Uwe E. Freese, M.D., 85, a retired Ob/Gyn, died peacefully on Aug. 12, 2010, after many years of living with Lewy Bodies Syndrome. Born in Bordesholm, Germany, the oldest son of Heinrich and Frieda (Lessau) Freese, he survived WWII and overcame many hardships to pursue his dream of studying medicine, graduating from the University of Kiel in 1952.
He came to the United States in 1953, sponsored by the Ventnor Foundation, and completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Chicago, remaining on the faculty until 1977 when he became chair of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at the Chicago Medical School (then the Finch School of Medicine) in North Chicago, retiring as professor emeritus. His clinical resume included serving as chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cook County Hospital in Chicago for many years, a position he found both challenging and rewarding. During his professional tenure he delivered more than 3,000 babies.
Dr. Freese married Gabriela (Friederici), D.D.S., in 1961, and they enjoyed 49 years of marriage.
Passionate about academic medicine, his field of research was the human placenta, specifically the interchange of nutrients between mother and fetus. His many research interests included newborn medicine and pathology. A proud member of honorary societies, such as the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (AOA), the Society for Gynecologic Investigation (SGI), the Scientific Research Society Sigma-Xi, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the Illinois State Medical Society and American Medical Association, he loved his profession and enjoyed working with medical students, particularly as a teacher and mentor.
Dr. Freese also traveled as a university lecturer both domestically and abroad. At the University of Bejing, he and colleagues worked to refine the cervical cap as a viable and affordable contraceptive, for which he held eight patents.
After his retirement, he and his wife traveled frequently, visiting many wonderful places and family in Australia and Europe. He took great pride in the restoration of their historic Oak Park home, the Beachy House, designed by F.L. Wright, after a fire caused extensive damage. A kind and generous man who always enjoyed time with family, parties, dancing, being in nature, sailing and music, his favorite parting words to friends and family, “Take it easy, but take it!” were indicative of his lifelong determination and innate optimism.
Uwe Freese is survived by his children, Axel (Lisa) and Pamela (Jill Allread); his grandchildren, Kristofer, Jens-Peter, Annika, Maximus, Jared and Nina; his siblings, Waltraut, Mehrens and Ruth Corsvandt; and his in laws, Reinhild (Simon) Freese, Erica (Bachem) Frederici, and Renate “Nina” (Friederici) Gottschlich. He was preceded in death by his older sister, Anneliese Ekholm, and younger brother, Ekkehard.
Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Hemophilia Federation of America.