Jim Freel obituary: Jim Freel's Obituary, Topeka

In Memory Of
Jim Freel
1923 - 2023

Obituary photo of Jim Freel, Topeka-KS
Obituary photo of Jim Freel, Topeka-KS

In Memory Of
Jim Freel
1923 - 2023

Jim Freel passed away on Friday, March 3, 2023. He was born on February 27, 1923, the son of James and Ruby (Bixby) Freel.

Jim attended Topeka schools and graduated from Topeka High School in May of 1941. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on February 1, 1943. He attended the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at San Diego, California and Parachute School at Camp Gillespie, CA. He was assigned to 3rd Marine Parachute Battalion in Noumea, New Caledonia. In December, he was attached to 3rd Marine Division on Vella Lavella and Bougainville in the Northern Solomon Islands. After the 3rd Marine Parachute Battalion was disbanded in January of 1944, he joined the 5th Marine Division in the spring of 1944 and trained at Camp Pendleton, CA and Camp Taldra Honolulu, Hawaii. On February 19, 1945, PFC Jim Freel landed on Iwo Jima, which was the day the Marines launched their invasion of the island. It was also the day he was wounded during battle and subsequently received his Purple Heart. He was honorably discharged in 1947.

Jim joined the Topeka Police Department on February 2, 1949 and worked his way through the ranks until he retired as the Chief of Police on February 2, 1975. After his retirement from the Police Department, Jim worked as a Special Agent for the Inspector General and as an investigator for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Organized Crime and Racketeering in San Francisco and San Diego, California. He retired in October 1992 and returned to Topeka in March of 1998. He was a faithful member of Topeka Bible Church.

Jim married Mary Lee Carson in 1949. She preceded him in death in 1986.

Jim later married Helen Pannone in December 1997. She preceded him in death in 2013.

Survivors include his sister, Janice Lundy and sister-in-law, Donna Freel; children, John (Dianna) Pannone, Rick (Roberta) Pannone, and Diana (Jim) Zimmerman; grandchildren, Nick, Tony, Amy, Joe, Abby, T.J., Morgan; numerous great-grandchildren; and former daughter-in-laws, Marian Pannone and Jeni Pannone.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wives, Mary Lee and Helen; brothers, Billy, Glen, and Larry.

The family will greet friends during a visitation from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at Penwell-Gabel, 1321 SW 10th Ave., Topeka, KS 66604. Masonic Rites Golden Rule Lodge #90 A.F. & A.M. will begin at 6:30 p.m.

A celebration of his amazing life will be at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 9, 2023 at Topeka Bible Church 1101 SW Mulvane Ave., Topeka 66604. Honors will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery in Topeka.

Services for Jim will be livestreamed through Topeka Bible Church. You can view the service by visiting their website. Please copy and paste the URL into your browser. https://www.discovertbc.com/homegoings

Memorial contributions may be made to the Topeka Rescue Mission 401 NW Norris St, Topeka, KS 66608.

To leave a message for his family online, please click the "Share Memories" button above.

Jim Freel passed away on Friday, March 3, 2023. He was born on February 27, 1923, the son of James and Ruby (Bixby) Freel.

Jim attended Topeka schools and graduated from Topeka High School in May of 1941. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on February 1, 1943. He attended the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at San Diego, California and Parachute School at Camp Gillespie, CA. He was assigned to 3rd Marine Parachute Battalion in Noumea, New Caledonia. In December, he was attached to 3rd Marine Division on Vella Lavella and Bougainville in the Northern Solomon Islands. After the 3rd Marine Parachute Battalion was disbanded in January of 1944, he joined the 5th Marine Division in the spring of 1944 and trained at Camp Pendleton, CA and Camp Taldra Honolulu, Hawaii. On February 19, 1945, PFC Jim Freel landed on Iwo Jima, which was the day the Marines launched their invasion of the island. It was also the day he was wounded during battle and subsequently received his Purple Heart. He was honorably discharged in 1947.

Jim joined the Topeka Police Department on February 2, 1949 and worked his way through the ranks until he retired as the Chief of Police on February 2, 1975. After his retirement from the Police Department, Jim worked as a Special Agent for the Inspector General and as an investigator for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Organized Crime and Racketeering in San Francisco and San Diego, California. He retired in October 1992 and returned to Topeka in March of 1998. He was a faithful member of Topeka Bible Church.

Jim married Mary Lee Carson in 1949. She preceded him in death in 1986.

Jim later married Helen Pannone in December 1997. She preceded him in death in 2013.

Survivors include his sister, Janice Lundy and sister-in-law, Donna Freel; children, John (Dianna) Pannone, Rick (Roberta) Pannone, and Diana (Jim) Zimmerman; grandchildren, Nick, Tony, Amy, Joe, Abby, T.J., Morgan; numerous great-grandchildren; and former daughter-in-laws, Marian Pannone and Jeni Pannone.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wives, Mary Lee and Helen; brothers, Billy, Glen, and Larry.

The family will greet friends during a visitation from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at Penwell-Gabel, 1321 SW 10th Ave., Topeka, KS 66604. Masonic Rites Golden Rule Lodge #90 A.F. & A.M. will begin at 6:30 p.m.

A celebration of his amazing life will be at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 9, 2023 at Topeka Bible Church 1101 SW Mulvane Ave., Topeka 66604. Honors will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery in Topeka.

Services for Jim will be livestreamed through Topeka Bible Church. You can view the service by visiting their website. Please copy and paste the URL into your browser. https://www.discovertbc.com/homegoings

Memorial contributions may be made to the Topeka Rescue Mission 401 NW Norris St, Topeka, KS 66608.

To leave a message for his family online, please click the "Share Memories" button above.

Services & Gatherings

Visitation

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Penwell-Gabel - Mid-Town Chapel
1321 SW 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66604
Directions & Map

Masonic Service

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 from 6:30pm to 7:00pm
Penwell-Gabel - Mid-Town Chapel
1321 SW 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66604
Directions & Map

Celebration of Life

Thursday, March 9, 2023 at 11:00am
Topeka Bible Church ~ 1101 SW Mulvane

Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home (785-354-8558) is assisting the family

Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home (785-354-8558) is assisting the family

Memorial Video

Guestbook

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