John Martin Free (1923-2006), Architect

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Omaha, Nebraska, 1951-1976

John Martin Free was born in Melrose, Minnesota on October 30, 1923.[3][4] Before studying architecture, Free served as a United States Army Sergeant from 1943-1945.[3][4] He attended Iowa State University, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering in 1949, at the age of 25.[3][4] Free spent his entire career at the Leo A. Daly Company, Architects.

The apex of Free’s career as an architectural engineer was his prolific community involvement. In 1957, Free became a sustaining member in the Society of American Military Engineers, and a year later became a member of the Board of Directors at the Omaha Post.[4] Free was even elected president of the Post in 1965, as well as president of the Westside Kiwanis Club in 1963.[4] Furthering Free’s extensive role in the community was his position as president of the Nebraska Consulting Engineers Association in 1968, and a year later his integral role in the Business Promotion Committee of the National Consulting Engineers Council.[4] Free also served on the Board of Directors of Nebraska Goodwill Industries in 1968, where he also became Treasurer in 1969, and in the same year he served on the Board of Directors of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce.[4] He topped off this impressive resume of involvement by his memberships to the Engineer's Council and the Economic Development Council of the Nebraska Association of Commerce & Industry.[4]

Free also worked as a lecturer, speaking at the National Colloquy on Management of Architectural Practice at Pennsylvania State University in 1969 and as part of the Auxiliary Faculty Letter Series at John F. Kennedy College in 1970.[4] Free died on April 1, 2006.[6]

This page is a contribution to the publication, Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. See the Format and contents of Nebraska architect entries page for more information on the compilation and page organization.

Compiled Nebraska Directory Listings

Omaha, Nebraska, 1957-1976

Educational & Professional Associations

1951: draftsman, Leo A. Daly Company, Architects, Omaha, Nebraska.[a]

1955-1956: architect, Leo A. Daly Company, Omaha, Nebraska.

1957: Registered Professional Architect, Nebraska, A-404; January 5, 1957.[5]

1957: associate, Leo A. Daly Company, Omaha, Nebraska.

1958: job captain, Leo A. Daly Company, Omaha, Nebraska.

1959: architect, Leo A. Daly Company, Omaha, Nebraska.

1961-1976: vice-president, Leo A. Daly Company, Omaha, Nebraska.

2003: Emeritus Architect, Omaha.[1]

2006: Emeritus expired May 31, 2006.[5]

Buildings & Projects

U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command Headquarters and Additions, Offutt AFB (1956). [4]

Home Office for Guarantee Mutual Life Company (1958), Omaha, Nebraska.[4]

High Energy Physics Building Zero Gradient Synchrotron, Argonne National Lab (1964). [4]

Ford Motor Company Assembly Plants (1966), San Jose, California & Dallas, Texas.[4]

Parts Depots (1968), Dallas & Jacksonville, Florida.[4]

U.S. Air Force Academy Expansion (1968).[4]


a. First Omaha directory listing, 1951; no 1950 Omaha directory.


1. “Searchable Roster of Licensees: Emeritus Licensees,” Nebraska Board of Engineers and Architects, CD, 2003.

2. AIA Historical Directory of American Architects: A Resource Guide to Finding Information About Past Architects, accessed May 4, 2010,

3. American Institute of Architects, comp., American Architects Directory Second Ed. (New York: R. R. Bowker Co., 1962), 226, accessed April 4, 2010,

4. American Institute of Architects, comp., American Architects Directory Third Ed. (New York: R. R. Bowker Co., 1970), 295-296, accessed April 4, 2010,

5. “Professional license results for John Martin Free,” State of Nebraska Board of Engineers and Architects website, accessed October 29, 2013,

6. “John Martin Free,” "U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014", accessed through on December 16, 2014.

Page Citation

D. Murphy, “John Martin Free (1923-2006), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, December 16, 2014. Accessed, October 1, 2022.

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