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Gainesville, FL -Frank Winchester Towers, Sr., 99, died Monday, July 4, 2016 in Gainesville, Florida.
He leaves his loving wife of 73 years, Mary Olive (Thomas), a son, Frank Jr. of Orlando, FL, daughters Jane King of Jacksonville, FL, Anne Kuhns (Rolf Kuhns) of Winter Garden, FL, and Kathy Teal (the late Dr. Peter Teal) of Gainesville, FL., four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Born in Boston, MA on June 13, 1917, to Everett and Jane Winchester Towers, he lived in Boston for 10 years then for the remainder of his childhood was raised in St. Johnsbury, VT, where he attended and graduated from the St. Johnsbury Academy.
After high school he was employed as a claims insurance adjuster with the Commercial Credit Corp. Later Mr. Towers enlisted in the Vermont National Guard.
His military training took him to Camp Blanding Florida, just outside of Starke, where he would meet his future wife, Mary Olive Thomas. They were married in a military wedding on March 1, 1943 in Macon, GA. He was commissioned an officer in the Army and was transferred to the 30th Infantry Division just prior to the Normandy Invasion of World War II. At that time he became a liaison officer and held this position for the duration of the war. He left the US Army with the rank of Captain. During his service in the military, Mr. Towers received many awards for recognition of valor and bravery, including the Purple Heart, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Clusters, and others.
Following the war, Mr. Towers and his wife returned to Germany for post-war occupation duty, and during this time three of their children were born, and their fourth was born after returning to the States. They settled down in Brooker, FL, near his wife's family farm, and Mr. Towers built the house that he and his wife live in to this day. After service in the Army, Mr. Towers was self-employed, he served one term as a Trustee on the Alachua County School Board, and was later employed by the University of Florida, from which he retired in 1979.
In retirement, Mr. Towers was dedicated to the phrase' lest we forget', and became passionately involved in ensuring the history of the 30th Infantry Division of the US Army was shared, and that their comrades who 'gave their all' would not be forgotten. He was the National President and Executive Secretary of the 30th Infantry Division Veterans of World War II Association. He co-founded Les Fleurs de la Memorie, a foundation in France dedicated to caring for the graves of American soldiers who are interred in France and Belgium. He became the consummate historian of the 30th Infantry Division. He was a Camp Blanding Museum Association charter member and served in a number of roles for the Association over the years. He was an 'in-demand' speaker to groups with an interest of the Holocaust and all things related to the history of the 30th Infantry Division in World War II. His speaking engagements spanned Northern Europe, Israel, and the United States. His story-telling style of speaking captured his audiences and resulted in opportunities for further historical research with people around the world.
Locally, Mr. Towers received the Alachua County Veteran of the Year Award on two occasions, and was active in the D-Day Normandy Veterans of North Central Florida.
In addition to his family, Mr. Towers was particularly proud of the presentation of the Order of Orange Nassau, from Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. The equivalent of the Medal of Freedom in the United States, it was awarded to Mr. Towers because of the good-will he promoted over the years between the United States and The Netherlands. He has been the only non-Dutch individual to receive this award. And, for having served in WWII in France, he was awarded the distinction of Knight of the French Legion of Honor, an order first established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.
The family will receive friends on Thursday, July 7, 2016 from 5-7 PM at Milam Funeral Home.
Funeral Services will be on Friday, July 8, 2016 beginning at 10:30 at St. Madeleine's Catholic Church, 17155 NW Hwy 441, High Springs, FL 32643 with a short prayer and sharing time, followed at 11am by a Catholic funeral mass, then at Noon-1:30 Fellowship hall for a meal and memory sharing, and, finally, Interment at 2:30 at Forest Meadows Cemetery - East, 3700 SE Hawthorne Rd., Gainesville, FL 32641

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be sent to:
The Camp Blanding Museum
5629 SR 16 West
Building 3040
Starke, FL 32091
or, to
Les Fleurs de la Mémoire
Georges Pierre Joret
Le Bourg
50810 VIDOUVILLE France

or, to the charity of your choice. Arrangements are in the care of MILAM FUNERAL AND CREMATION SERVICES 311 South Main Street Gainesville, FL 32601 (352) 376-5361

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Gainesville Sun from Jul. 7 to Jul. 8, 2016.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Please consider a donation, as requested by the family.
Memories & Condolences
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44 entries
July 2, 2020
Mr. Towers with my mom Gita Beeri, whom he saved her life, in the meeting in Israel. Bless him.
Frank saved my mom's life. She was on that train in Magdeburg. I was supposed to take part in the ceremony in Magdeburg, but was cancelled this year. RIP Mr Frank. Rani Beeri, Israel.
Rani Beeri
July 1, 2020

