Joan Freeman – In Memoriam

It is with sadness that we report that on the 2nd of July Professor Joan Freeman passed away. In the 1980s, Joan Freeman was part of a small group of scholars from different European Countries who had a dream to develop more understanding in Europe of high ability throughout the lifespan. In 1987, they decided to create the European Council for High Ability (ECHA), with Joan as founding President. The primary aim of ECHA was to act as a European network. In the words of Joan “we aspired to become a dynamic multinational association.”

And so we did. Now, 36 years later, ECHA continues as the only European organization that strives for better education and psychological services for people with high abilities.

Joan was not only the founding president of our organization. She also was Editor-in-Chief of High Ability studies, and was always an active member, joining all the ECHA conferences, where her lectures were well visited and highly appreciated.

Apart from her work in and for ECHA, in her own country she counselled many gifted children and helped their parents. And Joan was a famous scholar: One of her many publications, a longitudinal study of gifted children growing up – Gifted lives – was famous around the world and showed people the frustrations and achievements of the participating children while they grew up and gave insight in the reasons why some had a lot of successes in life while others did not.

Joan Freeman has been honoured with a Fellowship and a Lifetime Achievement award from the British Psychological Society, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Mensa International.

We remember Joan as a very intelligent and involved person, with a great sense of humour. We will miss her sharp observations, her incredible stories and the great laughs we had together.

She will be remembered.

On behalf of ECHA, the executive committee,

Szilvia Fodor, Colm O’Reilly, Lianne Hoogeveen