals do not. My tiny tortoise shell tabby, Emma, liked no one other than my husband and me...except for Jeff, who she was absolutely besotted with. He would walk in our home and she would come flying down the hall and throw her six pound mass directly into his arms. Jeff was a delight, a stalwart friend, and the rare, well and truly good person. His loss is made marginally bearable by the fact that his creative and mischievous sparks remains kindled in his children. But, we are all diminished by his loss. Rest well, Jeffrey...I hope Emmanoid was there to greet you on the other side.

  • 09/21/2022

    The world isn't the same place without him. I didn't speak with him every day, but knowing he was there was always a comfort. Jeff will be speaking to me from my memories for the rest of my life whenever I need advice.

  • 09/21/2022

    JEFF would say I LOVE you a lot, I am with JESUS today. I'm safe in HEAVEN; by the way it's beautiful here. Friend Gary Hammonds (Bladenboro)


  • Dreams From the Heart Bouquet

    Dreams From the Heart Bouquet was sent for John "Jeff" Jeffrey Freeman - September 23, 2022

  • Joyful Memory

    Joyful Memory was sent for John "Jeff" Jeffrey Freeman - September 22, 2022

  • Beautiful Dreams

    Beautiful Dreams was sent for John "Jeff" Jeffrey Freeman - September 22, 2022

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