Living a life of adventure, Chris was known for being an Ollie Anderson Auto Daredevil stuntman. Among many stunts, he would jump motorcycles through walls on fire and sit on lit sticks of dynamite for the audience’s entertainment.
When Chris’ children were young, he spent years as a ski instructor, even living at Fortress mountain, to be closer to nature, and of course, to teach his children how to ski.
Chris, known to many as Hap, spent many years as a CFCN radio host, helicopter traffic watch reporter, and occasional T.V. weatherman. Early residents of Calgary would recognize his distinctive voice, if not his name.
He can also be found in the Glenbow Archives for his contributions to the Calgary Tourist and Convention Bureau, with campaigns such as Smile You’re a Tourist Attraction and later the 1988 Winter Olympics.
Chris also spent some time as a Calgary Stampede sound technician and announcer, lending his voice and energy to the Grandstand shows hosted nightly.
After his time in Calgary, Chris spent some time at the Banff Chamber of Commerce working alongside Ralph Klein and other notable figures. Chris was often seen and heard in the media helping Banff become an international tourist destination.
An avid outdoorsman, Chris would often disappear into the forest for weeks to recharge and passed his love of nature to his children. His family fondly remembers many journeys into the wild where awe and reverence were paramount.
Chris was also a remarkable artist whose medium was mainly wood and leather. Patrons of the Penny Lane mall may remember seeing his works and may own a few of his beautiful pieces. Chris carved several beautiful decoy birds. Many survived a fire in which a building burnt to the ground around them, but they alone survived. He gifted one of these birds to the Calgary Women’s Shelter along with his story of surviving adversity.
Music was a huge part of Chris’s life. This love started early; he decorated his first guitar with Woody Woodpecker and kept this guitar with him throughout his life. Alongside being an audio technician for many famous musicians, Chris also played in many venues throughout Canada. If one were lucky enough to have heard him play Mr. Bojangles or The House of the Rising Sun, one would have felt every ounce of the passion he put into his life.
Carpentry was also a passion, and if there was any man who could teach you how to use tools, it was Chris. Chris shared this love with his family and passed on valuable skills to his daughter, son, and grandchildren. They will never forget spending time with him in his shop, which he spent so much time.
Later in his life, Chris became a fitness instructor, teaching for The City of Calgary at many locations like the Acadia pool. His work earned him many friends and prepared him for many challenges he would face as he aged.
Forever known to his family as Cookie Grampa, Chris was a loving brother, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. When the kids came to visit, he always had a tin box full of cookies for them to sample. When the kids left, he would always wait at the window and wave as they went.
A storyteller, Chris’s later years were full of health challenges, which he faced head-on, and each event he honored by sharing the story with others. Chris once said that his only goal in life was to make at least one person smile every day.
Forever loved and forever loving. Your family and friends will miss you dearly.
Chris is survived by his daughter, Sandi Riddell; his son, Will Freeman, his wife Yoko Tomita; five grandchildren, grandson James Warren, his wife Janelle Bly; granddaughter Haley Atkinson, her husband Mckoy Atkinson, granddaughter Keyanna Ritchie, her husband Peter, granddaughter Kaydence Riddell, and granddaughter Taia Riddell; his four great-grandchildren, Lillie, Bobby, Bella, and Madison-James; all of Calgary, Alberta.
Chris is also survived by his two brothers, Barry Freeman and his partner Michelle Byman of Vancouver B.C., and Michael Freeman and his wife Melenny of Montrose County S.K.; his three sisters Faye Preston and her husband George of Foothills County A.B., Ina Freeman, and Valerie Freeman of Calgary, A.B.; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Chris had requested that there be no formal ceremony. His ashes are to be scattered deep in the wilderness he loved by his daughter, Sandi Riddell, and his son, Will Freeman.