In Memory

James E Defreeuw - Class Of 1948 VIEW PROFILE

James E Defreeuw


James E. DeFreeuw
Feb. 01, 1930 - Apr. 13, 2021

SOUTH BEND - James “Jim” E. DeFreeuw, 91, lifelong resident of South Bend, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at Memorial Hospital.

Jim was born February 1, 1930 in South Bend, to the late Julius and Regina (Horkey) DeFreeuw.

He was a proud graduate of South Bend Central High School, Class of 1948. After graduation, he served in the United States Army and went undefeated as a heavy weight on the boxing team. He was honorably discharged.

On October 27, 1951 James married Ruth Mary Biro in South Bend. They would have celebrated their seventieth wedding anniversary this year.

Jim's work led to many interesting and varied opportunities. He served as vice-president of truck sales for Studebaker where
he drove the second Avanti ever made as his company car. He was a self-employed businessman, owning the first Burger Dairy in South Bend where he sold not only Burger Dairy products but also the infamous Sealtest Ice Cream. He was the owner of J. DeFrew Carpet and Tile, president of the Western Avenue Businessman's Association, St. Joseph County Commissioner, business executive responsible for refurbishing Washington, D.C.'s city buses, and finally as a licensed real estate broker. After his retirement in 1995, Jim and Ruth spent sixteen enjoyable years in South Carolina building their home, boating on the lake, and relaxing in the sun before returning to South Bend to be closer to family.

He was never without a project, had a lilting whistle to any melody or as a call to home for his kids playing two blocks away. He loved the music of the big band era and was a really great dancer.

Surviving is his loving wife, Ruth of South Bend; three daughters, Anne L. DeFreeuw of South Bend, Mary Pat (Scott) Gring of South Bend, and Catherine L. (Pete) Matthews of Trenton, Illinois; three sons, Lawrence A. DeFreeuw of South Bend, Christopher J. DeFreeuw (Marie Ellege) of New Port Richie, Florida, and Stephen A. (Emi) DeFreeuw of Bolingbrook, Illinois. Also surviving are eighteen grandchildren, Christopher, Cara, LJ, Andrew, Jacob, Megan, Darren, Patrick, David, Ben, Matthew, Connor, Grace, Cally, Mary, Addison, Jackson and Noah; four great-grandchildren, Alexandria, Morgan, Aidan, and Ethan; two brothers, Kenneth (Zorka) DeFreeuw of Sun City, Florida, and Julius (Marsha) DeFreeuw of Granger, Indiana, and a sister-in-law, Dorothy Kantz of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents.

Graveside services will be Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at Southlawn Cemetery, 61300 U.S. 31 South, South Bend, Indiana. Burial will follow with military honors.


04/18/2021 JFC

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