GERALD FREEMAN Gerald Warren Freeman, 83 of Nipton, Calif. and Henderson, passed away Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in the arms of his loving wife. Jerry was born Feb. 2, 1933, in Hollywood, Calif., to Bernard and Sylvia Freeman. Jerry graduated from Alexander Hamilton High School and received a bachelor of science degree in geology from Caltech. Jerry was a lifetime entrepreneur driven by opportunities made possible by the bridging old and new. He was a kind, supportive father, a loving and spirited husband, a friend who enjoyed in conversation of worldly and intellectual topics. He loved the sea, was an avid sailor and diver, yet focused his entrepreneurial vision on his other love, the desert. His parents, of Jewish faith, raised him in Los Angeles during uncertain post-depression times. In following the ideals of his father (a financial industrialist), he leveraged his degree in geology from Caltech and study of mining to reexamine the possibilities of old mining claims in Ivanpah Valley. With the support of investors, Jerry co-founded Vanderbilt Gold Corporation. Vanderbilt and Morning Star Mine grew with the price of gold for over a decade until prices plunged in 1980. Jerry's disheartened move from the gold business forced a new chapter of entrepreneurial thinking. Observations of challenging fossil fuel futures spurred interest in renewal energy systems. In 1982, Jerry acquired several acres of land in the same Ivanpah Valley and broke ground on Desert Plant Research Associates, a venture to realize the potential of renewable energy systems growing biomass fuels. Jerry's California license plate in 1983 sums it up and reveals his forward thinking, "Gro Oil." Only a few years later the propitious opportunity arrived. Nipton, the local town including store, homes and historic buildings was for sale. Nipton was purchased in 1985, where Jerry passionately explored multiple platforms for its future. Nipton became his labor of love and in 2010 Nipton was identified as the first solar-powered town in the United States. Jerry's diverse endeavors all shared the same location, the beautiful, serene Ivanpah Valley, a place that will miss his presence. Jerry's passionate involvement in the community reflected his entrepreneurial narrative, bridging old and new. He was a trustee of the Baker Valley School Board for 24 years. He also served on the Death Valley Natural History Association board and was a member of the Mojave National Preserve National Advisory Commission for many years. But most of all, he loved his family and wanted to provide for them. He was preceded in death by his son, Zachary Philip Freeman; and his parents, Bernard and Sylvia Freeman. He is immensely loved and survived by his wife, Roxanne Marie Lang; his sons, Jonathan (Joelle) and Nick (Tammie); and his grandchildren, Joshua, Jacob, Jeremy, Kiera and Carson. Celebration of Jerry's life will be at 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, at King David Memorial Chapel, 2697 E. Eldorado Lane. Donations should be made to the Pesach Fund, at Chabad of Green Valley, 10870 S. Eastern Ave., #104, Henderson, NV 89052.
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Published by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Sep. 29, 2016.