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Freeman Napier Jelks, Jr. Obituary


Memories & Candles

“Mr. Jelks was a loving person and a great friend to me as I was growing up at Savannah Country Day. I always looked forward to seeing him around...Read More »
1 of 64 | Posted by: Joseph Bell - Savannah, GA

“Dear Family Members of Freeman Jelks, Jr. We at Cashiers Library have just learned of the sudden passing of your beloved father. We enjoyed having...Read More »
2 of 64 | Posted by: Hedy Okolichany

“Dear Freeman, Lolly and family, Jane and I share in your grief. Your father was an extraordinary man with a quick smile and a warm heart. I will...Read More »
3 of 64 | Posted by: Anne and Jane Mitchell - NC

“Mr. Jelks' smiling face and caring nature will be missed by everyone at Mrs. Wilkes. He was a dear friend to us all. Love, Family and Friends from...Read More »
4 of 64 | Posted by: Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House - GA

“What wonderful memories I have of Freeman Jelks! Riding in his Rolls at track meets, summers at his house with Freeman and Lolly, enjoying his...Read More »
5 of 64 | Posted by: Sally Estus Payne - Charlotte, NC

“Lolly and Freeman, I was so saddened to hear of your loss, but I must say that as soon as i heard, a warm smile came across my face. How could you...Read More »
6 of 64 | Posted by: Robert Stolz - Charlotte, NC

“Freeman Isabel and I were sadened by losing your dad. We had known him for a long time and enjoyed his company. He was an interesting man, had his...Read More »
7 of 64 | Posted by: Isabel & Tony Chambers - NC

“Mr. Jelks was such a kind person. He had a way if making every student feel special. As a new student to SCDS in 9th grade, he helped me feel welcome...Read More »
8 of 64 | Posted by: Stephanie Thompson Field - GA

“Freeman, Sherry and I are sorry to hear of your loss and will keep you and your family in our prayers as you go through this period of life. ...Read More »
9 of 64 | Posted by: Ernest L. Brown, IV - San Antonio, TX

“i only knew him through jill and frank guscio. jill is my sister.. ”
10 of 64 | Posted by: tim singletary - cayce, SC

“Dear Lolly, Freeman III, and Family, All the Joseys were very sorry to hear the sad news about your father's death. We have many fond memories of...Read More »
11 of 64 | Posted by: Roberta and Bert Josey - Columbia, SC

“Mr. Jelks touched the lives and influenced the dreams of so many at Country Day including my own. He's a great man who brought so much joy. He will...Read More »
12 of 64 | Posted by: Carter C. Hubbard, Jr. - Savannah, GA

“Lolly and Freeman, I am very sorry about the loss of your father. He was a special man. If ever Connie and I saw him, he would always reminisce...Read More »
13 of 64 | Posted by: Tommy Reeves - Bluffton, SC

“All great memories of Mr. Jelks. He is among those who have influenced me and I cannot imagine my SCDS experience without him. The Jelks family will...Read More »
14 of 64 | Posted by: Stephen A. Futrell - Elon, NC

“Dear Lolly, I think of your father just about everytime I drive down Ferguson Avenue headed out to my parents' home. He was such a wonderful man and...Read More »
15 of 64 | Posted by: Eileen Ryan Ogletree - Griffin, GA

“Freeman and Lolly, Your dad gave of himself generously and selflessly and will be greatly missed. I will never forget the times he raced me around...Read More »
16 of 64 | Posted by: Katherine Gardner Martz - UT

“Dear Lolly and Freeman, My deepest symapthies on your loss! I wasn't a Country Day student but he was always verykind and nice to me. As youngboy, I...Read More »
17 of 64 | Posted by: Kevin Sheehan - Savannah, GA

“Dear Freeman and Lolly, I was so sad to hear about your dad just a few minutes ago. What a great man he was...truly "one of a kind!" He impacted...Read More »
18 of 64 | Posted by: Patti Rush Williams - Birmingham, AL