Hattie Capoldo
July 1, 2019
Dear Frank
No one day we dont think about you. We Thank you and love you we will never forget you❤
Myrna Tugendhaft-Reens
July 1, 2019
Frank, we miss you. We are working hard in collaboration with schools in Farlsleben to erect a monument for the April 13, 1945 liberation. The plan is to dedicate it next year - 75 years anniversary. You will be there.
Micha Tomkiewicz
January 29, 2017
With extreme gratitude and appreciation for your courage and dedication to our Country and humanity...I thank you. Whoever's path you crossed...they were blessed.
Pamela St. Germaine
August 20, 2016
When I met major Towers first time in my life, I was about to turn three. Obviously I I don't remember our meeting. In my mother's stories he was my legendary life saver hero, who saved our little family's - mother, three little girls and a grandmother - lives from the close and sure death.
When I met him again as an adult - as a result of Varda Weiskopf's hard and blessed work - I understood what an incredible and wonderful person he was , his name is not by chance got enbedded in our family's 'legends -memory' book.
I hope he was able to feel the love and appreciation which who deserved so much and I hope he knew that until the day our children and grandchildren live we will never forget his memory. R.I.P Frank Towers.
Shoshana Veto Israel
Shoshana Veto
August 9, 2016
I never knew Mr. Towers but I know how he helped save many Jewish prisoners. My father is also a WWII veteran. I am sorry I never had a chance to meet someone as brave and amazing as you! You were a true hero!
Barbara Nevin
July 29, 2016
Our deepest sympathies to you Mary and the rest of Frank's family. He was a good man, a soldier-hero and a good friend.
July 26, 2016
May the family of this great man be comforted in the knowledge that he save so many lives.
July 25, 2016
Frank Towers R.I.P.
Rani Beeri
July 25, 2016
Frank Towers was a true hero and an angel for my Mom Gita Beeri , who was on that train. In the name of my mom and my family, we salute Frank Towers R.I.P.
God bless Frank's soul and his family. I will always remember him.
Rani, son of Gita Beeri, Haifa Israel
Rani Beeri
July 25, 2016
I was a six year old child on the train from Bergen Belsen to Theresienstadt concentration camps. All my life I was aware that the "American Army" saved my life and the life of what was left of my family together with 2500 other survivors. In 2007 I have found that the "American Army" has names. I was informed by Matt Rozell that the names were Carol Walsh and George Gross, two young American tank commanders. A meeting was organized by Matt in Hudson Falls between one liberator - Carl, three survivors and about 600 screaming Hudson Falls students. Few days after this meeting, I got an email from Frank telling me that the "American Army" included many more liberators asking me if I am willing to attend the annual reunion of the 30th Division WWII veterans. Since then, my wife and I attended every annual meeting of the veterans that became a liberator-survivors meetings. Most of these meetings were organized by Frank. Mary and Frank became dear friends. The last meeting in January 2016 was an informal meeting in Bradenton, Frank's home town.
We are thinking about him every day and will miss him badly.
Micha Tomkiewicz
July 20, 2016
In 2011, in Rehovot, with Hedva Perahia, Flora Gattegno's daughter that Frank Towers liberated in the Falsleben train
Frank Towers was a human when the humanity was insane. I remember him when he came to Rehovot (Israel), pointed to the people and said "you are the real heroes because you survive". It was impressive.
He never forget the Jewish feasts and always send us a greeting mail.
We will miss him. He great man
July 18, 2016
Although I was still a child when we were liberated at Farsleben on April 13, 1945 I will always remember watching an armed American soldier running down a small hill and coming straight to our train. Perhaps this soldier was Frank or one of his friends.
I am very happy to have met Frank at the reunion in Israel
He was a very special person
Please accept my deepest condolences.
Joke Weiss-Soep, Jerusalem
July 18, 2016
Frank Towers Sr. will always be a hero and my eyes, as he saved my mother's life and many others during WWII. He will live on forever in our hearts.
Mervyn Tugendhaft
July 18, 2016
I had the great honor and privilege to meet Frank Towers at the reunion in Israel organized by Varda Weiskopf. She had asked me to translate her Hebrew texts and speeches into English. Varda gave me details of the story (her father had been one of those rescued by Frank) and I did further research to understand the background of everything Frank did, including all his important work over the decades after the war in teaching about the Holocaust.

Thus, I was in utter awe when Varda introduced me to Frank. Before the ceremony began, I observed him mingle with those who attended the reunion. (Varda had asked me to stay close to him in case there was a need to interpret people's comments) So many people came up to him survivors and/or their descendants. Listening to their introductions and expressions of gratitude, as well as his sincere joy in meeting everyone, was extremely moving and inspiring.

