By JOANA SALIEVSKA
Sue Freehling, a native Hyde Parker and former owner of Freehling Pot & Pan Co., will be the grand marshal of the 4th on 53rd Parade next Wednesday, July 4. The parade committee selected Freehling for her contributions to the Hyde Park and Kenwood communities.
“We normally choose somebody who is a community person, somebody who is actively improving the local communities,” said Vanessa Ellis, parade committee member. Freehling was nominated by committee member Camille Hamilton-Doyle. “Anybody on the committee can nominate and then we take a vote,” said Ellis.
Freehling, aside from her time at Wellesley College, has lived in Hyde Park her whole life. She opened her famous Pot & Pan Co. because “I liked to cook and there weren’t a lot of places to buy cookware at the time,” she told the Herald in a 2017 interview. Her store, which closed last year, was open for nearly 43 years and Freehling attributes her success to her “really nice customers, they made it easy,” she said.
The store brought customers from all over the city. “I’m just glad they shopped there and I hope they got good quality cookware for their money,” said Freehling.
Freehling, who worked for the Chicago Northwest Railroad as a financial analyst before opening her store, loves Hyde Park. “I just like the old buildings and walking down the street and seeing everyone I know. I love that it’s diverse, that is maybe the most important thing,” she said.
Freehling hopes there aren’t going to be too many high-rises in the neighborhood, “it’s sort of congested around here,” she said. But she thinks the neighborhood has remained “pretty much the same” in her time here. “I think it draws the same type of person,” said Freehling.
Freehling received a call sometime in May from the parade committee. She and her husband were in Florida when the committee called to let her know she would be the grand marshal. “I was excited,” she said. “The parade is fun and I like getting to see all the kids on their little tricycles. They really think they’ve hit the big time,” she added.
Freehling hopes “everyone will come out for the parade,” because “when there are more people marching than watching, that’s a good thing,” she said.