“My prayers and thoughts are with the entire family. I'll miss him at Sea Island. He would always keep us in check. I enjoyed seeing him coming in for...Read More »
19 of 64 | Posted by: Susan Ihde - Darien, GA

“Freeman and Lolly, Your Father was such a positive inspiration to all of us. He was always there and such a great example for all of us to follow. ...Read More »
20 of 64 | Posted by: Billy Hill - Tampa, FL

“Dear Freeman, Please accept our heartfelt sympathies for your loss. You and your family are in our thoughts during this difficult time. With...Read More »
21 of 64 | Posted by: Charlotte & George - Herndon, VA

“To the family of Mr. Jelks, I was deeply saddened to learn that Mr. Jelks had passed. He was one of the sweetest people and a staple figurehead...Read More »
22 of 64 | Posted by: Mindy Nash - Savannah, GA

“Sorry to hear about the passing of Mr. Jelks. I have the best memories of him stopping by Ms. Harper's room and asking us vocabulary words--like...Read More »
23 of 64 | Posted by: Corrie Bryant-Habib - Cumming, GA

“From cocktails at the Captain's Club at The Cloister to pulling honeysuckle off of the pines at Surf Scoter, getting to know your dad over the past...Read More »
24 of 64 | Posted by: Frank and Jill Guscio - SC

“Freeman and Lolly- The world has lost one of the true 'shining lights' with the loss of 'Mr. Jelks'- he is certain to be brightening up the heavens!!...Read More »
25 of 64 | Posted by: Wendy Strong Lupas - Cashiers, NC

“Dear Lolly and Freeman, My memories of your dad go back to 1971 when I first met him on my initial trip to Savannah (can it really be that long ago!...Read More »
26 of 64 | Posted by: Laurie Jarrett Rogers - Richmond, VA

“A wonderful and energetic man who always had a smile for us all. We celebrate his life and grieve his loss. Joel & Melinda Jackson ”
27 of 64 | Posted by: Joel Jackson - Roswell, GA

“Freeman, I am so sorry to hear about your Father. I did not know him but you spoke of him often and his death leaves a large gap in your...Read More »
28 of 64 | Posted by: John Hazard - Alexandria, VA

“Lolly, I'm sending you a big hug of sympathy on the loss of your beloved daddy. He has left a tremendous legacy at SCDS and in our Savannah...Read More »
29 of 64 | Posted by: Beth Iocovozzi Buttimer Savannah

“Freeman, I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. We are all thinking about you. Taylor ”
30 of 64 | Posted by: Taylor McGowan - Falls Church, VA

“His smile, generosity of spirit, and consistent kind words have always remained in my memory. The world is a better place because he walked it. Our...Read More »
31 of 64 | Posted by: Foy Tootle - Dahlonega, GA

“Lolly and Freeman, So sorry to hear about your loss. Your father was so special to so many and leaves a legacy few men can achieve....he...Read More »
32 of 64 | Posted by: Gray Cunningham Lynn - Atlanta

“Dear Freeman and Lolly, It was a pleasure to "work" with you father at Country Day. He helped a lot of kids with his kindness. I will miss him. ...Read More »
33 of 64 | Posted by: Paul Worley - Savannah, GA

“Lolly and Freeman I am so sorry to hear the news of your Dad. He was a great, great man and such a positive influence for so many of us. Whether...Read More »
34 of 64 | Posted by: Tripp Nagle - Atlanta, GA

“Freeman & Lolly- What a great man! He was a good friend from the first day that I met him, and he looked the same last October as he did back...Read More »
35 of 64 | Posted by: Kurt Oelschig - Savannah, GA

“Lolly and Freeman, your father always made us smile whether it was that phone call to rescue his latest venture on Surf Scoter or just tell us how...Read More »
36 of 64 | Posted by: Yvette Acuff - Hilton Head Island, SC

“Lolly, Free and Family, We were so sorry to hear the news of your Dad - our buddy Rich was keeping us in the loop. Your Dad was always so nice to...Read More »
37 of 64 | Posted by: Spencer Allen - Atlanta, GA

