James Frank Fischel


James Fischel

Born: March 27, 1927 Died: November 28, 2013

Born in the Arkansas Delta near Helena Arkansas in 1927, his patriotic fire burst into flame and when he was 15 1/2 years old caused him to tell the only lie we ever knew that he told…to the Marine recruiter that he was 17 (6 ft 1 175#) so he could defend America while flying a torpedo bomber in the Philippines Theatre of WWII. Celebrating his 16th birthday on Guadalcanal he valiantly persevered and returned to Helena where he was selected as not only All Arkansas in football and basketball but also All Southern. Recruited by every Major University, he selected the University of Arkansas; where he was a three-year starter, selected as AP Lineman of the Week as a sophomore, All SW Conference and Crip Hall Award winner (outstanding player for the Razorbacks) and (as a three year starter) on several honor teams as a member of the Razorback Baseball. Though he told them as the first commissioned officer after the West Point class of 1952, he would continue in the US Army as an infantry officer, the Chicago Cardinals drafted him for the NFL.

As an U.S Army officer, for 18 months, he lead Fox Company on reconnaissance patrols in the 10 mile wide territory known as the no farm/free fire zone separating North and South Korea. He resigned his commission and returned to his loving wife, Wanda, and 2-year old son, Frank Jr. Coaching football and teaching Advanced Biology in high schools and at Arkansas A&M for several years was put in perspective when his daughter Laura was born and he became a Baptist Deacon. After completing his Masters in Administration with further work at U of A, he and Wanda chose to move to Missouri in 1960 and where he began a near 30-year public school career as a teacher and administrator.

Moving to Crane in 1990, Frank served the Lord as Deacon, Chairman of Crane First Baptist Church Pastoral search committees, construction of a new church and as Sunday School teacher of young people. He organized and served Wednesday dinners to provide families with special evenings where he fed their souls and their bodies. In October 2003, the South Korean government honored him with deepest appreciation in ceremonies in Pusan and Seoul.

Frank's word was his bond. He was strong and noble. His heart was big enough to love his wife for almost 65 years while he served as a father-like figure for countless young people and trusted friend to adults who sought his counsel and support.

Funeral services will be Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. in the First Baptist Church Crane, Mo. Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. until service time at 11:00 a.m. Frank will be buried in the Crane FBC Cemetery, which he originated under the care of Westrip Funeral Home Crane, Missouri. Survivors include Wanda of the home, Frank Jr. of Flanders NJ, Laura of Albany GA (husband Mike) and three Grandchildren (Wilson-Eugene OR, Dorothy-St. Louis, Sarah-Ole Miss/Oxford MS). Special appreciation is expressed to Raquel Hammer, Frank Jr.'s Fiancée, who tended to Frank in his final weeks of life. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to the Crane FBC Cemetery fund.


Funeral Home

Westrip Funeral Home
39670 State Hwy 413 Crane, MO 65633
(417) 723-5255

Published in the News-Leader from Dec. 1 to Dec. 3, 2013