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Obituary: Eakins-Mckeen, Freda Elizabeth

Age 85

EAKINS- McKEEN, Freda Elizabeth On April 28, 2013, beloved mother, grandmother, and a friend to countless individuals worldwide, Freda Eakins-McKeen passed this life surrounded by her loving family at her side telling her we loved her as she went on her way to another journey. Freda was 85 years young. She was born in Chelan, Washington on October 22, 1927 to Ray and Pauline (Swanson) Waddell. Her family moved to Malott in the 1930’s where they owned an apple orchard. Freda graduated from Brewster High School in 1945. After graduation, she moved to Spokane and attended Kinman Business University. While at Kinman, she joined the Lamba Chapter of Alpha Iota Business Sorority in 1945 and became a member of the Spokane Alumnae Chapter in 1946. All of her life, she was a proud and dedicated member of Alpha Iota International Sorority and received the 50 Year Service Award. From 1995 to 1997 she was the International Director of the sorority. Freda made many friends through her affiliation with Alpha Iota, both locally and internationally; she was highly respected and deeply loved by her A.I. sisters. Freda met her first husband, John F. Eakins, while working as a secretary at a mattress company. John and Freda were married in 1947 and together they raised three children. Freda became an instructor at Kinman Business University in 1949 and retired from KBU in 1984 after 35 years at the age of 57. Freda met her next husband, Ed McKeen in 1981. She lit up his life with energy and enthusiasm for any and all adventures. Freda brought love and life into the McKeen clan and she cared about each one of Ed’s children and they loved her in return. Freda and Ed travelled extensively throughout the world. If they were not travelling, they were up at their Sacheen Lake cabin or their home at Fairwood. The lake was a lovely place for her where many fun times were spent with family and friends. Being adventurous, she never tired of travelling. When someone said, “Would you like to go?” she interrupted not with “where?” but “when?”. The most notable trip was when, at age 70, she took a raft trip for six days and five nights down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. No fear for Freda, just adventure. Freda loved to camp, swim, dance, fish, bowl, and golf and was extremely artistic working with ceramics, beading, quilting, and sewing. Golf was her favorite sport. She was a member of the Women’s 18-Hole Golf League at Wandermere. She had to give up golf after she lost her right leg in 2007, but that didn’t stop her spirit. She remained active in social activities such as bingo and WII golf. Residents from all over Fairwood Retirement Home would come by Freda’s place just to admire an artificial Christmas tree right outside her front door that she would decorate using a different theme for every occasion. Freda will be remembered for her vivacious laugh and her gregarious and jolly personality. She had a kind heart and open arms to help others. All phases of her life held meaning for herself and all who she touched. Freda’s body aged, but her mind and sense of humor didn’t and everyone loved her for her spirit and love of life. Freda was blessed with a powerful life force which drove her fearlessly through 85 years of adventure, love, joy and the many tough challenges she had to face. Freda passed away truly knowing she was able to do everything she had ever dreamed of. She will be so deeply missed by all of her family and friends. Freda was predeceased in death by husbands John Eakins and Ed McKeen and sisters, Louise Gawronski and Phyllis Pease. She is survived by her three children, Jana Dubes of Spokane, WA, Mike and Debbie Eakins of Kettle Falls, WA, Dyana and Jerry James of Spokane, WA; three grandchildren, Emily Eakins, Laurel Eakins, and Heather James, all of Spokane, WA. She is also survived by her second family, Pat and Bob Ingram of Hilton Head, SC, Randy and Libby McKeen of Alexandria, VA, Michael McKeen of Denver, CO; and three grandchildren, Haley and Megan McKeen of Alexandria VA and Christopher Smith. Also surviving Freda are numerous nieces and nephews and one special niece, Peggy Gawronski, who loved and cared for her “Auntie Fritz”. The family especially wants to thank all of the friends and staff at Fairwood Retirement Home for all of their support. A memorial service celebrating Freda’s life will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions can be sent in memory of Freda Eakins-McKeen to Africa Inland Mission, Attn: Candace Gentry 031410, PO Box 3611, Peachtree City, GA 30269-7611.