Leola Freeman was a portrait, landscape, and genre painter, teacher, and gallery owner.
Born in Gonzales, Freeman was reared in El Paso and attended Georgetown Convent, Washington, D.C. She studied afterward at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, under Daniel Garber, Joseph Thurmond Pearson, Jr., Henry Bainbridge McCarter, and George Brandt Bridgman. Freeman moved from El Paso to Richmond, Virginia after marrying Lloyd Freeman. They moved to Philadelphia, where she and her husband shared a studio. In 1933, after his death, she returned to El Paso with her four young children and set out to earn a living as a painter. She married Michael McElroy, an Irish watercolorist, in the early 1940s
For several years Freeman maintained a studio in Paso del Norte Hotel where she exhibited her works. Her portraits include those of Texas Ranger captain John R. Hughes and Judges Allen Backer and Joseph Magoffin of El Paso. The latter two were painted in the 1930s under the Public Works of Art Project and placed in El Paso High School and later the El Paso County Courthouse. Freeman left El Paso in 1970 and died in Tryon, North Carolina