Frank Menn dies at 74 of cancer|
BY LISA P. WHITE
Former Belleville Police officer and longtime Belleville volunteer Louis Frank Menn died from cancer Monday at his Fairview Heights home. He was 74.
Menn was born in Boone County, Mo., on Sept. 20, 1930. He married Patricia Anne Hogg in 1952.
He served on the Belleville Police force for 10 years. He was a district manager at the Old Vienna Snack Co. and later started a tools dealership, which he sold to his son after suffering a heart attack.
In 1986, he opened a convenience store on the corner of Second and C streets in Belleville's Franklin neighborhood. To the local kids he was "Mr. Frank," a friend and confidante who gave them penny candy and sodas and put their pictures on the wall.
" He really enjoyed kids, I think he enjoyed kids more than anything ... not just our kids, but just kids in general," said his son, Louis Frank Menn II.
While working at the store, he also became involved in the work the Franklin Neighborhood Association was doing. He delivered groceries to the elderly and dressed up as Santa Claus and handed out toys to area youngsters.
Menn nearly died in 1995 when his throat was slashed during a robbery attempt at the store. Although he had to close the store after the attack, Menn never stopped working hard for Belleville. For every citywide clean-up he was there in his truck ready to collect all that he could.
Earlier this month, Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert and St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern recognized Menn for his years of community service. Eckert declared June 6 "Louis Frank Menn Day" and Kern designated the entire month to him.
" It's a blessing we gave him that recognition when we did," said Eckert, whose father was Menn's partner on the Belleville Police force in the 1950s. "He just was a super guy and always had his heart in Belleville and always was volunteering for the city. It's a sad day ... you just hate to lose a friend like that."
His son, Mike Menn, said he would remember his father's selflessness and the close bonds he had with his grandchildren and the kids from the Franklin neighborhood.
"He always had a special connection with kids, he always seemed like he could relate to them," he said.
Menn is survived by his wife, Patricia Menn, four children Mike Menn, Louis Frank Menn II, Debbie Burrow and Suzanne Menn; siblings Bill Menn and Barbara Welch; eight grandchildren, a great-granddaughter and nieces and nephews.
The visitation will be 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home at 120 N. Illinois St. The funeral is at 10 a.m. Friday at Holy Trinity Catholic Church at 15 E. Lincoln Highway in Fairview Heights.
Published in Belleville News-Democrat on June 28, 2005