Marvin Davis Free, Jr.

Marvin Davis Free, Jr., of Fort Atkinson, passed away on July 13, 2019, at his home, surrounded by his loving family and dog, Abby.

Marvin was born on Sept. 16, 1947, in San Francisco, son of Marvin D. Free and Julia (Frierson) Free.

He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1970, a Master of Business in 1972, a Master of Arts in 1977 from Baylor University and a Ph.D in 1985 from the University of Denver.

In July 1979, Marvin married his wife, Sandra Gardsbane. They were married for 40 years. Together they had two children, Jonathan Free and Benjamin Free.

Marvin was involved in his children’s lives as an active volunteer and leader in Boy Scouts. He never missed a sporting event or school event in which they participated.

He began his teaching career at the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County in 1985.

In 1996, he accepted a position at UW-Whitewater, where he worked as a professor of Sociology and Criminology until his retirement in January 2015. He was the author of many books and articles, where his research primarily centered on wrongful convictions.

Following his retirement, he traveled with Abby, his beloved dog, as a team visiting nursing homes, group homes and day care centers. They also were a part of the reading program at the Dwight Foster Public Library in Fort Atkinson.

Marvin spent his time diligently training Abby to compete in American Kennel Club Obedience and Rally events. They were quite the team, winning many first-place ribbons as Abby acquired six titles.

Marvin is survived by his wife, Sandra; sons, Jonathan and Benjamin; sister, Kaye (Don) Ellison, and many family members and friends.

He was preceded in death by his father and mother; sister, Faye Deaton; brother-in-law, Ray Deaton; and brother-in-law, Brian Gardsbane.

A memorial graveside service will be held at Evergreen Cemetery in Fort Atkinson on Saturday, July 20, at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Kennel Club of Fort Atkinson, P.O. Box 205, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538.

Dunlap Memorial Home in Fort Atkinson is assisting the family with arrangements.

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