Carleton T. Freese


Carleton T. Freese, 59, of Warwick RI passed away on November 6, 2016 at the Philip Hulitar Hospice Center in Providence after a long illness.

He was the son of the late Frederick Freese and Mary (Talley) Freese of the Oakland Beach section of Warwick. Carl had also lived in Narragansett, North Kingstown, Coventry, Scituate, Providence, Cranston, and Warwick, RI. Carl was educated in Warwick Public Schools and attended the University of Rhode Island to study music education. He lived as an au pair in Berlin for a year and became proficient in German while there. He also developed language skills in Italian and French. He was an accomplished cook, an accomplished ballroom dancer, an amateur photographer, a lover of good red wine, and quite knowledgeable about gemstones and minerals. Carl loved socializing, reading, traveling, storytelling, canoeing, camping, whitewater rafting, good food, the beach, parties, Baxter State Park in Maine, being with his family and friends, and home.

Carl worked as a security officer for the University of Rhode Island 1980-1988, and during that period also taught singing in North Kingstown and worked with the NKHS Drama Club for several years. Carl also taught singing at the South County Center for the Arts and the Westerly Center for the Arts. As a professional performer, he sang across New England from Boston to New York, and in France and Germany, where he sang with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Herbert von Karajan. His love of travel combined with his love for the stage brought him to Cunard Cruise Line, where he worked in various capacities, including Cruise Director on the QE II, from 1989-1999. While with Cunard, he traveled to more eighty countries and worked with many of the legends of the entertainment industry, from Jack Klugman, Peggy Cass, Bob Hope and Bill Cosby to international opera stars Anna Moffo and Sherrill Milnes. In addition to serving as Cruise Director, Carl became a Destination and Port Lecturer for Cunard. This entailed extensive research into the history, geography, economy, sites of interest, and culture of dozens of ports of call around the world. He also spoke at schools about job opportunities in the cruise industry and the advantages of learning additional languages.

Carl worked for Kay’s and Belden’s Jewelers from 2000-2002, when he was diagnosed with heart failure. Over subsequent years, he was also diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, and kidney failure, had heart valve replacement surgery, and finally received a heart transplant in 2008. His medical challenges were many, contributing to ongoing bouts of depression. Despite these challenges, he faced everything with characteristic humor. He became an outspoken and effective advocate for homeless people, medical care for the uninsured, and other issues of social justice.

Carl’s family wishes to thank Dr. Dan Levine and the staff at the Heart Failure Clinic at Rhode Island Hospital, Dr. David DeNofrio and the staff at the Heart Failure and Heart Transplant Clinic at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, and Carl’s Neighborhood Health Care Health at Home team for their caring, compassion and the outstanding care provided to Carl over many years. The family also wishes to thank Carl’s many supportive and loving friends including George, Julie, Carrie, Phil, and Karen, and Laura, Dawn, Monica, and the entire staff at the House of Hope CDC.

He is survived by his sister Flo St. Jean and her husband, Don of Coventry; his brother CPO Ret. USN, George Freese and his wife, Terry of Newcastle, ME; his sister Mabel Plante and David Vessella of Cranston; and his sister-in-law Capt. Ret. USAF, Nadine Freese of Papillion, NE. His nephew SSG Active USA, Thomas Freese and his wife, Carrie; his niece Catherine Hock; his nephew Kenneth Plante and his wife, Jenn; his niece Renee Sullivan and her husband, Sean; his niece Mary Flanders and her husband, Steve; his niece Nora Freese, and his nephew Clayton Freese also survive him. He also leaves his great nieces and nephews Matthias and Kael Freese, Asher Downing, Maddelynn Plante, Liam and Keegan Sullivan, and Haven and Addison Flanders. He leaves his family of the heart, Dennis Brod, and Alyce & Bill Croasdale. He also leaves a large and devoted circle of friends locally and around the world. He was predeceased by his brother, SMSGT Ret. USAF, Charles Freese.

Friends and family are invited to attend a celebration of Carl’s life on Sunday, January 8, 2017 at 2 p.m. at Bell Street Chapel, 5 Bell St., Providence RI.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the House of Hope CDC, The American Heart Association, RI Hospital or Tufts Medical Center for the care of financially needy heart failure patients, or the charity of your choice. Cremation was handled by Winfield & Sons Funeral Home.


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