Written by Pat Eagleson Friday, 12 March 2010 00:00
Harold (Hal) Julius Freedman, 93, of Great Neck, passed away on March 5, 2010. He was born in 1916 in New York City, the eldest child of the late Alan Eliot Freedman and Marie Barrach Freedman. Hal grew up in Fort Lee, NJ, and Brooklyn, before moving to Great Neck as a teenager. He attended New York Military Academy of Cornwall, NY, and earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Georgia Tech in 1939. Hal’s pioneering work in motion picture sound processing for Twentieth Century Fox included recording sound tracks for such films The Late George Apley, Northside 777 and Kiss Of Death. He later worked on other pictures including The Sound of Music, Cleopatra and The Bridge at Remagen. Hal’s many professional accomplishments included establishing DeLuxe’s sound department. Later, with the advent of Cinemascope – he designed, installed and oversaw a new sound department for reproducing the magnetic sound tracks required by that process. Hal was a Life Fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and a member of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation.
He enlisted as an officer in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in January 1942. His initial assignment was in England with the British Royal Air Force where he helped develop Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) radar technology for the besieged British. He sustained minor injuries there supporting anti-aircraft fire repelling attacking Nazi aircraft. Hal returned to the United States as a Signal Corps section chief for developing U.S. IFF technology. While on assignment at the Signal Corps Research Labs in Fort Monmouth, NJ, he met his future wife Joyce Marsella. Hal was promoted to captain and redeployed to Europe to install telephone long lines for the Allies’ communications. In performance of this duty in late 1944, he and his unit found themselves behind German lines during the Battle of the Bulge. After departing the service, Hal returned to DeLuxe Labs in New York where he served as Assistant to the President for Engineering until Fox closed the plant in 1972. Hal finished his career with Technicolor in 1979.
Easy going and affectionate, Hal had a delightful sense of humor and charm that won over all who met him. He had an incredibly rich and fascinating life and was in attendance at many historic events including: Leonard Bernstein’s debut performance, Sandy Koufax’s perfect game and Jim (“Cinderalla Man”) Braddock’s title bout with Max Baer. Hal regaled his loved ones with countless fond stories which never grew old. He was a fanatic Brooklyn Dodgers, NY Mets and Georgia Tech fan, an enthusiastic yachtsman and an avid salt-water fisherman. He loved taking his young children and nephews fishing.
Hal is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Joyce; devoted son John Freedman and daughter-in-law Judy Freedman of Preston, CT; adoring daughter Susan Freedman Persiko and son-in-law Frederick “Bo” Persiko of Carbondale, CO; sister Dorothy Stone of Brentwood, TN; brother Buck Freedman and sister-in-law Pat Freedman of Atlanta, GA; brother Mickey Freedman and sister-in-law Allene Freedman of Hollywood, CA; grandson Tanner Rollyson and granddaughter Rianna Rollyson of Carbondale, CO; 7 nieces and nephews; and many other family and friends including caregiver Sarata Yusif.
Internment services will be held on Friday, March 12, 2010 at 1 p.m. at Riverside Nassau North Chapels, 55 North Station Plaza, Great Neck (487-9600). In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, 10045 Riverside Dr., Third Floor, Toluca Lake, CA 91602 or https://secure.webaloo.com/wrpioneers/donate.asp.