Frank saved SO many lives and generations. This, along with his decades-long efforts towards Holocaust education is a tremendous legacy.

May the family be comforted in the knowledge that Frank did SO much good in the world.
Nachama Kanner
July 17, 2016
Hi Mary Just wanted to send you my deepest sympathy on Franks passing-I loved him. Anne gave me the email to the funeral home so I could read the obituary. They are here with me now.
Take care and look after yourself.
Love Lois
July 16, 2016
My Deepest Sympathies to the Towers Family.
jerry winchester
July 14, 2016
My deepest condolences to the family. I met Frank in Israel at a reunion with survivors from the train he liberated. My mother and her family were among the ones who were on the train. I am lucky I was able to thank Frank as one of the liberators, on behalf of my mother, Irene Bleier Muskal, who passed away some years before finding about the liberators .Frank's important work continued throughout his life and meant so much to so many. My family and I will always remember him and miss him.
Shoshana Ben Tora
Shoshana Bent Tora
July 14, 2016
Dear Towers family
My name is Yoav Breiner from Isreal.
I rember Frank from the gathering in Israel.
My father was on board the train that Frank freed. I would like to send my family and mine condolences.My father passed away 3 years ago , but I am sure that Frank and him have met again in heaven. We wish you all the best and share our dippest sympahty.With honor, Yoav Briner
Yoav Breinr
July 13, 2016
Dear Towers Family,
May the care and love of your friends and family provide comfort and peace during this sad time to help you get through the days ahead. My most sincere condolences. Lexie Keston
July 13, 2016
I am deeply saddened by the news and offer my deepest condolences to the family.

I never met Frank, but my father was one of the children that he rescued from the train. His work and speeches meant so much to me and my family and is appreciated beyond measure.

I regret never having had the opportunity to thank him personally.
Aaron Held
July 13, 2016
Mrs. Towers, Frank Jr., Anne, Jane and Kathy: My deepest sympathies for your loss. I only met Mr. Towers twice, once at the wedding for Kathy and my brother, Peter Teal, and again, just last year, at the memorial service for Peter. However, I came to know of Mr. Towers more fully from my brother and am deeply appreciative of the warmth that he extended to Peter in welcoming him into the Towers family. I was always struck by his deep love for his family, his home, his country, his beloved 30th, as well as all of those from around the world that he came to know through his work to commemorate those who suffered through the atrocities of the Second World War. The comments from others here reflect the affection and respect he well deserves. My condolences to all the family.
David, Sandra, Will and Greg.
David Teal
July 13, 2016
With very much sadness did we Eva and myself acknowledges the passing of Frank. The last of the seven liberators (angels of my life) whom we met in Hudson Falls in Sep.2009 the first time. It was an honor and privilege to become friends with Carrol Walsh and Frank - and their families. They were and their memories are treasured, loved and respected by me, my children and grandchildren to the end of our life.

Let the sweet memories be consolation to the families.

