On April 10, 2020, Philip Charles Freije (“Phil”), of Falls Church, Virginia, passed away from heart and kidney disease, at home, and surrounded by his family. Phil is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Karen, his children Michael Freije, James Freije, and Christine Cookson, his children-in-law Boglarka Freije, Emily Freije, and Jon Michael Cookson, and his five grandchildren Tyler, Ryan, Evan, Zachary, and Laila. He is also survived by the loving members of his extended family and friends.
Born in Princeton, New Jersey, on July 27, 1944, to the late Evelyn and Abraham Freije, Phil spent his formative years in New London, Connecticut, attending local primary and secondary schools and working at his father’s Army and Navy store. While growing up in New London, Phil met his future wife, Karen. Phil attended the University of Connecticut, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in 1966. In 1969, Phil received his Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut School of Law. Also in 1969 (and more importantly), Phil married his high school sweetheart, Karen. Phil and Karen moved to Arlington, Virginia, in 1970, where Phil began his career as an attorney in the Washington, D.C., area. He continued his legal education and received a Master of Laws (LLM) in International Relations from the George Washington University School of Law in 1972. Phil and Karen moved to Falls Church, Virginia, to the Lake Barcroft Community in 1975, where he served as a Director of the Lake Barcroft Community Association in 1980-1982.
Phil retired in 2009 from the federal government after serving as an attorney in a variety of roles for more than thirty-nine years. He spent the majority of his career in the Office of General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Commerce, at one point serving as Chief Counsel for Economic Affairs and Economics and Statistics Administration and as Bureau Counsel at the U.S. Census Bureau. Prior to his time with the federal government, Phil was an associate with a New London, Connecticut law firm and dedicated his time with New London Legal Aid. He was a member of the Connecticut Bar, District of Columbia Bar, Bar of the Supreme Court, American Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, and the American Judicature Society. Phil was a recipient of both the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Gold and Silver Medal Awards for Meritorious Federal Service.
Phil enjoyed spending time overlooking the Thames River and Long Island Sound off the shores of Connecticut, the Chesapeake Bay off his boat “Special K,” and Lake Barcroft from its many scenic vantage points. At the dinner table, Phil would hold court with his children discussing current events, politics, and philosophy. Later, “Jiddo” (as known by his grandchildren) would entertain the youngest family members with games of “Simon Says” or encourage an impromptu dance party. He enjoyed fishing, boating, sports, presidential and political history, and above all, his family. Phil was a dedicated family man who relished every opportunity he had to spend time with his wife, children, and grandchildren. With his immediate family living nearby, Phil was involved with all of his grandchildren’s school and extra-curricular activities, which made him, categorically and unequivocally, happy.
Phil will be buried at Columbia Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. Because of the restrictions currently in place, the family will hold a private ceremony. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you please remember Phil for the great man that he was and make a donation in his name or honor to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (www.cbf.org) or the American Heart Association (www.heart.org).