“Dear Freeman and Lolly, Your father was a very special man who touched the hearts and lives of all who had the pleasure of knowing him. I just saw...Read More »
38 of 64 | Posted by: Laurie Ross - Savannah, GA

“His kindness and friendship will always be remembered. God bless Mr Jelks and his family. ”
39 of 64 | Posted by: Nathan Sheppard - Athens, GA

“Please accept our sincere sympathy. +Harry ”
40 of 64 | Posted by: Harry & Louise Shipps - Savannah, GA

“Lolly & Freeman: I was sorry to hear of your father's passing. You and your families are in our prayers. ”
41 of 64 | Posted by: Bunny Wood - Lynchburg, VA

“Dear Jelks Family, My deepest sympathies and prayers are with you over the loss of Freeman. He was a friend to me and always a fun person to be...Read More »
42 of 64 | Posted by: Bob Scott - Bristol, TN

“Freeman and Lolly, So sorry to hear about your dad's death. We spent many happy hours with him at Selby. His enthusiasm, energy and charm made him...Read More »
43 of 64 | Posted by: Charlie Mackall - Alexandria, VA

“Thanks for all the wonderful memories at Country Day, Mr Jelks. Your upbeat and fun spirit always put a smile on us kids' faces and I much...Read More »
44 of 64 | Posted by: Chris Alexander - Los Angeles, CA

“Freeman, you and your family are in my prayers as you grieve the death of your father and celebrate who he was and what he did. Randolph ”
45 of 64 | Posted by: Randolph Charles - Washington, DC

“Freeman and Lolly, I am so sorry for your loss. This is a wonderful obituary. What a fascinating and accomplished person he was. --Marian ”
46 of 64 | Posted by: marian macpherson - GA

“I didn't personally know Mr. Jelks but I know his son Freeman, therefore I know the father must have been a kind and loving man. May he now rest in...Read More »
47 of 64 | Posted by: Sharon Lawrence - Oxon Hill, MD

“My sincere sympathy to you all. ”
48 of 64 | Posted by: Ellie Titus - Savannah, GA

“We remember Freeman as a gentleman, who brought enthusiasm and pleasure to any gathering, one who made a point to include everyone in conversation,...Read More »
49 of 64 | Posted by: Mack & Janet Brown - Church Hill, TN

“I just saw Mr. Jelks in October at the SCDS All Alumni Reunion. I had not seen him in close to 20 years and he knew me immediately. He was just that...Read More »
50 of 64 | Posted by: Catherine OliverSmith - Savannah, GA

“We did not ever get to know Mr. Jelks personally and that is a loss. But his legacy lives on in the lives of his wonderful children and family. May...Read More »
51 of 64 | Posted by: S. Markel - Alexandria, VA

“We did not ever get to know Mr. Jelks personally and that is a loss. But his legacy lives on in the lives of his wonderful children and family. May...Read More »
52 of 64 | Posted by: S. Markel - Alexandria, VA

“I am sorry for your loss. He will be remembered fondly. ”
53 of 64 | Posted by: Keith Davis - Washington, DC

“Big Free was a great guy and good friend. He will be greatly missed. ”
54 of 64 | Posted by: Michael K. Farr - Washington, DC

“Free and Lolly, I remember fondly the times I met your father in Savannah and at Hilton Head. He was such a joyful man and I am so sorry for your...Read More »
55 of 64 | Posted by: Kate Kelderman - Fairfield, PA

“I always remember Freeman's beaming smile and how he always took such genuine interest in the people he encountered. I cannot help but to smile...Read More »
56 of 64 | Posted by: Scott Miller - Statesboro, GA

“Dear Freeman, Lolly and family, My deepest condolences for your loss. Your father was a constant presence as we grew up in Savannah and a longtime...Read More »
57 of 64 | Posted by: Jonathan Karp - Los Angeles, CA

