Walter Freese, former executive at Doubleday Publishing, died February 21 on Shelter Island, N.Y., four days shy of his 86th birthday.

During his 40 year tenure at Doubleday, Freese served as CFO of the publishing company and executive v-p of Doubleday Sports, in which capacity he sat on the board of directors of the 1986 New York Mets. As a loyal Mets fan, "it was a dream come true to be involved in professional baseball, and to become the proud owner of the World Series ring that came with the Mets World Series win in 1986," according to an obituary released by the family.

Freese received his bachelor's in accounting from Hofstra University. After enlisting and serving as a sergeant during WWII, he began working in the accounting department in Doubleday Publishing’s Garden City office. He retired from the company in 1988 after a short period of advising Bertelsmann on their acquisition of Doubleday.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Claire, his four children, his five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at the Shelter Island Funeral Home on Wednesday, February 26.