LEE A. FREEMAN

Memorial Service
University of Chicago
April 22, 1995

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"What do you mean they won't let us? We'll make them let us!"

Those words epitomize my memory of Lee A. Freeman.

I was but a child on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Futures markets, that arcane world of business, had been an agricultural domain for a thousand years. We embarked on a journey never before attempted: To turn an agricultural history into a financial destiny. Futures markets in finance, a brazen, bold, daring, innovative, perhaps even foolhardy concept. Would the world understand? Would the world accept it? Would it work?

We were on a journey which had never been made. There were no guideposts, there were no traffic signals. No one knew the answers. No one knew the turns to take. No one had the rules.

Lee Freeman never hesitated. Never doubted my youth; never doubted the untested wisdom of the idea.

Of course we could do it. Of course it will work. As always, he was strong, self-assured, confidence-bestowing, tenacious, resourceful, unbowed.

One could not have a better friend__one could not have a stronger ally__one could not have a more qualified attorney. Lee Freeman was all that to me! And he was all that to me at a historical juncture that could not have done with a lesser mortal. Together we changed history.

When one looks at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange today, its success, its power, its vibrancy, the amount of business it represents__to Chicago, to the nation, to the world__it is hard to imagine that this was not always so.

 When one looks at the futures industry today, its volume of transactions, its financial exchanges in London, Paris, Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong, Sydney, Singapore, Brazil, Argentina, Dublin, Frankfurt, yes, and even Russia and China__to name just a few__it is hard to imagine that this was not always so.

And yet it wasn't always so. Indeed, the revolution that changed the way the world manages its financial risk is but 23 years old.

Back in 1972, Lee Freeman stood at my side when few others had the courage or vision to believe that the revolution we were initiating would become what Nobel Laureate, Merton H. Miller, PhD., Professor of Banking and Finance, University of Chicago, named as "the most significant financial innovation of the last twenty years."

Back in 1972, Lee Freeman never left my side as we faced yet another insurmountable hurdle, another hopeless dilemma, another terrifying roadblock in the impossible dream we had undertaken. "What do you mean they won't let us? We'll make them let us!"

He called me a Don Quixote. If I were Don Quixote than I could not have chosen a better Sancho Panza, than Lee Freeman as we encountered the giant windmills of an unwilling establishment, an antagonistic financial world, a hostile legal environment, a cynical government, a intransigent local community.

He rose to all occasions! He shrank from no danger! He ran from no challenge! Tenacity was his middle name, perseverance was his ancestry, determination was his legal oath, loyalty was his blood.

Lee Freeman held my hand at a moment in history which changed the financial world forever.

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