Louise Tina Freeman (also known as Tina Louise Freeman-Toole) suddenly passed away in Moscow on October 18. Known as Tina to family and childhood friends, she was born in Gardena, California, to Marguerite “Peggy” and Peter Freeman on November 8, 1957, the fifth of seven children. For most of her childhood, the Freeman family resided in Redondo Beach but for a few years in Bethesda, Maryland. After graduating from Redondo Union High School, she then attended Cal State University, Dominguez Hills, where she met Richard Toole, her future husband. She received her BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a degree in Creative Writing. In 1979, she and Richard married in Santa Cruz, where their sons Emlyn and Ambrose were born. True to her dedication to family, the Freeman-Tooles moved to the Northwest in 1988 to join Louise’s sister Ingrid and her husband Rick, beginning her powerful love of the Palouse. Though she worked primarily as a librarian, her true calling was writing; her award-winning book Standing Up to the Rock chronicled her connection with Idaho and the Snake River. As a freelance writer, her work was published in numerous anthologies and magazines including Alaska Magazine. Moving the family to Illinois, she received her Master’s degree from Illinois State while her husband pursued his doctorate before they returned to Pullman for several years. During that time, she also worked in the University of Idaho’s College of Education, assisting the National Board Certification teacher candidate program. She received several fellowships and awards for her beautiful writing, including the John Steinbeck Fellowship. When she moved to Alaska to pursue future writing opportunities, she spent several years in the “bush” where she left a piece of her heart in the adventure of living off the grid in Eagle, Alaska. Later relocating to Anchorage for several years, she only recently returned to Moscow for a fresh start after her divorce.
Although shy and reserved as a child, her storytelling personality drew her to making connections with others. Her many talents included her ability to strike up a conversation with complete strangers and draw out their stories. She particularly loved listening to the elderly and caring for them, a talent she put to use in her most recent job with elder care. The friendships she made and maintained from childhood were a testament to her deep caring for others, with her writing and editing career offering numerous relationships across the U.S. The natural world called to her, her photography revealing her intense love of the outdoors.
Survivors include her beloved children, Emlyn Freeman-Toole (Mindy) and Ambrose (Sandy); her siblings Ingrid Spence (Rick), Taylor Freeman (Jeannette), Julie Davis (Harry), Kerry Freeman (Karen), Leslie Lee (Steve), and Lisa Freeman-Wood (Jon), as well as her nieces and nephews Melanie, Scott, Cameron, Lars, Anders, Matty, Alex, Ryan, Matt, Chase, Zachary, Maggie, Topin, Dmitri, and Angus. Her parents preceded her in death.
Services will be at Short’s Funeral Chapel on Monday, October 24, at 4 pm. In lieu of flowers, Louise requested donations be made to The Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis Shelter, 100 West 13th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501. www.awaic.org.