Lila Freedman

Long-time Yale College Director of Publications Lila Freedman passed away in the Whitney Center in Hamden Wednesday night.  She was 86 years old. Born in Brooklyn in 1924, Freedman earned her B.A. from Brooklyn College, an M.A. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and her Ph.D. with Honors from the University of Wisconsin.  After teaching at the University of Rhode Island and the University of Iowa, she worked as a free-lance editor before moving to New Haven in 1972.  She joined Yale in 1974, ultimately rising to the position of Director of Publications for Yale College, where she edited the Yale College Course Catalogue and supervised the numerous other publications.  A passionate student of Yale architecture and ornament, she authored many articles on the gargoyles of Yale and led Elderhostel tours of the campus.  She also edited and wrote an introduction for former Yale College Dean of Undergraduate Students Martin Griffin’s   book, Latitudinarianism in Seventeenth-Century England as well as a collection of Griffin’s informal writing, In His Own Words.  Beloved by her colleagues and by the bursary students she mentored, Lila Freedman also taught composition in the English Department, tutored high-school students, and participated in the Center for Independent Studies.  She retired from Yale in 1995. Lila ‘s other great love in life was travel.   She spent much of her free time in Europe and North and West Africa. Lila Freedman is survived by her brother, Robert Hermann, of Brookline, Mass., two sons, Jonathan of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Mark of Paris, France, and by six adoring grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.


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  1. Ruth Koizim said,

    04.10.11 at 12:19 pm

    I am so very sad to learn of Lila’s passing. My love and sympathies go out to Mark and Jonathan and your whole family.

    Whenever I show visitors around Yale, I share with them small bits of the history of the gargoyles that Lila pointed out to me over the years. What a woman she was! How I miss her!

    Love, Ruth

  2. Yuhong Li said,

    04.28.11 at 7:04 pm

    I cannot believe Lila passed away. How I wish she would always be there and smile at me.

    “Oh,boy!” Lila said when I told her something interesting about China. After that, she added: “boy” here doesn’t mean that “boy.” She was teaching me English.

    I came to New Haven in 2004 from Beijing, China. Lila was my first English teacher in the U.S.

    I still remember the day we met for the first time. It was a sunny afternoon. Lila sat at a desk and she prepared a pen and a notebook for me to study. She was a strict teacher. Whenever I made mistakes on pronunciation, she would stop me and say “I don’t know what you are talking about.” I was very frustrated at the beginning, especially when Lila told me she could not understand me when I said “I LOVE my husband.”–” You have to place your top front teeth against your bottom lip when you pronounce V.” Lila told me and bit her bottom lip with her front teeth tightly. I can never forget this in my whole life.

    I laughed and–cried when I though of this. I miss you so much, Lila.

    I visited Lila once a week since 2004 until I moved to NYC and studied at Columbia University in 2007. Lila taught me English and corrected my English writings. She recommended me many good English novels. We became very good friends and she told me her stories as well. We kept in touch even after I moved to NYC until she was sick and could not remember who I was.

    I moved to Hong Kong for good last April and I went to see her at the Whitney Center before I left. She could not speak clearly and I don’t know if she knew me then, but we both cried when I left. It was the last time I saw her.

    I am so grateful for having a great teacher and friend like Lila. Rest in peace, Lila, and I LOVE you.

    Yuhong Li