Frank D. Giles
Early Monday morning, Frank Darrell Giles crossed the finish line. That is just how he had come to understand his life in this world. During his last few years, he fought a long, slow battle with dementia - and won. Not by out-living the disease, but by clinging to the hope of the gospel. Even when his ability to do so verbally was overwhelmed by his illness, he knew that an inheritance was kept for him in Heaven, and he, by faith, was being kept for his inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-5).
Frank, known as "Darrell" to those who knew him from his days in East Tennessee, was born in Madisonville, grew up in Maryville and always called that home in spite of a being a resident of Nashville's West Meade for 50 years. Darrell was the only child of blue-collar parents - a barber and seamstress - and a graduate of Maryville High School where he served as president of the class of '44.
Frank was a Veteran of U.S. Armed Forces serving as Lt. in U.S. Air Force, a B-17 navigator stationed in Italy during the Allied occupation of Germany. Upon his return home, he entered the University of Tennessee where he earned a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1949. Frank went to work the next week at Southern Bell Telephone Company and moved to Nashville in 1964 with South Central Bell, where he was Toll Accounting Manager and member of the American Management Association. He retired in 1984 after 35 years of service to the phone company.
It was as a fresh college graduate that he married, Mary Ellen Blair of Alcoa, Tennessee. Their life together for 63 years, before her death in 2012, was for those who knew them a marriage built on self-less love and devotion. Together, they taught many what it looks like to love well and long - a marriage sustained by the love of Christ for them.
Friends are quick to acknowledge that Frank was one of the nicest, friendliest guys you might ever meet. His closest friends would add that it was later in life when he became a follower of Jesus Christ that his morality was no longer confused with a life that was being transformed by the gospel. He learned that distinction in the worship and under the faithful teaching of God's word at Christ Presbyterian Church, where he served as a deacon. He grew in his faith in Jesus Christ through a weekly Bible study he attended for over 20 years led by his friend, David White.
Frank's retirement years were filled with visiting his children, caring for his parents, mother-in-law and through it all, his wife, Mary Ellen. No one ever loved his wife more; few have spent more of themselves on others. He portrayed to those around him the model of a servant who, like his Savior, selflessly laid aside his own interests to put the needs of others above his own.
Frank is survived by his daughter, Connie (Kenny Johnson) Giles of Telluride, Colorado; his son, Tony (Mary Lynn) Giles of Brentwood, TN; and his granddaughters, Rebecca Blair Giles of Colorado Springs, Colorado and Mary Grace (Trey) Bundrick of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
A Memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 24th in the Chapel at Christ Presbyterian Church, 2323 Old Hickory Blvd., Nashville, TN 37215. Visitation with the family will follow. Memorial contributions may be made in his memory as gifts to Christ Presbyterian Church.
Published in The Tennessean from July 22 to July 23, 2014