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February 19, 1919 - February 22, 2014 OKLAHOMA CITY Chaplain (Col.) Robert Freeman Mashburn went to be with his Lord on February 22, 2014, following a battle with pneumonia. He was born on February 19, 1919, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to Essie (Strickland) Mashburn and James Hubert Mashburn. He attended Holmes Bible College in Greenville, South Carolina, and Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia, and earned a degree in philosophy at Piedmont College in Georgia. In the late 1940s, he returned to Holmes Bible College as a Bible instructor, during which time he met Colleen Hilley, a student whom he would later marry on September 13, 1949. They celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary last September. Freeman first joined the U.S. Army as a chaplain during the final phase of World War II, in June of 1945. When the war ended, he married Colleen and left active duty. Then, when the Korean War started in June 1950, he volunteered for duty again and then remained in the army as a Chaplain until retiring in 1972. His service amounted to a total of almost twenty-seven years in the U.S. Army, including five and one-half years of foreign service. He is one of very few soldiers, and even fewer Chaplains, to have served in World War II, the Vietnam War and the Korean War. He retired as a Colonel after receiving numerous medals, commendations and decorations, including: World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal w/1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal w/60 device, and National Defense Service Medal w/1 Oak Leaf Cluster. In addition, Colonel Mashburn was awarded the Bronze Star With "V" (for Valor) Device for helping to rescue a soldier under fire, off the front line in Korea. After retiring, Freeman Mashburn served as a pastor as well as in a number of administrative positions within his denomination. He is survived by his wife, Colleen Mashburn; his son, Bob and wife Gaye, of Morehead City, North Carolina; son, Joe and his wife Alice, who live in Baggs, Wyoming; son, Jim and wife Lindy, who live in San Diego, California; daughter, Pat Beckner and husband Brad Beckner, who live in Roanoke, Virginia; and son, John and wife Cyndee, who live in Edmond, Oklahoma; as well as eleven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Freeman's last words before he was intubated (and then went into a coma for over seven days) were "Praise the Lord! Thank you Jesus!" Through his last days, Freeman remained a man of prayer. Any time, all the time, one would find Freeman Mashburn praying. And the world is a better place because of him. An old Native American Proverb says: "When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in a manner so that when you die the world cries and you rejoice." While we cry for Freeman Mashburn, he certainly rejoices. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to one of the three IPHC sponsored universities. There will be a viewing on Tuesday, 4-8 p.m. at Vondel L. Smith North with family receiving friends 6-8 p.m. Funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, February 28, 2014, at River of Life Church, 6901 NW 150th Street, OKC. He will be buried at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Published in The Oklahoman on Feb. 25, 2014
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