You Mary and Dorothy, your children and grandchildren can be - and should be - proud beyond words for the way they lived and for the lives they saved.
Leslie `Meisels
July 13, 2016
To Mary and the entire Towers Family, please accept my deepest sympathies for the loss of your beloved Frank. He was a brave soldier and a great men. Ami, school high school headmaster, Israel
July 13, 2016
It was an honor to finally meet Frank in person and he and his good works will be sorely missed. I am both a Holocaust survivor as well as a veteran of the 30th Division so I have a double appreciation for his good works. May his memory be for a blessing
Henry Birnbrey
July 13, 2016
2013-Holocaust Memorial Museum-Washington, D.C.
I, too, am saddened at Frank's passing. As one of the survivors liberated by members of Frank's 30th Infantry Division I thank him for helping us get back our lives, and celebrate him for all the good he did during his life. I am also glad that Frank and I had several joyous encounters over the years, starting with the first reunion of us survivors with our liberators, in 2008. Since then, I was his "little Dutch girl." My love to the whole family and may you rejoice in cherishing wonderful memories of Frank. Elisabeth
Elisabeth Seaman
July 13, 2016
My deepest condolences. I am very sorry to not to have known him in person, although from the stories it feels like I have. (Ervin Abadi's daughter)
Aviva Julia Hartmann (Abadi)
July 13, 2016
Dear Marry and family,
We are very sorry to be informed that our best friend Frank has passed a way.
As survivor from the train near Farsleben Frank saved our lives from me and my farther. My mother just has passed away then.
We met Frank many times with us in Boca Raton FL. where he was telling his strories to a big audience . We will never forget him and send our condolences to Mary and family. We wish the family a lot of strength with this big loss.
With much Love
Myrna and Matty Tugendhaft
Myrna and Matty Tugendhaft
July 12, 2016
Mrs. Towers and Family. Mr. Towers ment so much to me. He taught me history that I'll never forget. Growing up at St Patrick's Catholic Church, I will always remember the laughs and the smiles we shared together. I always felt like family. Mr. Towers was a legend to our community and to the world. Love you all. Burt Wetherington
Burt Wetherington
July 11, 2016
To Mary and the entire Towers Family, please accept my deepest sympathies for the loss of your beloved Frank. I saw him recently on the AHC talking about the Second World War. I such fond memories of you all from St. Patrick's in Gainesville. I will celebrate Mass for him and the family this week at Ft. Sill, OK, where I am stationed with the Army. God bless you all! Requiescat in pace!
Fr. Jim O'Neal
July 11, 2016
What a wonderful and full life lived by this accomplished and well loved man. My deepest condolences to your family and all who were graced to know him. I only knew him through many great stories over the years through Anne, but was always inspired by his seemingly endless energy and devotion to his country and his family. May he rest in peace and may God provide comfort to you all today and always. +
Donna Quinn
July 9, 2016
I am so glad I got to talk to him and his wife at the Camp Blanding museum after the Memorial Day ceremony. He was such a good man who contributed to making the world a better place to live. From saving Jews to volunteeering at the Camp Blanding museum for decades he was always improving people's lives. I want to donate in his memory, but I don't how I can donate to an organization that does not use American money.
Melanie Barr
July 8, 2016
I knew Mr Towers as a young girl visiting his family in Brooker, FL.
I never knew what a brave, loyal soldier he was in WW2, as a lot of men in our community who served our country, he did not talk about his service to America. He was a good husband and father and I enjoyed knowing just part of his life. I will pray for his family because I know he will leave a large void in their lives. Sincerely, Martha Cato Forrester
July 8, 2016
As a member of the Annual Holocaust Remembrance committee, we were always so grateful and proud of his participation in our program as a Holocaust Liberator.
May his good deeds be remembered and may he rest in peace.
Jordan Dern
July 8, 2016
It was a privilege and honor to know Frank Towers. After the war, he worked tirelessly to honor the fallen in far-off graves with his Flowers of Memory programlest we forget, to pay tribute to his 30th Infantry Division, and to reunite many of those young children in those boxcars that his division rescued from the death camps. Frank's deeds and memory will live on well into this century.
Diane & Ira Fischler
Diane & Ira Fischler
July 8, 2016
Frank was a great person and inspired many of us to do more while watching him do so much. His life would make a great movie. we will miss him.

John Gebhardt
July 7, 2016
Kathy and Family - So sorry for your loss. May God hold each of you close during this time of remembrance.
The Caballero Family - Marco, Heather, Moss, and Mariana Caballero
July 7, 2016
We are sorry for your loss. He was a good husband and father.
Lowell, Jane and Winsome Parrish
Lowell Parrish
July 7, 2016
So sorry for your loss. Mary & family will forever be in our heart.
Lionel & Hattie Capoldo
July 7, 2016
I loved this man ! He was such a inspiring man and a real hero ! This world was lucky and blessed to have him for the time he spent on this earth. He taught us so much and I'm proud to say I knew him. One of my earliest and happiest memories of Frank was riding my bike up to his little old store to buy milk and bread for my mama. That was always a fun trip and I was always excited to do this trip. When I did this errand to visit Frank it was special because I was not only able to visit this sweet man who was always kind and full of love but I was able to actually ride my little bike on the real road. Riding my bike on the real road to visit Frank was always a trip I looked forward to ! I always had fun looking around his little store at the treasures he had collected over the years. I also remember walking up the Limerock road with cousin Robin from Grandmother Thomas's house with our Penny's and change to buy candy from him. We always tried to buy different stuff then we would fight over who got what piece of candy on our way home ! He will be missed !
Dianna Vaughn
July 7, 2016
Upon reading Mr. Towers' obituary, although I had never met him personally, it was my loss to have never known this magnificent person. Sending love and prayer to his family.
Diane Luke
July 7, 2016
Dear Anne, Rolf, and family,
I send my very heartfelt condolences, along with much love and warmth during this very sad time. Clearly, VERY clearly, Mr. Towers was a remarkable gentleman. One who embodied the true American spirit, one who left his mark on the world, and his legacy in the annals of our history. More than a member of the Greatest Generation - Mr. Towers was a true hero. I believe it poetic that he departed us on July 4th, and that on Independence Day an angel and an American hero entered into the heavens.
Robbie Davis
July 7, 2016
Our last family reunion Feb. 2016
My Uncle Frank is the most honorable loving kindest man who will always live on in my heart forever. Our world and family will always be eternally blessed because of his presence. God Bless.
Christine Thomas
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