Fannie Itskowitz (c.1883-1963) immigrated alone to the United States from Czechoslovakia to join her older brother Leopold Itskowitz in McKeesport, Pa. He was a long-time distributor of the McKeesport Daily News. She was only 13 at the time and unable to read or write. She cleaned houses for three years until she met Joseph Freed (c.1873-1948), a Hungarian immigrant 10 years her senior. They were married on October 17, 1899. In later years, for anniversary parties, they decorated their home in “Halloween colors.”
After the wedding, Joseph and Fannie Freed moved to Homestead, Pa., where they owned Freed’s Cash Market at 613 East Eighth Avenue, near the current location of the Homestead Post Office. “The name of the store always made us laugh since few of the customers paid cash but rather took advantage of the liberal credit policy my grandfather enforced, i.e., ‘pay me when you can,’” his granddaughter Janis Ferraro later recalled. The Freeds lived above the store with their seven children, Belle, Meyer, Sadie, David, Helen, Robert and Esther. Two other children died in childhood.
Joseph Freed was a charter member of the Homestead Hebrew Congregation.