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Man killed by falling tree was cutting wood

Updated: 2014-02-12T00:38:10Z

By TONY RIZZO

The Kansas City Star

A man killed by a falling tree Monday in Edwardsville was cutting trees on a neighbor’s property for firewood, authorities said Tuesday.

Edwardsville police identified the man as 68-year-old Robert Freeman.

Freeman’s wife, Phyllis Freeman, was the longtime city clerk of Edwardsville. She died in January 2013.

Neighbors described Robert Freeman as someone always willing to lend a hand to anyone who needed help.

“He was one of those guys who was always there whenever you needed something,” said neighbor Earl Huffman.

A resident of the property in the 1500 block of South 98th Street discovered Freeman pinned under the large tree and called 911 just before 6 p.m. Monday, said Edwardsville Police Chief Mark Mathies. Freeman was pronounced dead at the scene. The tree was about as wide as a door, Mathies said.

The resident had gone to check on Freeman after noticing that he had not been seen for about an hour, Mathies said. The family that lived on the property had given him permission to cut trees.

An autopsy conducted Tuesday confirmed that there was no foul play, police said.

Huffman described Freeman as an avid outdoorsman with a large group of friends.

“He loved to hunt and fish,” Huffman said.

Another resident of the area, Jackie Brant, said Freeman was known for his kindness to his neighbors.

“He was a wonderful man,” Brant said Tuesday. “I couldn’t sleep last night. I was thinking about him and his family.”

To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to trizzo@kcstar.com.

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