Stanley Kenneth Freiberg

August 26, 1923 - November 20, 2022

Stan's Life in Photos

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Tribute by Tim:

The Fastest Man Alive

Each of us knows a person only through our own unique interactions with them and so the same person means something different to each and every one of us. Stan's great grandchildren knew him as old and slow. When I was young and watched my father beat out an infield hit in baseball, I thought he was the fastest man alive. I wondered why he chose a career in literature instead of playing for the Yankees.


Most people knew my father as a literary master of English literature who had a commanding presence and led students like a shepherd leads his flock. His great grandchildren never saw this side of him. In high school he picked his own nickname and he referred to it jokingly many times over the decades - "Professor Darwin Longworth Stankleyfreinethberglystan Puts K Freiberg". Other highschool friends simply called him Puts.

Fishing Lessons

My most memorable experience with my dad was when the two of us hiked into the San Bernardino mountains and came across a large trout in a shallow stream. With no fishing gear, we worked together to try to catch the over-sized trout by hand. Eventually he came up with a plan where I drove the trout downstream over his submerged hands and he flipped it out of the water onto the shore.

I was overjoyed with our success and wondered how we would get our catch back to the car. I was shocked when he said we wouldn't be taking it. He said the point had been only to catch the fish. Our task was complete and he released the fish back into the stream. Ever since that day, I'm always at peace when I go fishing and I've never kept a catch since that day when I went trout fishing by hand with my father.

Early Life

Stanley Kenneth Freiberg was born August 26, 1923 in Merrill, Wisconsin. As the son of Arthur Freiberg and Anna Erickson he spent his childhood at 110 Logan St. in Merrill. Stan was pre-deceased by his older brother James Arthur Freiberg and his younger brother Donald (Duke) Alden Freiberg. He had many relatives in Merrill, staying closest to the large clan of Ericksons.

Marjorie Ellen Speckhard

Stan met his wife, Marj, at Valparaiso University in Indiana. World War II interrupted their time together. They were married after the war. They had two children, Tim and Teresa. Marjorie passed away in Calgary and Stan was a widower for 49 years.

World War II on the German Front

During the war, Stan served in the United States Blackhawk Division on the front line in Germany. Each morning he would wake up in their camp near Cologne and look in the distance to see if the cathedral was still standing. The entire downtown of Cologne was flattened by the Germans in the war, but the Cologne Cathedral was unscathed. Stan's daily routine was to take his rifle, a walkie talkie and his binoculars on a walk through the forests along the Rhine River, scouting for Germans. When he spotted the enemy, he would adjust artillery fire by calling on the walkie talkie. His main objective though was to avoid being picked off by a German sniper.

World War II in the Philippines

When Germany was liberated, Stan was sent to fight in Japan, but Japan surrendered while he was en route. So, he became part of a standby force in the Philippines, in case Japan did not honour their surrender. He never talked much about his time in Germany, but he loved to talk about the time time he spent with the military in the Philippines playing baseball every day.

William Blake Scholar

Before the war, Stan was planning to be a lawyer. After the war he decided that English literature was his life's calling. He attended the University of Wisconsin and the University of Minnesota to get his Phd in Romantic Literature and become a Blake scholar. His obsession with William Blake continued for his entire life.

University Career

After a short time teaching high school in Houston and at a college in Nevada, Missouri, Stan taught at a number of universities including Redlands (California), Reno (Nevada), Baghdad (Iraq) and Calgary (Alberta). He also taught summer school in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. Stan's time in Baghdad started his poetry career and his great sympathy for the people of the Middle East. It also marked the beginning of his interest in travel.

His Works

Stan's work was intricately tied to his travels. His time spent in Baghdad, Newfoundland, Ontario, Mexico, Noway, Peru, India and Poland all resulted in volumes of poems and short stories. In later years he also began composing music and writing Blake dissertations, as well as doing local productions of his works. His interest with English literature was just as strong at age 99 as it was at the beginning of his career.

Stan will be missed by a great many friends and relatives who knew him through many varied and unique perspectives.

Listen to "The Stanley K Freiberg Project" Podcast

List of Works   Publications

Literary Biography

Poet, playwright, and fiction writer, Stanley K. Freiberg is a Blake scholar and a specialist in the English Romantic period. He received his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin in 1957. Retired from the University of Calgary department of English in 1979, he has taught at universities in the United States, Canada and Baghdad, Iraq.

FREIBERG, Stanley Kenneth, BA, MA, PhD; fmr teacher, poet and writer; b. 26 Aug. 1923, Wisconsin, USA; m. Marjorie Ellen Speckhard 1947; one s. one d.; ed University of Wisconsin; Chair, English Dept, Cottey College, Nevada, MO 1954-58; Chair., Board of Foreign Language Studies, Univ. of Baghdad 1964-65; Canada Council Award 1978. Publications: The Baskets of Baghdad: Poems of the Middle East 1967, Plumes of the Serpent: Poems of Mexico 1973, The Caplin-Crowded Seas: Poems of Newfoundland 1975, Nightmare Tales: Ten Stories of Nova Scotia 1980, Mad Blake at Felpham (play) 1987, The Hidden City: A Poem of Peru 1988, Blake and Beethoven in the Tempest (play) 1997, The Dignity of Dust: Poems from the Four Directions 1997, Sverre, King of Norway: Drama of 12th Century Norway 1999, Jahanara, Daughter of the Taj Mahal: Drama of the Mogul Empire 1631-1681 1999, Black Madonna of the Deluge: Drama of 17th Century Poland 2000, Anaho of the Southstars: Novella of Pyramid Lake, Nevada 2003, On Gravel Roads: Tales of Early Ontario 2004; Bush, Blake and Job in the Garden of Eden (play) 2005:contrib. to Redlands Review, Christian Century, Dalhousie Review, Queen's Quarterly, Ariel, Parnassus of World Poets 1994.