Dr. Wayne Henry Freeman (Agronomist), age 100, formerly of Gatlinburg and Asbury Place, Maryville joined the Heavenly Throng April 7, 2016. Wayne was born and raised on a farm at the western edge of Smith County, Kansas, near the Town of Kirwin. In 1934, He attended Kansas State University for his undergraduate degree and married Eleanor Glass in January, 1938. After graduating in 1938, he continued his education at the University of Illinois for his Masters and Ph.D. His professional career in plant breeding began as a corn breeder at Mississippi State. He then went on to Tifton, Georgia to join the USDA Costal Experiment Station. Hybrid corn was still in the developmental stages in the South and Wayne was able to develop a popular yellow corn hybrid tailored for the southern climate, Dixie 18. At the same time, he became active in the development of support services and helped create the Georgia Crop Improvement Association and a foundation seed stocks organization to make the products of public research available through certified seed growers.
In 1961, after 8 years at Greenwood Seed Company in Thomasville, Georgia, Wayne joined the Rockefeller Foundation's agricultural program in India. He was to spend the next 30 years on that side of the globe working with seed grain production in corn and rice. He assisted in the promotion of a seed industry to take advantage of new crop varieties developed by Rockefeller Foundation and the International Rice Research Institute. In 1976, Wayne moved to Kathmandu, Nepal as Team Leader for Rockefeller's International Agricultural Development Service.
Actively retired, Wayne and Eleanor moved to Gatlinburg on a semi-permanent basis in 1993. Wayne was serving on the Board of Directors of the Barwale Foundation located in Mumbai, India. He continued to keep active in the Indian seed industry with his biannual trips to Mumbai and Hyderabad. He co-authored a book entitled "A History of the Indian Seed Industry 1961 and Beyond", which documents the growth of the seed industry to about 200 seed companies with a gross turnover of about $1 Billion per year.
Wayne was past member of the Gatlinburg Presbyterian Church and a current member of the Greenback Presbyterian Church. He also served on the Board of Directors for Sunset Gap Community Center. He was a driving force in the formation of La Iglesias Cristiana De La Luz De Jesus pastored by Oscar and Consuelo Aleman.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 68 years, Eleanor G. Freeman. He is survived by Daughters and Sons-in-law, Anna Belle and Joe Pyle, Sara Jayne and Phil Cole; Son and Daughter-in-law, Hank and Anne Freeman; Grandchildren, Karen (Les) Pearce, Walter (Gwen) Pyle, Everett (Jennifer) Cole, Wesley (Kerstan) Cole and Step-Grandson, Matthew (Erica) Opachick; Great-Grandchildren, Joey, Jamie, Alina and Anna Pearce, Taryn and Elijah Pyle, Jackson and Parker Cole, Lela Cole and Step-Great-Grandchild, Oscar Opachick.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Sunset Gap Community Center, 1300 Sunset Gap Road, Cosby Tennessee, 37722.
Receiving of friends will be at Atchley Funeral Home in Sevierville, Tennessee from 2 to 4 PM Sunday, May 15th with the Celebration of Life service to follow at 5:30 PM Sunday at La Iglesia Cristiana De La Luz De Jesus, 505 Pine Mountain Road, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, 37863.
Online condolences may be made at www.atchleyfuneralhome.com