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Abraham Freedman, 95, psychoanalyst and teacher

Abraham Freedman, 95, a clinician and teacher of psychiatry in Philadelphia for more than 50 years, died of respiratory failure Nov. 30 at his home in Merion.

Abraham Freedman, 95, a clinician and teacher of psychiatry in Philadelphia for more than 50 years, died of respiratory failure Nov. 30 at his home in Merion.

A psychoanalyst who maintained a private practice into his 80s and published widely in professional journals, Dr. Freedman taught generations of psychiatric residents at Jefferson Medical College.

When he retired from Jefferson in 1996, a committee established the Abraham Freedman Award, given each year to a faculty member by the residents. His colleagues recognized his contribution to psychoanalysis at a dinner last year.

Dr. Freedman served in the Army during World War II. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, overseeing medical supplies for all the troop ships leaving New York City, as well as the medical kits issued to soldiers.

In 1944, he was sent to England. He was assigned to ensure that Army field hospitals were equipped to handle casualties from the D-Day invasion. For this work, he received the Army's Legion of Merit award, said his daughter, Abby.

Dr. Freedman was born in Philadelphia. The family moved around, at one point owning a general store in Farmville, Va., before settling in the Hunting Park section of Philadelphia.

At 16, while attending Simon Gratz High School, he was injured in a traffic accident. The daily life of the surgical ward fascinated him during the six weeks he spent in the hospital.

"His mother always wanted him to be a doctor," his daughter said. "I think this experience made it that much more real for him."

Dr. Freedman earned his undergraduate and medical degrees in a six-year Temple University program ending in 1939. He paid his way by working as an assistant pharmacist. Later, he became interested in psychiatry at Fort Meade, Md., where he was an officer in training and assistant to an army psychiatrist.

In 1941, Dr. Freedman married Blanche Schwartz after a courtship over ice cream sodas.

After the war, the couple settled in West Oak Lane, where Dr. Freedman opened a family practice. In 1953, the couple moved to Merion with their three children, and in 1958 they purchased a summer house in Loveladies, N.J., on Long Beach Island. Dr. Freedman's wife died in 1974.

His experiences in family medicine heightened Dr. Freedman's interest in psychiatry. He expanded his training at the Institute of the Philadelphia Association for Psychoanalysis, and in 1951 he opened a psychiatric practice in Philadelphia.

He joined the faculty at Jefferson in 1952, and taught there 44 years.

"Primarily, Abe was an analyst," said Harvey Schwartz, a Jefferson colleague. "He loved the work, he loved the deep human contact, he loved learning about how the mind works, and he loved untangling the ways that the mind and the body are entwined."

When his department head at Jefferson asked Dr. Freedman to share his office with Isobel Rigg, a child psychiatrist, he obliged. The two married in 1975.

Dr. Freedman was an avid sailor. The couple traveled to Africa, China, and Japan. Dr. Freedman was also a painter, and took classes at the Barnes Foundation. Many of his paintings reflect his love of the sea.

He also swam regularly and played tennis. At 72, while at a Fiji resort, he enlisted a partner half his age, and they won a doubles tournament.

"He took the net, and his partner took the backcourt. The people they played were really young," his daughter recalled.

Dr. Freedman was a chairman of the Merion Botanical Society, and served on the board of the Merion Civic Association for 20 years. Lower Merion Township Commissioner Brian Gordon, a friend, called him "an icon" for the association.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Dr. Freedman is survived by sons Peter and Jeffrey, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the Merion Tribute House, 625 Hazelhurst Ave., Merion.