Obituaries – 09-11-2013

Janice Virginia Freeman

Janice Virginia Freeman, 96, of Bradenton and Ogden, Ill., formerly a resident and business owner in Holmes Beach, died Sept. 1 at home in Bradenton. She was born April 30, 1917, the daughter of the late Stella Divan and Fernie Clark, and the wife of the late Carl Freeman.

She graduated from Ogden High School and from a beauty college in Chicago. For a time, she ran a beauty shop in Ogden. Janice and husband Carl owned and operated a bar and restaurant in Ogden for many years.

They came to Anna Maria Island on their honeymoon, fell in love with the island lifestyle, and opened a beach drive-in restaurant called Freeman’s Mid Island Drive-In. They operated it for years, before leasing it to other operators.

In 2002, the Freeman family organized to reopen the “drive-in” at 3901 Gulf Drive, opposite the Manatee Public Beach, and renamed it Skinny’s Place. Mrs. Freeman, known to many as “Grandma Skinny,” worked at Skinny’s Place and enjoyed many burgers and birthday cakes at the restaurant in her later years.

She lived a rich, full life, and loved to travel, especially by train. She was a fan of live theater and ice skating shows, and she loved to tell stories of her life in Ogden, and of her life’s adventures. A favorite story was how she and husband Carl discovered Anna Maria Island in 1936 on their honeymoon. She loved her burgers with juicy tomatoes and a small bottle of Classic Coke.

Graveside services were held in Homer, Ill. .

Clark Freeman remembered his grandmother in a message to The Islander, saying “The family will miss mom, grandma, Gigi, very, very much.

“She has left a legacy behind that we will remember and honor always. She was an inspiration to us, and we will love and miss her dearly.

“We know she will be there with us at Skinny’s every day, keeping us all in line and making sure the burgers and tomatoes are to her well-seasoned approval.”

Mrs. Freeman is survived by her daughter, Jan Freeman of Bradenton; son Gary Freeman of Novato, Calif.; grandchildren Estella, Clark and Maggie of Anna Maria Island and Bradenton, and Jennie and Laurel of San Francisco; and great-grandchildren Shawn Isaac, Ella and Lucine.


David A. Pomorski

David A. Pomorski, 56, of Bradenton Beach, died Sept 7. He moved in Bradenton Beach from Erie, Pa.

He was a master shipwright, who learned his trade under the influence of his father, the late Martin Pomorski.

He went on to become a fine craftsman, inventor and artist and a good golfer. His passion was wooden boats, and he won many awards for his work through the years. He loved to sail, and his greatest joy was found in a little skiff, roaming the shallows of the bay south of Cortez.

Mr. Pomorski is survived by sisters Pam Chrzanowski of Erie, Pa., and Patricia McCarthy of Denver; brother Larry and wife Camille of Erie; Uncle Edward Jares of Erie; cousin Dan and wife Theresa; and many nieces and nephews and their children.

A celebration of his life will be held at noon Saturday, Sept 14, at high noon at his residence, 116 11th St. S., Bradenton Beach. Memorial donations may be made to the boatworks program at the Florida Institute of Saltwater Heritage, P.O. Box 606, Cortez FL 34215. Condolences may be made online at www.


John Wesley ‘Scooter’ Tillison

John Wesley “Scooter” Tillison, 72, of Bradenton Beach, died Aug. 29. He was born in Oklahoma City.

He attended Draughons School of business in Oklahoma. He spent most of his life traveling in California, Nevada and Florida. He worked as a limo driver, entrepreneur and inventor and retired to Bradenton Beach.

He spent much of his time the past few years helping the Bridge Street Merchants with its outdoor markets and assisting where needed by business owners in the Bridge Street area.

“Scooter was extremely loved by everyone. He brought smiles and stories of his travel through life. He attended every event the merchants had, always providing that extra flair that made Bridge Street so special,” according to BSM market manager Melissa Enders.

Former BSM president Jo Ann Meilner wrote, “Scooter will be missed by all, he always had a smile, a laugh, a helping hand for everyone he met. His sense of humor was unmatched. He enjoyed life and touched many hearts. All who knew him were lucky to have shared in his life. Thank you, Scooter!”

Mr. Tillison was a member and officer of Moose Lodge No. 2188 and, on his death, administrator Ernie Casali recently emailed this message to members, “Scooter held the position of Prelate in our lodge. He volunteered often when he was able to do so and he was well known and liked on the island as well as in the lodge. He was always happy go lucky and joking around.

“He will be missed dearly. Our thoughts and our prayers are with him and his family.”

A celebration of his life will be held starting at noon Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Moose Lodge No. 2188, 110 Gulf Drive S., Bradenton Beach.

Daughter Alysa Higgins of Bradenton wrote, “He was loved by many and will be missed dearly.”

Mr. Tillison is survived by his daughters, Debbie Earsom of Davis, Okla., Cherita Green of Dallas, Laura Skow of Bradenton, and Higgins; and brother Jerry of Oklahoma.



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