William R. Freer (“Coach”)

July 18, 1942 – December 8, 2020

William Ransom Freer, aka “The Coach”, of Modena, New York, passed away peacefully at Vassar Brothers Hospital. He was 78 years old.

Born in Margaretville, NY to Ransom K. Freer, Jr. and Hildreth Freer-DuBois, Bill attended the two-room Gardiner Schoolhouse from kindergarten through eighth grade. Starting in 1956 he attended New Paltz High School, in the building that is now known as New Paltz Middle School. During his high school career, Bill became a star athlete, excelling in football, baseball, basketball and track and field.

Bill graduated from New Paltz High School in 1960 and chose to continue his education at SUNY Cortland. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in physical education (eventually earning his master’s degree as well), he returned to New Paltz and accepted a teaching position in the Physical Education department at the high school in 1964.

Over the next 33 years, Bill taught multiple generations of families who would attend New Paltz High School. Upon entering as a teacher, Bill also began his coaching career, a career which saw him coach football, basketball, and baseball.

After retiring in 1997, “Coach” began traveling around the country. An annual six-week journey to Florida to attend the New York Mets spring training, as well as visiting friends and playing golf, became a staple of his late winter, early spring seasons. Bill also enjoyed for many years his participation in a fantasy baseball league with his friends. It too would take him to places across the country, as he and other members of his league would make annual trips to various baseball stadiums around the nation.

As a lifelong fan of the New York Giants, Bill enjoyed being a season-ticket holder for Giants games for over 30 years, beginning in the mid-1970s and concluding in 2010. He became a favorite of the other fans around his section for forming fan clubs for certain players, among them Gary Shirk. The biggest highlight during his time as a season-ticket holder was no doubt attending and celebrating the Giants’ first Super Bowl victory at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California in January of 1987.

Bill touched so many lives because of his desire to educate and inform young men and women to strive to be the best version of themselves, through practice and hard work. His humor, compassion, understanding, and experience impacted more than just his students, but friends and family as well, through good times and bad. If nothing else, he would want to be remembered as a good father to Michael and Matthew, and a good friend to all who knew him.

Coach always tried to treat everyone fairly and because of that he became a beloved member of our community, often living by the axiom of “Gardiner Rules.”

Bill was predeceased by his parents, one brother, John, and his stepfather, Gerald DuBois.

He is survived by his son Michael and wife Betty of Davenport, FL; son Matthew of Modena, NY; granddaughter Katelyn of Davenport, FL; former wife Eleanor of Deland, FL; brothers James and Beth of Gardiner, NY and Kenneth of Fairfield, CA; and many nieces and nephews.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic parameters, the family has decided to forego any memorial viewing at this time. A celebration of Bill’s life will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bill’s name to:
New Paltz Athletic Association (196 Main St., New Paltz, NY 12561)
Gardiner Reformed Church (P.O. Box 261, Gardiner, NY 12525)
Gardiner Fire Department (P.O. Box 271, Gardiner, NY 12525)
Gardiner Library (133 Farmer’s Turnpike, Gardiner, NY 12525)
Or a charity of your choice

Copeland Funeral Home is honored to assist the family with the arrangements.

Online condolences may be left for the family of William by visiting www.copelandhammerl.com.

Join the family! Grab a free month of HV1 from the folks who have brought you substantive local news since 1972. We made it 50 years thanks to support from readers like you. Help us keep real journalism alive.
- Geddy Sveikauskas, Publisher

Related Posts

Next Post

Latest HV1 Podcast


6:54 am6:36 pm EDT
Feels like: 54°F
Wind: 9mph N
Humidity: 73%
Pressure: 30.05"Hg
UV index: 0

Ulster County COVID-19 Active Cases


Independent. Local. Substantive. Subscribe now.