Polazzo—Free Polazzo, 79, on October 11, 2023, from acute respiratory failure, at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Ga.
Free was born Fred Solomon Goldmark on October 9, 1944, to Fanny (Fay) Diamantstein in Naples, Italy. His stepfather was Teseo (John) Polazzo. The family immigrated to New York City, N.Y., where Free and his twin brother, David, and younger brother, Alex, grew up. Free received his bachelor’s degree from Queens College in Queens, N.Y., and a master of business administration degree from the University of Michigan.
Free married his first wife, Carol Anson, and moved to Atlanta in 1975. They had two sons: Chad was born in 1973 and Justin in 1976. Free found his calling working with computers. His love of process and his accounting background led him to nearly four decades of focusing on the design, testing, implementation, and support of computer business systems. He helped companies simplify complexity to better achieve their goals.
Free was a longtime member of Atlanta (Ga.) Meeting, where he met his wife, Janet Minshall. He served as treasurer of the meeting in 1987–1992. Free worked on a committee to create Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting and Association’s Faith and Practice. He also served American Friends Service Committee and Friends General Conference in various volunteer roles.
Free was active in the Douglas County Democratic Party. He was a founder and board chair of Uplifting People, a recidivism reduction program that has been helping individuals remain out of prison in Georgia since 1995. He cofounded West Georgians for Clean Air and was a founding supporter of Men Stopping Violence.
Free was always caring for others and wanted to save the world, one person at a time. He loved a good argument and a good joke. His generous and mirthful spirit, his humor, and his irreverence were guiding lights in his life and to those who had the good fortune to know him.
Free was predeceased by a son, Justin Polazzo, who died in 2008.
He is survived by his wife, Janet Minshall; one child, Chad Polazzo (Lori Hutcheson Polazzo); three stepchildren, Joel Roache, Eric Roache, and Matthew Roache; three grandchildren; and two siblings, David Polazzo and Alex Polazzo.