Cover photo for Barbara  Ann Freeman's Obituary
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Barbara Ann Freeman

October 19, 1937 — February 25, 2023

Barbara Ann Freeman

Ms. Barbara Freeman passed away February 25, 2023


Note: Date and time change.


Funeral services are planned for 11 am Saturday, March 11th at Revival Center COGIC . Visitation with family present will take place on Friday, from 5 - 7pm at Henderson's Funeral Home. 


Barbara Ann (Thornton) Freeman was born October 19, 1937, in Columbia, MO, to Audrey Thornton and Zella (Henson) Thornton.  She received her primary education in Columba and graduated from Frederick Douglass High School.


Upon graduating from High School at 16 years of age she left Missouri for New York to make her way in the world. She later settled in New Haven, CT where she married Clifford Freeman, III and had two children, Rosella and Clifford IV, before moving back to Columbia for a brief stay and then on to Des Moines, IA where she and her husband had their third child, Robert Lee. While in Des Moines she continued employment as a telephone operator with Bell South, and transitioned with them as they changed to Northwestern Bell and AT&T. She was one of the first African-American women to integrate Northwestern Bell in Des Moines. By the time she retired she had worked her way up from an operator to a Supervisor. She attended Drake University for management classes to increase her marketability. She encouraged all the children to get a good education.


Mother Freeman was always busy. Between home and work she was always on the go. She was a strict Mother and Grandmother. The house ran with military precision. You could hear her say “my kitchen better be clean” and “Wash your hands when you come from outside”   and you knew she didn’t play. Daughter Rosella recalls 2 of her recurring quotes "Don't bite the hand that feeds you." and "You made your bed hard, now you have to lay in it." Her children knew to enter through the back door of the house, remove their shoes and wash their hands before even thinking about touching anything, especially the food she had prepared for dinner.  She  was a member of Trinity Temple COGIC under Pastor Roland Warren.  Years later, at the recommendation of her son Clifford, she found a church home at Present Truth Ministries under the leadership of Pastors Benjamin and Julie Bell where she was a beloved church mother.  She took her role as church Mother seriously and she would lay a ministry cloth over your legs if your dress or skirt was too short. Mother Freeman loved to cook, so she took over the kitchen, and my God, the food that came out of there! Fried chicken, baked Turkey legs, Greens, sweet potatoes, BBQ ribs, potato salad, macaroni salad, spaghetti, baked mac n cheese, cornbread, chocolate cake; It was a soul food experience! She loved shopping and decorating the church and her house for every holiday. One of her favorite things to do was organize and make Easter  baskets for the children at church each year. She also dearly loved being an active in the  women’s ministry at Present Truth. There was nothing she liked better than attending church dressed sharply, shopping and hanging out with the grandkids. Once she reached 80 years old one of her favorite sayings was ""I'm 80 something years old, I can say what I wanna say."


She also dearly loved being active in the  women’s ministry at Present Truth. There was nothing she liked better than attending church dressed sharply, shopping and hanging out with the grandkids. Once she reached 80 years old one of her favorite sayings was ""I'm 80 something years old, I can say what I wanna say."


Mother Freeman answered the Master’s call to rest on February 25, 2023. She was 85 years old. Waiting for her on the other side were her parents, Audrey and Zella Thornton; her son, Clifford IV, his father, Clifford Freeman III; and her grandson Robert Lee “Trey” Freeman.


Barbara is survived by her children, Rosella (Gregory) Price, Robert

Lee (Valarie) Freeman, April Wells, Clifford Salmond and Robin (Lesa) Brooks;  her siblings Ernestine Washington, Elsie Thornton, George (Idenia) Thornton, Michael Thornton, Steven Thornton, Earlene Thornton and Robin (Lesa) Brooks,  Michael Thornton, Steve Thornton, Earlene Thornton and a host of grandchildren, nieces nephews, extended family and friends.



To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara Ann Freeman, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, March 10, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm

Henderson's Highland Park Funeral Home

3500 6th Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50313

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Funeral Service

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am

Revival Center Church of God in Christ

3816 36th Street, Des Moines, IA 50310

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