KINSTON - Blessed assurance, Frank Warner Travis never feared dying; he had no doubt of salvation through the redemptive blood of Christ. He departed this earthly life on May 22, 2013, at the age of 87. Travis was born in Bethesda, near Durham, N.C., to parents William and Pearl Hardy Travis. At age 16, following his father's death, Travis took jobs to help support his mother and three younger siblings. He drove a school bus and parked cars for V.I.P.'s at Duke University football games in exchange for tips and a ticket into the stadium. At 18, Travis' principal at Bethesda High awarded him his diploma early before Travis enlisted in the United States Navy. Travis served his country aboard the U.S.S. Mississippi in the Pacific from 1943 to 1945. All of his naval paychecks were mailed home to his mother. It was during World War II that he courted his future wife of 65 years, Ina Marie Ellis, through beautifully written letters and an occasional date while on leave and visiting home. During the post-war decade, Travis began working in retail and joined Belk-Tyler Company in Kinston in 1957. He became manager in 1970 opening Belk at Vernon Park Mall. He retired in 1991. As manager, Travis led this region in sales for many years, and he loved to travel to Charlotte and New York to personally buy merchandise for the store. Customer's needs were priority, and Travis was often seen returning to the store on Christmas Eve because a customer had called him at home frantic that a gift had yet to be purchased. Travis served on the Board of Directors at First Citizens Bank and Trust Company, was a 25-year member and a Paul Harris Fellow of the Kinston Rotary Club and served as a director of the Lenoir County Historical Association. During his life, he loved his work. When he was finally convinced to cut back, he began playing golf and taking longer beach vacations. In recent years, he could often be seen riding the roads of Kinston in his blue, beat-up Buick and sitting on a bench at Vernon Park Exxon greeting customers. Employees at Walgreen's and Food Lion met him at the door with a cart to hold on to, and Travis continued to frequent Belk's to talk to the managers about sales. He adored conversations and always felt he "knew you from somewhere." Mr. Travis is survived by his son, William Travis; his daughter, Cathy Holder (husband Lee); two granddaughters, Jennifer Nickeson (husband Matthew), and Holly Holder; a great-grandson Cameron Nickeson; and a sister, Jeanne Weaver. A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 25, 2013, at Pinelawn Memorial Park in Kinston with the Reverend T. R. Miller of Westminster Methodist Church officiating. Memorial gifts made to Westminster Methodist Church in Kinston are appreciated. Arrangements are with Edwards Funeral Home. Sign the guest book at Kinston.com. (Paid obituary)
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Published in Free Press from May 23 to May 27, 2013