1921 - 2016

Marshall Freedman, M.D. (S ’53, I ’54)

We mourn the loss of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and family patriarch, Marshall A. Freedman, MD. He was a mentor and father figure to many whose lives he touched over his 95 years. Ever curious and caring about others, he brightened the lives of countless patients, colleagues, friends and family and brought out the best in many. Marshall was born March 2, 1921, Elizabeth, NJ, to Robert and Helen Burke Freedman. He grew up in the Great Depression and this made an indelible imprint on his outlook. As a teenager, he read “Arrowsmith” by Sinclair Lewis and determined to become a physician to alleviate human suffering. His fascination with learning and science dated from reading “Microbe Hunters” by Paul de Cruif. He attended high school at Baltimore City College in Baltimore, MD, then graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and its Medical School in fast-track WWII ending as a Captain in the Army. He married his first love, Betty Sue Borwick of Denver, CO on Aug. 16, 1947. After the war, he continued his medical training, including residencies at Mount Sinai in New York, Los Angeles County Hospital and the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. Marshall and Betty settled in Denver for good in 1954. Marshall practiced internal medicine with a series of other doctors. He was one of the first doctors in Colorado to specialize in Gastroenterology, the study and treatment of digestive diseases, and helped pioneer the use of new diagnostic equipment, which has now become routine for the field. He trained many doctors in this complex area and brought young doctors into his practice. Working with a young laboratory manager at Rose Hospital, Marshall co-founded Denver Clinical Labs, the first commercial, computer-operated laboratory for urinalysis and blood tests in Denver. With his father, Robert Freedman, and partner Glenn Douthit, Marshall helped develop some of the first modern nursing homes in the Denver area. A lifelong traveler and eclectic art collector with his beloved wife Betty, Marshall was an active trustee of the Denver Art Museum as it built the North Building, designed by Ponti and Sudler architects, in 1971. He subsequently served on the board of Colorado Public Radio station KCFR. An avid greenhouse cultivator of flowering plants and succulents, Marshall gave hundreds of plants to patients and nurses at the Veteran’s Hospital in Denver. An iconoclast, and inveterate joke-teller, he visited hospital wards wearing old jeans, bright red suspenders and T-shirts with impolitic sayings. One depicted a frog being swallowed by a large bird that the frog was attempting to strangle, “Never, ever give up!” After retiring from private practice in his mid-70s, Marshall turned his full attention and energies to volunteering 5 days a week at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, the region’s premier academic medical center, serving on the hospital’s academic appointments and liver transplant committees. He was awarded both ‘Outstanding Clinical Faculty Member’ and ‘Volunteer of the Year’ there numerous times. He also worked at the Denver Veterans Administration Hospital Gastroenterology Clinic for over 25 years. He carried on his activities at both hospitals to age 94, a testament to his intelligence, commitment and tenacity and the respect and affection with which he was held by his peers. An annual lecture in his name at the Department of Gastroenterology at the University of Colorado Medical Center honors young Fellows in the department. Marshall and Betty Freedman were married for 68 years, and he died peacefully at home with her holding his hand on June 12, 2016. He is survived by his wife, Betty, a son, Jonathan Borwick Freedman of Burlingame, CA, and a daughter, Tracy Freedman of San Francisco, CA. A beloved son, Douglas Freedman died in 1954. He has 6 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren in Northern California and Oak Park, IL. Family attended a private memorial service. A Celebration of Marshall’s life will be held later this summer. Donations may be made to the Division of Gastroenterology, at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Obituary courtesy of Denver Post