Dean Freitag 1948 - 2024

Dean Freitag, of St. Helens, Oregon, passed away at home February 17, 2024, after an 18-month battle with cancer.  He was 75.  He was surrounded by family as he passed.

Dean was born March 21, 1948, in Portland, Oregon, the fourth son of Robert and Alice Freitag.  He grew up in Parkrose.  He graduated from Oregon State University in 1971 with a degree in Fisheries.  While at OSU, he met Beth while they were both working in a dorm cafeteria.  They married in 1973.

Soon after getting married, Dean and Beth moved to a small farm near Yamhill, Oregon, where they built a house and lived for 37 years.  They had two children, Matt and Millie. On the farm, Dean raised beef cattle and collected honey.  He also planted a large vegetable garden every summer in addition to tending his berry patch and small orchard.  In the Yamhill-Carlton community, Dean cheered at his kids’ athletic events, supported the local Boy Scout troop, and made many lifelong friends.

Dean spent his entire professional career in firefighting.  He started as a volunteer firefighter in Parkrose at the age of 16.  He spent his college years as a volunteer in Corvallis.  He was also a volunteer in Carlton and Yamhill for many years.  In 1972, Dean joined the Beaverton Fire Department (later becoming part of Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue).  He was with BFD and TVF&R until his retirement in 1998, working as a firefighter and deputy fire marshal doing inspections and investigations.  He also loved teaching fire prevention to the public at the Oregon State Fair and to students at local schools.

After retiring in 1998, Dean and Beth were ready for adventure.  They made many trips around the U.S. in their RV.  Memorable destinations were Indianapolis for the Indy 500, the national parks of Utah, and Yellowstone/Glacier. They also took many trips to see the OSU Beavers play football.  While on the road, they enjoyed sightseeing, talking with friends, and finding local brewpubs. He enjoyed attending the monthly lunches with his fellow retired fire marshals. 

In 2010, Dean and Beth moved to St. Helens to be closer to the grandkids.  He loved watching his two granddaughters grow up, attending many birthdays, sports, and school activities. 

Dean was an Eagle Scout, a member of the Elks, and a proud OSU alum.  He loved fishing, discovering new restaurants, and watching sports.  Around the house, he loved tending to his blueberry plants, feeding the backyard wildlife, and creating delicious dinners on the grill.

Dean was predeceased by his parents and brothers, Bruce and Lee Freitag. He is survived by his wife of over 50 years, Beth; brother, John; son, Matt (Kate); daughter, Millie (Tim); granddaughters, Rachel and Rebecca; and sister-in-law, Debbie. 

A memorial gathering to celebrate Dean will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 14, at Caples House Museum in Columbia City.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to your local Humane Society.


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