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Darrell Freeman's death 'a great loss' to Nashville but reaction shows why his legacy lives on

The Tennessean (Nashville) logo The Tennessean (Nashville) 7/6/2022 Rachel Wegner, Nashville Tennessean
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Correction: A previous version of this story included the wrong details for Freeman's funeral arrangements. It has been updated with the correct information. 

The death of beloved Nashville business leader and mentor Darrell S. Freeman Sr. sparked an outpouring of love and support this week. 

Freeman, a self-made millionaire who served as a mentor and benefactor for aspiring Black entrepreneurs, died Tuesday after a "serious illness," his family announced on social media. He was 57.

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He built tech company Zycron Inc. and was a graduate and board member of Middle Tennessee State University. He was also the former board chair for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and a chairman for civic group 100 Black men. 

Darrell Freeman © Submitted Darrell Freeman

Here are some of the reactions from around the Nashville business and advocacy community in the wake of Freeman's death. 

'A BOLD TRUTH TELLER': Darrell Freeman, mentor and benefactor for aspiring Black entrepreneurs, dies

Freeman heralded for leadership, generosity

Middle Tennessee State University posted its condolences to social media. 

"His service to his alma mater, as a role model, donor, volunteer and leader, leaves a legacy that will inspire our students, and our community, for generations," the university said in a Twitter post. 

The Bessie Smith Cultural Center, which works to promote cultural, educational and artistic excellence of African and African American heritage, also said its thoughts and prayers were with Freeman's family. 

"Darrell and his foundation were great supporters of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. He invested in the community to help young, disadvantaged people go to college and budding Black entrepreneurs succeed," the center said on Facebook

Slim and Husky's Pizza Beeria, started by three TSU graduates Freeman mentored, also shared an Instagram post on behalf of co-founders Clint Gray, Derrick Moore and EJ Reed.  

"The wisdom, exposure, knowledge and resources that Darrell shared with us are immeasurable and have made an incredible impact on our personal and professional growth," the post said. "Darrell Freeman taught us that love for family is the foundation of success. He has forever shaped the next generation of Black leaders in Middle Tennessee and beyond. His legacy will continue to live through us and those he inspired and pulled up along the way." 

The Nashville Public Education Fund also posted to Twitter about Freeman's legacy. 

"As a former NPEF Board member, he contributed greatly to our organization," the post read. "His impact on education and the lives of so many will be felt for generations."

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee said Freeman was a past board member and friend of the foundation. 

"It is a great loss to our city and to all those whose lives were enriched by knowing Darrell personally," a Twitter post by the foundation read. "A life-long contributor to our community and generous supporter of many worthy causes and institutions, the impact of his legacy will be felt for years to come."

Safe Haven Family Shelter lauded Freeman for his generosity and support over the years. 

"He overcame significant challenges and made it his life’s work to create and enhance educational and professional opportunities for others, making room for more people to achieve success," the shelter said in a Facebook post. "Darrell invested deeply by devoting his time and gifts for the betterment of our community. What an amazing legacy! May we all follow his example and aspire to help in the ways we can with the gifts we have been given."

The Nashville Stars, who are part of a group working to bring Major League Baseball to Nashville, also added praise for Freeman on Twitter. 

"Darrell was a valuable community advisor to our group and his impact on the city of Nashville will be felt for generations to come," the Twitter post read. 

Funeral, memorial arrangements for Darrell Freeman

A public viewing for Freeman will be held on July 7 from 10 a.m. to noon at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Whites Creek, followed by a family viewing from noon to 12:30 p.m. A funeral service will begin at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to the Chi Boule Foundation at chiboulefoundation.org/DarrellFreeman

New Generation Funeral Home is handling all arrangements.

Find reporter Rachel Wegner at rawegner@tennessean.com or on Twitter @rachelannwegner.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Darrell Freeman's death 'a great loss' to Nashville but reaction shows why his legacy lives on

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