Charley Freeman leaves a legacy of businesses in Loomis

By: Carol Percy, Reporter
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To many local residents, Charles Cecil Freeman, Jr., 80, better known as “Charley,” was a man of many talents who operated several businesses in the Loomis area.

Freeman died in March.

A Farm Bureau member and a Loomis Basin Chamber of Commerce member, Freeman ran for Loomis Town Council and for a special district board but did not win either appointment, according to his daughter, Shirley Freeman.

Her father was proficient at many trades and did everything well, according to Shirley Freeman.

“He was truly a Renaissance man,” she said.

Freeman, Jr. was a Realtor, a locksmith, a tax preparer, a postal worker, an arborist, a nurseryman and in the Placer County Sheriff Reserve Deputy Program, according to Shirley Freeman.

Freeman, Jr.  also owned businesses such as equipment rentals, a feed store (Super Pig and Super Chicken were his own special blends), a small engine repair garage, a recycling center, and a chain saw and blade sharpening service, Shirley Freeman said.

But perhaps his best-known local business, which opened in 1969, was Freeman’s Nursery at 3180 Taylor Road. His children closed the family nursery business in late September.

His son, C.J. Freeman, remembers when he and his sister, Phoebe, helped their father sell fruit at the Mandarin Festival.

“We used to help with bagging and then would spend the whole day selling out of a portable sales cart,” C.J. Freeman said. “My sister, Phoebe, and I were probably 7 and 8 years old.”

An Arkansas native, Freeman, Jr. first came to California with his family as a child. In 1964, he moved from Sacramento to Loomis. His property on Horseshoe Bar Road was located on what is now the site of the Raley’s shopping center. Freeman, Jr. operated a firewood and split rail fencing company there until Dec. 21, 1968 when a fire burned the house to the ground, according to Shirley Freeman.

In 1969, Freeman, Jr. moved to 3180 Taylor Road and operated several businesses over a 40-year span.

Freeman’s Nursery opened in the late 1980s, Shirley Freeman said.

“He was an institution in Loomis, part of our rural heritage, and will be missed,” said Loomis resident Gary Liss.

Freeman is survived by his sisters, Bettye Jo (Freeman) and Cynthia (Freeman) Somers; children, Charles Cecil Freeman III, Shirley Freeman, George Freeman, Robert Julian Freeman, Charles Jonathan “C.J.”  Freeman, and Phoebe Earlene Freeman; and four grandchildren.