Charles Eugene Freidline, a prominent Adventist educator and chemist, was born October 5, 1937 in San Francisco, California, the eldest of two children born to Lawrence Logan Freidline and Catherine Mae McQuillan (1904-1994; 1908-1993).
Lawrence Freidline was a descendant of farmers who followed a migration path from Pennsylvania to Ohio, then Indiana, and finally, after the American Civil War, Kansas, where Lawrence was born and raised. Choosing to leave the farming life for opportunities in the big city, Lawrence worked on the Ford assembly lines in Detroit, Michigan for a time and then moved to San Francisco where he became an electrician in the 1920s and later worked on the Golden Gate Bridge construction project. It was in San Francisco that he met and married Catherine Mae McQuillanin in 1929. Catherine was born in Denver, Colorado, the daughter of accountant Charles McQuillin. After her mother’s untimely death, friends who later became neighbors in Ceres, California raised Catherine.1
Charles (“Chuck”) Freidline was born with the genetic condition Nail-Patella syndrome (also known as hereditary osteo-onychodysplasia or Fong disease among other names). As an adult, he considered it providential that his family lived near the Shriners Hospital for Children in San Francisco during his early years, close enough for his mother to walk, pushing him in a stroller to his therapy appointments.2 Charles endured many operations as a child, and his condition led to severe, lifelong impairments.
In 1943 the Freidlines relocated to Ceres, California where they purchased a chicken and raisin grape farm. It was here that Charles was baptized in the Ceres First Baptist Church at the age of eight. Raised in a devout home and deeply spiritual, Charles Freidline had dreams of serving God as an evangelist or missionary, but his health precluded such vocations. At the age of nine he received his first chemistry set, and by the age of twelve, chemistry had become a passion.3 After graduating from Ceres High School in 1955, Freidline attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where he majored in chemistry and met his future wife, Bethel “Beth” Evelyn Anderson, an English major who later completed graduate work in social work and practiced individual, family, and couples therapy privately. The couple married on August 6, 1960 in Orange, California.
Despite the limitations that Freidline’s health presented, he lived an active and productive life, pursuing a career in chemistry education while also devoting time to his interest in poetry and music. Freidline completed his graduate work at the University of Minnesota, completing his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1966. His research included using spectroscopic instrumentation to study the chemistry of lead and its reactivity with compounds in the environment. While in graduate school, he co-authored two articles in 1965 and 1966 with his advisor, R. Stuart Tobias, a chemistry professor at the University of Minnesota.4
Career and Ministry
Following graduate school, Freidline moved to Fayette, Missouri where he taught chemistry at Central Methodist College for seventeen years. While in Fayette, Freidline and his wife adopted an infant son whom they named Jonathan Lewis Freidline. In 1970, Beth, while visiting her husband who was receiving treatment at the Columbia, Missouri hospital, attended a series of Adventist tent meetings and was baptized by Jim Hoehn—then pastor of the Columbia Church, later president of the Kansas-Nebraska Conference. Freidline was more reluctant to join the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but when he finally made a commitment in about 1972, it was whole-hearted. He became very active in the leadership of the Columbia Church, including conducting stop-smoking seminars, and by 1982 was interested in teaching at an Adventist college.5
About this time, a chemistry faculty position opened at Union College. While Freidline desired to apply, health complications again intervened, preventing him from applying by the deadline. However, during the fall of 1982 fiscal problems at Central Methodist College resulted in the loss of Freidline’s position, prompting him to inquire about a position at Union College. This time he followed through with the application and in January 1983 began teaching chemistry at Union College where he would remain until he retired in 2012.6
In addition to teaching and research, Freidline worked part-time for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region VII. Between 1980 and 1995 he conducted laboratory inspections, taught lab technicians how to perform government-required analyses, and successfully devised a method for separating the twenty-two isomers of tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, the bi-products of burning organic materials, using matrix isolation gas chromatographic fourier transform infrared spectrophotometry. The results of this research were published in 1988. He also wrote an EPA guide for wastewater treatment plant analysts.7
Avocationally, Freidline enjoyed singing and writing poetry. His interest in music was spurred during his childhood by the musical leadership of Cliff Barrows, a fellow member of the Ceres First Baptist Church who later gained fame as the musical director for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Freidline enjoyed singing, frequently performing in church, community, and college choirs where he occasionally soloed.8 Freidline’s poems were often written as gifts for students, friends, and family or as mnemonic devices for classes. Many of his poems were also written privately about his own feelings, experiences, and thoughts.
About the time he moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, his struggle with Nail-Patella syndrome progressed to kidney failure. In August 1985 he underwent a successful kidney transplant, which granted him another 28 years of life. After retirement Freidline was honored with emeritus status and continued to teach part-time until metastatic colon cancer, diagnosed in the fourth stage in the spring of 2013, weakened him too much. He died on July 4, 2013.
Freidline’s success as a teacher was marked by his creativity, patience, kindness, and passion for mentoring students. From College View Seventh-day Adventist Church kindergartners, for whom he composed or wrote original songs, skits, and simple talks combining science and spiritual truths, to college students, who he mentored in original research projects, Freidline inspired more than one generation of students to pursue careers in chemistry and medicine. He wrote laboratory manuals for Union College’s analytical and instrumental analysis course and chemistry experiments used in general chemistry. Freidline was well known for the chemistry musical mnemonic devices he composed and taught to students. As a mark of his affection for his students, he composed a poem for each chemistry major upon their graduation as well as for other science and pre-professional students accepted into graduate programs. As one of his last professional activities, he served on the planning committee for Union College’s Krueger Center for Science and Mathematics. He was able to tour the nearly completed building just before his death.