“To Lolly, Free III, and family - I know you will miss your Dad so much. Some of the best memories are from Country Day...jogging on the track while...Read More »
58 of 64 | Posted by: Colette Acuff Stevenson - SC

“Dear Freeman, Heather, and Lolly, I am so sorry about your dad. I can still hear his voice and picture him hosting us all at various times and...Read More »
59 of 64 | Posted by: Kimberly Crouch - Portland, OR

“I am sorry to hear that Freeman has passed away. He was such a kind and extraordinarily generous man. So many fond memories of him come to me as I...Read More »
60 of 64 | Posted by: Steve Smith - Savannah, GA

“Dear Freeman, Tim and I know how much you valued your time with your father, whether during phone conversations or time together; only two...Read More »
61 of 64 | Posted by: Brenda Rinaman - Reston, VA

“I'll certainly miss Mr. J's big smile and bear hugs. I'll cherish fond memories of him and the happiness he brought to the kids at SCDS. My thoughts...Read More »
62 of 64 | Posted by: Mary Gilbreath - Atlanta, GA

“Mr Jelks smile was always so warming and he was such an inspiration to so many. Our thoughts and prayers will remain with your family during this...Read More »
63 of 64 | Posted by: Dana Eisenberg - Savannah, GA

“Lolly, Freeman III and family - I'm so sorry for your loss. You are all in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. ”
64 of 64 | Posted by: Andrea Su - Rutherford, NJ


Freeman Napier Jelks, Jr., age 80, died on November 28, 2009 with his children at his side. Mr. Jelks was a lifelong resident of Savannah. He was a member of Christ Church Episcopal. He was a Life Member of The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Georgia; an honorary member of the St. Andrews Society of Georgia; and an honorary member of The Oglethorpe Club of Savannah. Mr. Jelks was the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Freeman N. Jelks of Savannah. He was the great-great-great-grandson of Benjamin Andrew Coleman, who served under Washington at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778 as Captain of the 5th North Carolina Regiment of the Continental Army. Mr. Jelks' primary interest for many years was The Savannah Country Day School, where he served as a member and then Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The Jelks Fine Arts Center, the Jelks Auditorium and the Jelks Scholarship are named in his honor. Jelks graduated from The Hill School in Pottstown, PA, in 1947. He graduated from Princeton University cum laude in economics in 1951. He served for two years in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Jelks was discharged from the Army in Japan in 1954 and wrote a widely read weekly column for the Savannah Morning News about his 6-month trip west around the world. On his return to Savannah, Jelks joined his father in the local firm of Johnson, Lane, Space and Co., a member of the New York Stock Exchange, from which he retired as a vice-president in 1994. Jelks was named Outstanding Young Man of the Year in Savannah at age 29 in 1958. He was prominent in leadership in the early years of the Savannah Symphony Society and the Historic Savannah Foundation, serving on both boards and as executive vice-president of the Symphony. Jelks is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Freeman Napier Jelks III and Heather O'Neill Jelks of Alexandria, VA; a daughter and son-in-law, Laura Jelks Crawford and Keith Alan Crawford of Charlottesville, VA; twin grandchildren, Savannah Napier Jelks and Connor O'Neill Jelks; three step grandchildren, Jordan Ashley Crawford, Zachary Joseph Crawford, and Matthew Jacob Crawford; a sister, Mrs. Allen (Retta) Vance of Bristol, TN, a brother in law Allen I. Vance; three nieces, Mrs. William (Julie) Brown, Mrs. Jay (Retta) Poynter, and Mrs. Robert (Helen) Scott; two great nieces and two great nephews; and a first cousin, David A. Jelks and his family of Riceboro, GA. Visitation: 5:00 PM. to 7:00 PM, Monday, November 30, at Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel. Graveside Service: 11:00 AM, Tuesday, December 1, in Bonaventure Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the Oglethorpe Club immediately following the service. Remembrances may be made to the Jelks Scholarship Fund at Savannah Country Day School, 824 Stillwood Drive, Savannah, GA 31406.

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