Nemi B. Freeman, 86, died Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, at the Benewah Community Hospital in St. Maries, Idaho.
She was born on the Camas Prairie near Grangeville, Idaho, to Oscar B. and Clare G. (Manring) Wilkins on Dec. 22, 1930, while a chimney fire was being fought by members of her family who were awaiting her arrival. The family has laughed the last few years because her birthday throughout her life was always celebrated on Dec. 23, but upon requesting a copy of her birth certificate a few years ago from the State of Idaho, it was discovered her birthdate was legally a day prior to the day it was always celebrated. She was always ahead of her time.
She married Roy E. Freeman on Aug. 22, 1948, at the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall in Kooskia, Idaho, and they moved to various neighboring towns throughout their early years of marriage with a couple of jaunts further away to Hepner, Oregon and Nampa, Idaho. Finally, once the children came along, she settled with her family primarily to the Grangeville area, until 1974 when they uprooted and moved to Frenchtown, Mont. Eventually the Camas Prairie drew them back again, and in 1979 once the last two children were done with school, she and her husband returned to the Camas Prairie where they lived the remaining years of their life until she moved into a nursing home.
Nemi was very musically talented and played music by ear from the time she was a young child. She was adept on the piano, organ, accordion, and guitar. She and her siblings had many fun times playing music and singing the old-time country songs when they were young.
Throughout her adult years she had various jobs other than that of a homemaker. Nemi worked waitressing in some of the local restaurants, including the Coffee Cup and Shamrock Cafe. In Montana, she worked at the Holiday Inn, where she enjoyed meeting some famous people such as Donnie and Marie Osmond and Johnny Cash. She always had some good stories to tell about her employment years there. Upon returning to Grangeville she worked in the laundry department of the Grangeville Convalescent Center until her retirement. She lost her husband in November 2003 and continued to live in the family home, until eventually moving to assisted living in Lewiston and from there to a nursing home.
She was preceded in death by her husband; her grandson, Dustin Haas; both parents; and all of her siblings, Avery Wilkins, Van Wilkins, Zelda Lamb, Vera Ward, Ila Henson and Neri Medley.
Nemi is survived by her four children and their spouses, Tonda (Mike) Mager, Cindy (Larry) Haas, Lyle (Margo) Freeman and Brett Freeman; six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Cremation has taken place. A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.
Arrangements are under the direction of Blackmer Funeral Home of Grangeville. Send condolences to the family to Blackmerfuneralhome.com.
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