While he was a very successful teacher, loved by students and recognized by his peers when he received the Thomas and Violet Zapara Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1990, his influence was most felt in his role as advisor. Through the years, Freidline advised not only chemistry majors, but also pre-professional students in medicine, nursing, physical therapy, and allied health. Some of his chemistry students became teaching colleagues at Union College. Frequently his former advisees became his own doctors, nurses, and medical technicians. Freidline’s legacy continues in the work of Carrie Wolfe, chair of Union College’s Division of Science and Mathematics, and Frankie Rose, Union College Vice-President for Academic Administration.
France, Sue. “Methodist College Plans Drastic Cuts to Meet Fiscal Crisis.” Kansas City Times. November 20, 1982, sec. C.
Freidline, Charles. Help! I’m Being Held Captive in a Wastewater Treatment Plant Laboratory!!: A Helpful Guide for In-Service Wastewater Analysts. Kansas City: Environmental Protection Agency. Region VII, 1994.
———. “How God Brought Me to Union College.” Presentation. Union College, Lincoln, Nebraska, April 4, 2013.
———. “How Is God Leading in Your Life?” Presentation. Union College, Lincoln, Nebraska, April 24, 2007.
———. “Lawrence Freidline-Our Father.” Eulogy. Crown Hill Mortuary, Denver, CO, March 11, 1994. Beth Freidline.
———. “Memories of Mom.” Eulogy. Crown Hill Mortuary, Denver, CO, May 1, 1993. Beth Freidline.
Freidline, Charles E., and R. Stuart Tobias. “Studies on the Hydrolysis and Structure of the Aquodimethyllead (IV) Ion by Electromotive Force Measurements and by Raman and Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.” Inorganic Chemistry 5, no. 3 (1966): 354–361.
Holloway, Thomas T., Billy J. Fairless, Charles E. Freidline, Harry E. Kimball, Robert D. Kloepfer, Charles J. Wurrey, Laleh A. Jonooby, and Harold G. Palmer. “Performance of a Gas Chromatographic-Matrix Isolation-Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer.” Applied Spectroscopy 42, no. 2 (1988): 359–369.
“Obituary - Charles Eugene Freidline.” Aspen Cremation & Burial Service, July 2013. http://www.aspenaftercare.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=371:charles-eugne-freidline&Itemid=15.
Skinner, Linda. “Tribute to the Teachers of Jorgensen Hall.” Cord Magazine, Winter 2013.
Tobias, R. Stuart, and Charles E. Freidline. “Raman Spectroscopic and Emf Studies on Aqueous Solutions of the Trans-Tetrahydroxidodimethylstannate (IV) Ion. The Four Acid Dissociation Constants of the Dimethyltin (IV) Aquo Ion.” Inorganic Chemistry 4, no. 2 (1965): 215–220.
Beth Freidline, “Letter to Author,” March 23, 2017; Charles Freidline, “Lawrence Freidline-Our Father” (Eulogy, Crown Hill Mortuary, Denver, CO, March 11, 1994), Beth Freidline.↩
“Obituary - Charles Eugene Freidline” (Aspen Cremation & Burial Service, July 2013), http://www.aspenaftercare.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=371:charles-eugne-freidline&Itemid=15; Charles Freidline, “Memories of Mom” (Eulogy, Crown Hill Mortuary, Denver, CO, May 1, 1993), Beth Freidline.↩
Charles Freidline, “How Is God Leading in Your Life?” (Presentation, Union College, Lincoln, Nebraska, April 24, 2007).↩
R. Stuart Tobias and Charles E. Freidline, “Raman Spectroscopic and Emf Studies on Aqueous Solutions of the Trans-Tetrahydroxidodimethylstannate (IV) Ion. The Four Acid Dissociation Constants of the Dimethyltin (IV) Aquo Ion,” Inorganic Chemistry 4, no. 2 (1965): 215–220; Charles E. Freidline and R. Stuart Tobias, “Studies on the Hydrolysis and Structure of the Aquodimethyllead (IV) Ion by Electromotive Force Measurements and by Raman and Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy,” Inorganic Chemistry 5, no. 3 (1966): 354–361.↩
Beth Freidline, “Letter to Author,” March 23, 2017; Charles Freidline, “How Is God Leading in Your Life?”; Charles Freidline, “How God Brought Me to Union College” (Presentation, Union College, Lincoln, Nebraska, April 4, 2013).↩
Freidline, “How Is God Leading in Your Life?”; Freidline, “How God Brought Me to Union College”; Sue France, “Methodist College Plans Drastic Cuts to Meet Fiscal Crisis,” Kansas City Times, November 20, 1982, sec. C.; Linda Skinner, “Tribute to the Teachers of Jorgensen Hall,” Cord Magazine, Winter 2013.↩
Thomas T. Holloway et al., “Performance of a Gas Chromatographic-Matrix Isolation-Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer,” Applied Spectroscopy 42, no. 2 (1988): 359–369; Charles Freidline, Help! I’m Being Held Captive in a Wastewater Treatment Plant Laboratory!!: A Helpful Guide for In-Service Wastewater Analysts (Kansas City: Environmental Protection Agency. Region VII, 1994).↩
Freidline, “How God Brought Me to Union College”; Freidline, “Letter to Author.”↩