GOVERNORS OF MINNESOTA
Orville L. (Lothrop) Freeman
Twenty-ninth State Governor
January 5, 1955 - January 2, 1961
Born: May 9, 1918
in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Died: February 20, 2003
in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Married to: Jane C. Shields (1942)
Ethnic Background: Norwegian, Swedish
Occupation: Lawyer, U.S. secretary of agriculture
Orville Lothrop Freeman was born in Minneapolis on May 9, 1918. He received his B.A. degree from the University of Minnesota in 1940. During World War II he served in the South Pacific with the United States Marines, attaining the rank of Major. Freeman earned his LL.B. degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1946, was admitted to the Minnesota bar in 1947, and was a member of the Larson, Loevinger, Lindquist and Freeman law firm from 1947 to 1955.
Freeman worked as an administrative assistant to Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey (1945-1949), where he was in charge of veterans affairs. He was secretary (1946-1948) and chairman (1948-1950) of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), and was an unsuccessful candidate for Minnesota attorney general (1950) and governor of Minnesota (1952). Freeman went on to serve as governor of Minnesota from 1955 to 1961 and as United States secretary of agriculture from 1961 to 1969.
Returning to private life, Freeman was president of E.D.P. Technology International, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based computer software and systems design company (1969-1970). He later was president and CEO (1970-1981) and chairman (1981-1984) of Business International Corp., New York City, a research, publishing, and advisory firm that helped companies manage their worldwide operations for maximum profit and growth. Following that he was a senior partner in the international law firm of Popham, Haik, Schnobrich & Kaufman, Ltd. (Washington, D.C.) from 1985-1995. Freeman was a visiting scholar at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota from 1995 to 1997.
Freeman married Jane C. Shields on May 2, 1942, in Washington, D.C., while he was stationed at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia. Jane Freeman was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on May 25, 1921. She graduated from Marshall High School, Minneapolis, and earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Minnesota. The Freemans had two children: Constance Jane (b. 1943) and Michael Orville (b. 1948). Michael Freeman served as a Minnesota state senator and as the Hennepin County attorney, and in 1998 he was a candidate for governor of Minnesota.
Orville Freeman died February 20, 2003, of complications from Alzheimer's disease.