In Memory of John Frees
April 22, 1930 - August 5, 2020

Back: Karen, Margaret
Front: John holding "Misty"
John Frees, age 90, of Manning, passed away on Tuesday, August 5, 2020, at Manning Regional Healthcare Center in Manning.
Private family services will be held this week.
Ohde Funeral Home in Manning is in charge of arrangements.

I have a connection to John when my dad purchased what became known as the "Bus Barn" building, and property from Johnny after he sold his feed business and went to work for the city.
We sold the property to Craig & Carla Hacker in 2017.

Dave Kusel


Johnny's Feed & Supply Company
The Manning Light Company is in the background to the west.

From the 2006 Manning Quasquicentennial history book:
John and Margaret Frees

In 1898, at the age of 14, Henry Frees, Sr. immigrated from Germany to America with his parents and two of five siblings. They settled in the Irwin area.

Anna Passig was born in Oversay, Germany in 1897. Her parents died when she was very young and consequently lived with other family members while growing up. Mr. and Mrs. Claus Struve, who had been visiting in Germany, returned to America in 1915 accompanied by Anna. She worked in the Manning/Irwin area for several years.

Henry Frees and Anna Passig were married on June 18, 1918. They were the parents of Henry Jr. (deceased), Denison; Lillie Essler, Chicago; Margaret (Trumph) Rohrbach (deceased), Chicago; Erna (Muhlbauer) Odendahl, Manning; and John, Manning.

John was born on April 22, 1930. He received his elementary education at the country school not far from his home. He then attended and graduated from the Irwin High School in 1949.

John resided with his parents on the family farm southeast of Irwin until 1950 when they moved to Manning. John worked as parts man for Steenhusen Implement in Irwin. He then worked at a Manning elevator until 1959 when he purchased the feed business from retiring Lloyd Rix. John began working as Manning City Clerk on February 1, 1965. Since retiring January 1, 1995, he enjoys bird-watching, reading, TV, visiting with friends, and getting out for a ride several times a week.

Margaret Lutwitze was born September 11, 1924, to Frank J. Lutwitze and Anna (Dentlinger) Lutwitze in Dedham, Iowa. Frank was born in 1896 at Templeton, Iowa. Anna was born in 1896 near Arcadia, Iowa. Grandfather, Anton Lutwitze was born in 1868 in Marengo, Iowa. Grandmother Hannah (Kramer) Lutwitze was born in 1872 at New Vienna, Iowa. Both Anton and Hannah's parents were of German descent. Maternal grandfather, Johann Dentlinger, was born in 1850 in Germany. He immigrated to America as a youth. Maternal grandmother, Thresia (Ratke) Dentlinger was born in Bradford, Illinois, in April 1858.

Margaret attended elementary school in Dedham and Templeton. She graduated from St. Thomas L.P.N. School of Nursing in Marshalltown December 1949. It was the first L.P.N. School in Iowa at that time. She spent some years working in Le Mars, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska before returning to Manning General Hospital to work. Margaret retired in April 1995 after 41 years employment there. She enjoys sewing, reading, TV, computer and making rosaries for the missions.

John Frees and Margaret Lutwitze were married on November 26, 1960, and made their home in Manning. John and Margaret welcomed a daughter, Karen Ann to their home on February 3, 1962. She was born at Manning General Hospital. Karen attended Manning Elementary School and graduated from M.H.S. in May 1980. She received her B.A. degree from ISU in Ames in 1984 and went on to get her MSS W and LICSW from Wisconsin University at Madison, Wisconsin. Karen is a Pediatric Clinical Social Worker at Courage Rehab Center, Golden Valley, Minnesota and resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Henry & Anna Frees home - 1009 Center Street
This picture came all the way from New Zealand from Jon Asmus...his dad, Merlin "Buddy" Asmus moved there after WWII.
Jon sent his collection of pictures to me in 2017 so I could scan them. He had found my web page in 2012 and when I found out he had lots of old pictures I asked him to send them to me.
I assume that the Asmus family was good friends with the Frees family, because there were 3 different angles taken of this home - the present day location of Todd & Jean (Wiese) Stadtlander.

So for those of you who just don't want to bother to dig out your old pix and get them to me or are worried I'll not take care of them and return them - consider that Jon, who I have never met, entrusted me with his old pix.
Actually, I was able to help ID quite a few pictures for him.


Karen Frees MHS 1980


John's retirement...


Councilman Gary Knueven visiting with John Frees at his retirement party.

Councilman Larry Hansen visiting with John Frees


Margaret (Lutwitze) Frees


Joleen (Muhlbauer), Bill Strosahl, Erna (Frees) Muhlbauer 1989

Manning City Clerk, John Frees Retires
Manning Monitor December 28, 1995

It is time to catch up on some reading and feed the birds for city clerk, John Frees, who begins his retirement on January 1, 1996.
The Manning City Council has been his employer since February 1, 1965, when councilmen Ray Pratt, Robert Hoffmann, Lyle Hansen, Dr. Merlyn Kunkel, and Gib Phillips appointed him to a two-year term as the city clerk of Manning. A position to which he has been re-appointed fifteen times.
There have only been four mayors during Frees' tenure as city clerk. They include Clousie Grimm, Robert Hoffmann, Gene Dales, and Gary Knueven. During those years there have been twenty-seven different council members.
"With the council as my boss, I have dealt with many different personalities over the years," Frees said." I have enjoyed working with every one of them."
Part of his job was to act as a trouble-shooter for the council. Frees said he tried to handle as many situations as possible to satisfy the public without going to the council.
"I am going to miss the people," he said. "This is a good town. You couldn't ask for nicer people. There are so many wonderful people in and around Manning. I certainly mean to include the farmers in that reference because they are a part of the community as well."
There have been many changes since Frees first began his job as city clerk. He remembers that the first city council meetings went so fast when basic things were done.
"Now, people come into the meetings and there are so many more wants," he said. "The people are more knowledgeable of grants and the various things that are available through the government. What they don't realize is the money that has to be up front before most of these grants will come through. I don't say they shouldn't try to get the funding, just that there is more involved than most people realize."
Frees feels that there is room for a woman on the council. "I feel there should be," he said, I "especially with the issues that there are today."
He said that he isn't exactly sure how he is going to fill his days after retirement. "Most people think they are going to have so much to do when they retire and in just a short time they have it all done." He said, "I told Tom Williams I'll probably go wash dishes!"
Frees' wife, Margaret (Lutwitze), retired from the Manning Hospital recently and Frees said they will probably travel to Minneapolis to visit their daughter when the weather is nice, other than that he'll be enjoying the birds and his hobby of reading.


Back to Dave Kusel's main page