Marie Freeman

On May 6, 2022, the High Country lost a coveted community member. Marie Freeman was a beloved wife, a devoted daughter, a loving mother and grandmother, and a friend to many.

Marie was a talented photographer who initially developed her skills as a self-proclaimed “mom-tographer” while capturing life with two young daughters. She then began her professional career as a photojournalist for the Watauga Democrat. It was there that she truly blossomed and her passion for photography was cultivated as she captured all aspects of the High Country. Marie preferred to stay behind the lens as she shared her perspective and vision through her favorite form of creative expression. She became an expert at documenting the day-to-day life in rural Appalachia.

During her time at the Democrat, Marie raised her daughters alongside her wonderful husband, but also became well known in the community for her kindness, work ethic, and skill as a photographer. Her passion for the art was apparent through her work and it did not go unnoticed by the community. She never met a stranger and was an expert at ensuring everyone felt comfortable in front of the camera. While she always strived to avoid the typical “grip and grin” shots that so many situations call for, people were drawn to her effervescent personality and contagious smile as she helped everyone feel as though they were the most important person in the room.

Some years later, Marie earned the respect of the High Country and the attention of another photography professional, Troy Tuttle, who quickly became a close friend and honorary family member. This connection brought Marie to her next big adventure as a University Photographer at Appalachian State University. There, she became part of an exceptionally creative team of individuals who not only created stunning work but also became some of her dearest friends. During her years at Appalachian, Marie developed a love for life that was unmatched, and she thoroughly thrived as she captured the lives of university students. Marie was well known for saying “yes” to any adventure that presented itself and she earned many opportunities to travel the world to document the adventures of App State students and their amazement as they explored new cultures.

Marie always longed for adventure and a common phrase her friends and family recall her using was “have camera, will travel.” In her down time, you could find her hiking the mountains she held so dear, gardening, running, and exploring new recipes. She also never missed an opportunity to cheer on her favorite football team. Go Apps! Despite her love for new adventures, she was happiest while simply sitting on her deck with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She taught her family the values that she found so important and showed them the true meaning of unconditional love. While her professional achievements were numerous, Marie’s personal and relational achievements are what really made her stand apart from others in her field. She enjoyed life and ensured that everyone around her saw the beauty and humor in it as well.

Although many hearts are shattered by her untimely death, Marie’s legacy as a strong, kind, independent woman will live on through her art as well as in the hearts of all she knew and loved. Marie is survived by her husband of 34 years, Virgil Freeman, of Boone, her parents, Mike and Carol Winner, of Raleigh, her daughter and son-in-law, Elisabeth and Holden Schul, of Waxhaw, her daughter and son-in-law, Victoria Freeman and Charlie Sansbury, of Statesville, her sister, Molly Winner, of Boone, and her six beloved grandchildren, Colten, Everett, Gabriel, Brooks, Jack and Ellie Schul, of Waxhaw. She is proceeded in death by her brother, Mikie Winner.

Marie’s Celebration of Life ceremony will be held on May 21, 2022, at 3:00 p.m. in the Grandview Ballroom on the App State campus. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to either Team Sunergy, App State’s solar vehicle team, or App State’s Yosef Club in Marie’s name via this link:

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