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Rebel Lewis Freitas, age 76, passed away peacefully on October 13, 2023. He was born on November 26,1946, to Milton and Flora Freitas of Atwater. He grew up on his family ranch in Atwater and took great pride in raising quality livestock. Rebel attended St. Anthony’s School and graduated 8th grade from Mitchell Junior High. Upon graduation, he attended Atwater High School, where he played baseball and football. He found his passion in raising and showing livestock, and was a dedicated member of 4-H and FFA, where he was an outstanding Ayrshire showman at local and state fairs.
After graduating from Atwater High School in 1965, Rebel became a member of Teamsters Local 386 as a truck driver for Petrig Brothers Trucking out of Tracy. During this time, he married Charlotte “Corky” Holliman. They welcomed two daughters, Dana in 1971, and Dawn in 1975. Rebel also worked at Souza’s Milk Transportation out of Gustine for the next 20 years. Following his lengthy career as a truck driver, Rebel became a successful Insurance and Investment adviser working for local companies before retiring in 2002.
Rebel had many passions in life and was very competitive, to say the least. He was an avid hunter, trap shooter, duck caller, and archer. He especially acquired a passion for duck hunting. He belonged to local duck clubs, and for many years, he was a successful duck hunting guide in Northern California. Rebel was honored to share his expertise, and produced a video called The Insiders Guide to Duck Hunting. Rebel was also a champion duck caller. He participated in duck-calling contests throughout the West Coast and held the California state champion title. His accomplishments at the state level led him to compete in the World Champion Duck Calling contest in Stuttgart, Arkansas. In later years, Rebel became competitive in archery. He won many local competitions and competed in the senior games.
Rebel was an active community member and devoted much of his time to local clubs and organizations, including Ducks Unlimited and the California Waterfowl Association. Not only did he serve as CWA President, but he held many DU dinners and meetings at his home. Rebel was a devoted alumnus of Atwater High School, and for many years, volunteered his time on the football chain gang and served on the Falcon quarterback club. He was a 52-year member of Merced Elks #1240 and a member of the Young Men’s Institute Council #80.
The name Rebel fit him perfectly. He lived a full, adventurous life. Rules did not seem to apply to him; he enjoyed having his own way regardless of the consequences. Yet, he was a good family provider and generous to many. His grandkids brought him great joy, and he took pride in watching his grandsons playing baseball and soccer, and his granddaughters playing volleyball, cheerleading, and showing hogs at jackpots and local fairs. He enjoyed watching Sunday football, and you always wondered who he would be rooting for. If you ever wanted to find Rebel, all you had to do was look for his red Ford truck at the Almond Tree or Brooks Ranch. Rebel lived life to the fullest and will be greatly missed by many, especially his family.
Rebel was preceded in death by his father, Milton Freitas, mother, Flora Freitas, and brother Lex Freitas.
Rebel is survived by his two daughters, Dana Freitas and Dawn (Nathan) Silva of Atwater; five grandchildren, Arianna Freitas, Nathanial Silva, Shayla Silva, Noah Silva, and Isabella Silva; one sister, Katherine Freitas of Oregon; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, from 3-6 PM at Wilson Family Funeral Chapel, 1290 Winton Way in Atwater, with a rosary at 5 PM. A Mass of Resurrection will be held at St. Anthony's Catholic Church, 1801 Winton Way, Atwater, on Thursday, November 9, 2023, at 10 AM. A burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Merced, with a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his remembrance to the Rebel L. Freitas Scholarship fund to Atwater High School, PO Box 835, Atwater, CA 95301, Attn: Bookkeeper.