Eta Mu Chapter of Sigma Chi at Eastern Illinois - Craig Freels ’74 Enters the Chapter Eternal

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Craig Freels ’74 Enters the Chapter EternalAs most of you have already heard, Craig Robert Freels ’74, age 65, of Centralia, Illinois, entered the Chapter Eternal at 11:13 a.m. on Friday, August 25, 2017.

In addition to being a beloved brother of Sigma Chi, Craig was a loving husband and father, a caring friend, and a great tennis coach at his local high school. His contributions in life will not be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Craig’s family during this difficult time.

Coach Freels was born on December 25, 1951 in Belleville, Illinois, the son of Bob and Connie (Mann) Freels. He married Nancy L. Meyer on August 2, 1980 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Centralia, Illinois and she survives him in Centralia, Illinois.

In addition to his wife of 37 years, Coach Freels is survived by his two sons, Tom Freels and wife Sarah of Dayton, Ohio and Blake Freels and wife Jessica of Centralia, Illinois; daughter, Lindsey Jo Freels of Centralia, Illinois, mother, Connie Freels of Centralia, Illinois; three brothers, Brad Freels and wife Nancy of Centralia, Illinois, Scott Freels and wife Angie of Centralia, Illinois and Kirk Freels and wife Melodee of Centralia, Illinois; four nephews, Dustin Freels, Dallas Freels, John Hochgrebe and Ryan Freels; niece, Mandy Jones and husband Luke; great nephew, Chase Jones; four great nieces, Charli Jones, Remi Jones, Chesni Jones and Jaxi Jones; sister-in-law, Sara Hochgrebe of St. Louis, Missouri and brother-in-law, Richard Meyer of Lucas, Kentucky. He was a beloved friend and coach to all that knew him.

Coach Freels was preceded in death by his father, brother, Todd Mann Freels and brother-in-law, Ralph Hochgrebe.

Coach Freels was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Centralia, Illinois, where he was an usher since 1980, served as an Elder and was a member of the church choir. He was a 20 year member and past president of the Central City/Centralia Lions Club. He was a member of the Centralia B.P.O.E Lodge 493. He was a member of the St. Clair Tennis Club since college. He loved to cook and barbeque for family and friends. Coach Freels graduated with the Centralia High School's Class of 1970 and with his Bachelor of Science from Eastern Illinois University in 1974. He was a brother of the Eta Mu Chapter of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He was the “Golden Voice” of the Orphans for many years. He has lived all of his life in Centralia, Illinois.

Coach Freels was Physical Education/Drivers Education Teacher for 29 years and Head Tennis Coach for 35 years at the Centralia High School. After his retirement from Centralia High School in 2007, he was a Physical Education/Drivers Eduction Teacher at Christ Our Rock Lutheran High School for 8 years. He also coached at Kaskaskia College. He brought the tennis program back to the college, and was instrumental in the construction of the tennis courts. Coach Freels was inducted into the KC Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Centralia Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. He was most proud to be known as “Coach” to so many. As a coach, he recorded over 300 career dual meet wins. He was the first Centralia High School tennis player to qualify for the IHSA State Tournament in singles play.

Please view the online obituary, send condolences, or share memories with Coach Freels’ family at or on the funeral home’s Facebook page.

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