Robert Franklin Poole, MD
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Robert Franklin Poole, MD, 90, went to be with the Lord on July 4, 2013, dying peacefully at the William Dunlap Center for Caring (Hospice Home), after a battle with cancer. Frank was born in Abbeville, S.C., attended Fred Olds School in Raleigh, and graduated from Broughton High School in 1940. He graduated from Clemson University in 1943 while his father was President of Clemson. He attended Duke Medical School and did surgical and pediatric internships at Duke, where he met his faithful and loving wife of 67 years, Harriet Morrison of Birmingham, Alabama. From 1949-1951, they lived near Hiroshima, Japan, where Frank worked on the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, studying the children whose parents were exposed to radiation. From 1952-54, Frank was Chief of Pediatrics at Army-Navy General Hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where he received the Meritorious Achievement Award from the US Medical Corps.
Frank was active in the Boy Scouts of America at West Raleigh Presbyterian Church and received the Eagle Scout Award in 1938. It was quite a special time for him when son Bill achieved the coveted Eagle Scout Award in 1972 at White Memorial Presbyterian Church.
Returning to his boyhood home of Raleigh in 1954, Frank began a solo pediatric practice. During his 60 years as a pediatrician, he helped start 5 practices in Raleigh that currently care for over 200,000 patients collectively. He was one of the first pediatricians to work at the African-American St. Agnes Hospital. Dr. Frank was always a champion for children regardless of race or income. For almost 30 years, he worked alongside son Jim and many physicians, nurses and staff, who dearly loved and respected him as a caring, gentle doctor, treating not only children but also focusing on the parents, often doing house calls when families could not get to the office and accepting homegrown produce rather than cash for office visits. Frank was a long time member of the Raleigh Academy of Medicine, Wake County Medical Society, N.C. Medical Society and American Medical Association.
Frank was proud to follow in his father's footsteps as a long time member of the Rotary Club of Raleigh downtown, best known for their wonderful service to the community. He was a member for 49 years and was extremely proud of daughter Cindy's active involvement in the club and who just completed her year as president.
A Master Gardener, Frank's garden was a staple on the Raleigh Garden Tours with brick walks meandering over their ¼ acre yard, filled with 600 azaleas and a backyard creek which he and his 3 children worked as a team to create. At one time, the yard was on the National Men's Garden Club tour. His involvement with gardening led to the cherished honor of being voted President of the Virginias and Carolinas District of Men's Garden Clubs.
Dr. Frank and Harriet loved their Bald Head Island home, lovingly called the "Tree House", which they built, worked on and entertained in for 30 years, traveling to and from Raleigh most weekends. They were members of the Generator Society before power came to the island.
Nothing could get in the way of Frank's weekly golf matches, in which he was a fierce competitor for many years at the Carolina Country Club. Using his gardening expertise, he also oversaw and was involved in the building of a greenhouse and the planting and growing of thousands of azaleas that now blanket the golf course.
Another of Frank's great loves was attending Clemson football games. Many a Saturday Frank and Harriet watched the Clemson football players race down the "Hill", play the game, and always stayed to the end of the game to sing the Alma Mater. He was a Tiger through and through, a loyal member of IPTAY and the Clemson Alumni Association.
Frank was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Franklin Poole, PhD and Margaret Bradley, brother Tom and sister Margaret Cuttino and son, Frankie, who died at age 7 from complications of cerebral palsy. Frank is survived by his wife, Harriet; brother Bill (Ann), sister Marcia Moore (Ken); sons, Jim (Lillian) and Bill (Caryll), and daughter Cindy Poole Roberts (David); grandchildren, Jimmy (Katie), Matthew (Ashley), Chris (Maury), William, Branson, Dash and Alex; four great-grandchildren Lilly, Parker, Wilde and Hattie (born July 3, 2013), and many nieces and nephews.
One of the favorite memories of all the family was listening to "Granddad" play the harmonica, usually renditions of "Amazing Grace", "O When the Saints" and, of course, the "Clemson Fight Song."
A memorial service will be conducted at 1:00 pm on Thursday, July 11, 2013 at White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh. There will be a visitation in Pickard Hall after the service. There will be an additional memorial service at Clemson University, date to be determined.
The Poole family is appreciative of the excellent care Frank has received through the years and especially the past few months, including care at Rex Hospital, Duke Raleigh and Duke Durham, the many caring visits from pastors at White Memorial, help at home by Mark and Linda, and most recently, the incredible care at the Hospice Home.
In lieu of flowers, family and friends who wish to honor Dr. Frank Poole may send memorial gifts to Clemson University Foundation, Life Sciences, [Memory of R. F. Poole, Jr. MD], P.O. Box 1889, Clemson University, Clemson, S.C. 29633. Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's St. Raleigh, NC.
Published in The Greenville News on July 7, 2013