Charles Herman Freeland.tif

Charles Herman Freeland of Shepherdstown, WV was born January 16, 1923 in Wiley Ford, WV, then known as Dixie.  He was the son of Thomas Burton and Cora Mertyl Twigg Freeland.  Charles passed away on Sunday, December 26, 2021 after having a Christmas week that will forever be memorable to his family.

Charles attended Dixie Grade School and graduated from Ridgeley High, Class of 1941.  After hearing “Extra, Extra! The Japanese Attacked Pearl Harbor!” his mother signed for him to enlist and he left March 2, 1942.  He was accepted into the Army Air Corp.

He married Clara Lorean Poland on August 3, 1943 and three days later received orders for overseas.  He flew 56 missions over the “Hump” Himalayas.  He related that God was never his co-pilot beside him because he was always on his shoulder.  His plane was shot over Burma by Japanese fighters but he was able to land at Imphal, India.  He flew missions all over the world during his tour of duty.

Charles was the proud recipient of The Distinguished Flying Cross, the Presidential Commendation Medal, U.S. Air Medal for flying 300 miles over the “Hump”, American Wings, Chinese Wings, Africa, Middle East Medal, Asiatic, Pacific Medals with a Battle Star and the China War Memorial Medal by the Republic of China.

Charles and Lorean purchased a farm near Kirby, WV where they resided after the war.  They had no electricity, indoor bathroom, phone or car.  He purchased a book and wired their home when electric was brought to the area which started his self-taught electrician career!

Charles was ordained as a Brethren Minister in 1954.  He was a charter member of the Bean Settlement Ruritan Club and Hampshire Co. Kiwanis.  He was a member of Hump Pilots Association and a lifetime member of 70 years of The American Legion.  He was very active in the then “Men’s Club”, The Historical Society, The “”40&8” Society, life member of the Retired Teachers, a volunteer for the Shepherdstown Caregivers and spent many hours helping his wife who was a Hospice volunteer.  He was a faculty emeritus member of Shepherd College and he and Lorean had an Education Specialty Scholarship through the Shepherd Foundation.

He was a grade school teacher and principal, Capon Bridge High School Principal and taught at Shepherd College.  Charles was a charter member of Delta Kappa Gamma at W.V.U.  He graduated from W.V.U.’s Master’s program with honors and continued post Masters studies at W.V.U., American University and Shippensburg University.

Charles authored three books, “Hot Rock Over the Himalayas”, “The Making of a Hot Rock Pilot” and “The Hot Rock Lands in Rock Oak.”  He had many hobbies.  He loved yard sales, to meet people and make new friends and learn from them, collecting stamps, elephants, matchbooks, old ads and unusual items.

Throughout Charles’s life, after traveling most of the world, he referred to his farm as the most beautiful place on earth.  He loved “The Rio Ridge Runners” for continuing to love the farm, spending time there and lovingly taking care of it!

He spent time at Hagerstown Somerford Assisted Living after a fall in 2020.  He was very appreciative of the friends he made there and the loving care he received.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas and Myrtle Freeland, his sister, Lillian (Nelson) Gilford, Geraldine (Earl) Brown, his brothers, Clarance (Leitha), Emory (Nellie), and a stillborn brother.  He was also preceded in death by a beautiful girl, Lorean Poland Freeland. He fell in love with her in his young teenage years at first sight while attending a church service as a Boy Scout on a camping trip in Hardy County.  He later saw her on a blind date and the rest was history!

He is survived by two children, Charles Douglas Freeland of San Diego, CA, Nancy Colbert of Shepherdstown, WV, 3 grandchildren: Christopher (Samantha) Colbert, David (Laura) Colbert, both of Shepherdstown, Tiffani “Alex” (David) Hyde of Edwards, CO; 9 great-grandchildren: Beckett and Whitten, Hyde and Hunter, Abby, Becca, Elle, Molly Kate, and Charles “Charlie” Colbert, and several nieces and nephews.

A brief graveside service will be held Sunday, January 2, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. at Rock Oak Cemetery, Baker, WV.  A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Condolences can be sent to Colbert/Freeland Family, PO Box 954, Shepherdstown, WV 25443 or online at

All arrangements are being handled by McKee Funeral Home, Augusta, WV.

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