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Memorial service held for physician

January 16, 1997

By BRENDAN KIRBY

Staff Writer

Friends and colleagues gathered at St. Ann's Catholic Church on Wednesday to honor a doctor who died in a Christmas Day traffic accident.

They described Lynn Marie Freeze, a primary care physician at Robinwood Family Practice, as a kind and religious woman who went out of her way to help her patients.

"Life is a gift, and whatever we do with our life is a gift returned to God," said the Rev. Edward Manalis, who delivered the sermon.

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Manalis said that doctors were accorded automatic, almost mythical respect at one time. He said that is not always the case today.

"However, they did find such a doctor in Lynn Freeze," he said.

Freeze, 33, of 19308B Smallwood Terrace, died in a traffic accident on Interstate 70 just east of Md. 66. According to police reports, an eastbound tractor-trailer rig was moving slowly on the berm of I-70 when a vehicle in the slow lane, also eastbound, veered into the passing lane and into the path of Freeze's car.

Manalis said he mourned her loss, not just for the present, but for the decades of people she will not be able to heal in the future.

Although she had been in Hagerstown only three years, colleagues said Freeze had made many friends and touched the lives of countless others.

Dr. John Reed, an internist and pediatrician at Smithsburg Family Medical Center, pointed to the 125 people at Wednesday's service as proof that was the case.

"This alone, I think, is the most powerful testament to the short life Lynn lived here," he said.

Reed said Lynn was "relentless in the advocacy of her patients" and added that he never stopped learning from her. She taught him by example about compassion, energy and competence, he said.

The last time he saw Freeze, a few days before Christmas, he said he put off filling out hospital paperwork for her, figuring there would be time later.

"Lynn's last lesson for me is that the time is now," he said.

Melissa Clopper, Freeze's nurse, gave a tearful tribute to a woman she said was both a doctor and a friend.

"She took nothing for granted in the care of her patients," she said. "Last of all, Lynn came as a friend - my friend, who encouraged, uplifted and laughed with me."

Michael Zampelli, vice president for operations of Antietam Health Services, said he helped organize the memorial to give local residents a chance to pay their last respects. The family held services in Randallstown, Md.

"She was devoted to her patients," said Zampelli, who helped recruit her. "She worked tirelessly for her patients."

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