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Walter B. Freas Jr., 80, TV programmer

Walter B. Freas Jr. had a job that took him to public schools throughout New Jersey and, his son Walter B. III said, "he loved that job."

Walter B. Freas, Jr.
Walter B. Freas, Jr.Read more

Walter B. Freas Jr. had a job that took him to public schools throughout New Jersey and, his son Walter B. III said, "he loved that job."

As director of education and outreach for the former New Jersey Network, "if a teacher said, 'I'd like to have a program in Spanish,' he would take that back," to his bosses for consideration.

And for his efforts, his son said, Mr. Freas in 1986 and 1992 won awards for "outstanding children's programming" from the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

On Thursday, March 26, Mr. Freas, 80, a resident of Medford Lakes for 52 years, died of brain cancer in the skilled nursing unit of Brandywine Senior Living in Moorestown.

Mr. Freas was with New Jersey Network, which closed in June 2011, from December 1973 to April 1995, his son said. The network carried programming from the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio, besides its own shows.

He had directed the television curriculum at Willingboro High School from 1969 to 1973 before joining the network.

Bob Cooney, who recently retired as a self-employed video engineer, said in a phone interview that Mr. Freas gave him his first civilian job after he had left the Navy in 1969, working as a TV technician at the high school until he left in 1972.

The TV curriculum produced programming that was broadcast to all the district's schools, he said.

"He was a very conscientious and loving worker with the kids," Cooney said. "And a great boss."

Born in Camden, Mr. Freas graduated from Lincoln High School in Northeast Philadelphia and served as an Army clerk at a base in Virginia.

Mr. Freas earned a bachelor's and a master's, both in education and both at Temple University.

Besides his TV work at Willingboro, he taught history and social studies there, his son said.

A member of the New Jersey Pinelands Commission in the 1990s, he was a board member of the Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge and Rehabilitation Center in Medford in the early 2000s.

In that same decade, his son said, he was a member of Literacy Volunteers of America in Burlington County, for which he helped coordinate fundraising events.

And as a member of the New Jersey Lighthouse Society with a summer home in Barnegat Light, he and his wife, Virginia, visited lighthouses up and down the East Coast.

Besides his son and his wife of 52 years, Mr. Freas is survived by daughters Betsy Charnoff and Tracey Miller; and six grandchildren. Miller's husband, Darin, died in April 2014.

A visitation was set from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, April 3, at Perinchief Chapels, 438 High St., Mount Holly, before a 1 p.m. funeral service there.

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