A prominent member of the Fort Wayne business community has died. Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne Inc. Chairman Dick Freeland passed away Sunday. He opened his first restaurant in Fort Wayne in 1972 and the business grew to include nearly 50 locations in Indiana and Ohio. Freeland received a Sagamore of the Wabash earlier this year. He was 76. October 21, 2013
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Dick Freeland, 76, chairman of the board of Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne Inc., died at home Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013.
A native of Nevada, Mo., he was born March 16, 1937, to the Rev. Fred and Helen Freeland. In 1957 he married Deanna Walters, who survives, and they had three children – Kim (Alan) Cook, Terri Derheimer
(deceased) and Todd (Angie) Freeland.
In 1972 Freeland opened his first Pizza Hut on East State near Coliseum Boulevard in Fort Wayne. The business grew to include 48 Pizza Huts in Indiana and Ohio and four KFC restaurants. In 1995, Freeland traveled to Poland to advise the Pizza Hut team on improving their operations. He later became a partner in the Pizza Hut and KFC business in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Freeland was heavily involved in local, state and national politics. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, traveling and breeding Arabian horses. In February 2013 he was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash by Gov. Mike Pence, and Ducks Unlimited named him Conservationist of the Year. He served on numerous boards of directors and was instrumental in the founding of The Chapel.
Freeland was preceded in death by his daughter, Terri Derheimer, in 2009; his brother John, who died at age 10; and his half-brother, Fred Freeland Jr. In addition to his wife and children, survivors include his half-sister, Eleanor Mathis, of Broken Arrow, Okla; grandchildren Tyler Freeland, Dillon Freeland, Deanna Derheimer, Lindsay (Darin) Falk, Tiffany (Mike) Rego and Austin Freeland; and one great-grandchild, Connor Falk.
Source: Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne Inc.