Rescued By an Amish Grandmother, Part 2

Last week I posted the first part of Freeman Kinsinger’s story, which I am continuing today. Also, for the personal connection I had with Freeman’s grandmother, see my post Memory Photos on my personal blog.

Here is more of Freeman’s story.

After my twenty-first birthday, I enrolled as a freshman at Eastern Mennonite College.  My career goal was to become a Certified Public Accountant.  However, the business program at EMC did not meet the educational requirements for becoming a CPA.  I needed to find a qualified business school to achieve my goal.  Meanwhile, after completing my freshman year and marrying Retha Schlabach, my education was put on hold.  I was drafted and completed my two-year I-W assignment in voluntary service as the Accountant for Mennonite Central Committee in Akron, Pennsylvania.  MCC is a relief, development, and peace organization that sends workers to over 60 foreign countries.  Meeting the accounting challenges at MCC was an affirmation of my career choice.

In the fall of 1964, I enrolled at the University of Buffalo, later renamed the State University of New York at Buffalo, to resume my educational and career goals.  Retha worked at SUNY at Buffalo to pay for my education.

Freeman's 1968 College Graduation

Freeman Kinsinger:
Graduation from University of Buffalo

Upon graduation in 1968 with a B.S. in Business Administration, I was employed by Arthur Anderson & Co., a world-wide CPA firm, and assigned to the Rochester, New York, office.  New York State requires two years of audit experience before one is qualified to take the three-day CPA exam.  I was licensed as a practicing CPA in 1970.  My audit work involved reviewing internal controls for audit clients; in a related move, I also completed the exam to become a Certified Fraud Examiner.  After my graduation, Retha completed her B.A. in English from SUNY at Brockport and worked as an editor with General Code Publishers, a codifier and publisher of municipal codes.

We moved to Pleasant Plains, Illinois, in 1977 to start my second career.  I was initially hired by Central Illinois Public Service Company in Springfield, an electric and gas utility serving central and southern Illinois, to establish an Internal Audit Department.  Later that year, I was elected as a financial officer of the company.  As a part of the CIPS Executive Team, I was privileged to complete the two-year Executive M.B.A. Program at the University of Illinois, all expenses paid, while working full-time.  It was an excellent opportunity to achieve a graduate degree.  After 21 years, I retired as Controller in 1998.

We adopted two children, Philip Jon in 1978, and Emily Jane in 1982.  Retha became a stay-at-home mom for the next 20 years.  She currently works in the Research Department of the Fourth District Appellate Court of Illinois.

After my retirement from CIPS, I was a substitute teacher in the Pleasant Plains Schools for several years.  Currently, I am a bus driver for the Pleasant Plains school district.  I was instrumental in organizing the Pleasant Plains Educational Support Personnel Association into an approved union affiliated with the IEA-NEA. As its initial president, I negotiated its first collective bargaining agreement with the school district.

I volunteered much of my free time to charitable and social organizations and to the church.  I served seven years on the Board of Family Service Center of Sangamon County, Illinois, several as Vice President and Treasurer.  I also served on the Boards of the YMCA and the United Way.

I was a deacon and Elder at West Side Christian Church, in Springfield, Illinois, serving numerous years as Trustee and Chairman during the construction of its new school and worship facility.  I have been a leader and teacher in various small groups at West Side.

I love the outdoors, especially bonfires after dark in the woods with our family and friends.  My favorite music is classical and jazz.  Retha and I love to travel.  We have taken trips to all the lower 48 states, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Africa.

Freeman's Amish Grandmother (1977)

Freeman’s Amish Grandmother in 1977

God has blessed us in many ways.  I appreciate my Christian heritage, especially the influence of my Amish grandmother.

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5 comments on “Rescued By an Amish Grandmother, Part 2
  1. Peggy says:

    Saloma, thank you for posting this! Reality at it’s finest!

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  3. Will Schrock says:

    Great information. Freeman’s grandmother was my great-aunt, MaryAnn. Freeman’s wife Retha, taught me typing at Mennonite school.

  4. Joseph Durr says:

    Hello Freeman. I am still here, no matter where here is. Freeman interviewed me in 1978 and I was hired to work in the Gas Department of Central Illinois Public Service company and was soon promoted to Supervisor of Internal Audit. I retired as Manager in 1996 from CIPS and I believe Freeman was Controller. We had many lunches and dinners together. Freeman was one of the good guys. I am Joseph Durr, long lost but now I am found.

    • Philip Daniels says:

      Hello Freeman…this is Phil Daniels.

      I worked for Freeman while he was Controller…I was Budget Supervisor at then Central Illinois Public Service Company (CIPS). I was also well acquainted with Joe Durr while he was Internal Audit Manager.

      I left CIPS after 20 years when Union Electric from St. Louis “merged” with CIPS to form Ameren Inc.

      I retired in 2016 after roughly 20 years in higher education administration.

      I have fond memories of both Freeman and Joe Durr!

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