The Garden Island
Notice #: 0001348381-01
Funeral Notices


74, died Sunday, October 24th at Caring Manoa in Honolulu, HI after several years of struggle with frontotemporal dementia. Len, as he was known to friends and family, was born July 17th, 1947 in Cleveland, OH.

The oldest of three children, he attended Orange High School in Pepper Pike, OH before entering the U.S. Navy ROTC program at Northwestern University, where he received a B.A. After serving with the Navy, he earned a M.S. from the University of Michigan and a PhD in ornithology from the University of Iowa. He began his career as a Smithsonian Institution Postdoctoral Fellow in Panama before arriving in the Zoology department at the University of Hawaii, where he served until 2017, retiring as Emeritus Professor.

In his years as an educator and researcher, Len trained over 1,000 undergraduate students in vertebrae anatomy, ornithology and basic biology and helped more than 50 students receive their doctorate. He was especially proud of his record of mentoring Native Hawaiian students and building the Hakalau Forest Biological Field Station in 1990 to study unique Hawaiian rainforest species. Between 2012 and 2016 he made frequent visits to Sri Lanka to research hybridization of native birds under extreme climate change conditions. There he helped indigenous scientists gain field experience as well as foster their publications in western scientific journals.

He loved a cold beer, tall trees and had a laugh, more of a giggle really, that represented pure joy. Len is survived by wife Rebecca Cann, his daughter from a previous marriage Becka Freed (Bill Weber), sister Carol Pasmore and two nieces. Preceding him in death were his sister Marcy Freed, mother Alice Freed (née Winkelman), and father Irwin Freed. The family will be holding a private service in the spring.

Arrangements Provided By: Oahu Mortuary