February 2, 1942 - December 14, 2020
Prairie Village, Kansas - Francis Stephen Franke (Frank), Prairie Village, Kansas, passed away on December 14, 2020. A private family Mass was held on Friday at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
The fifth of seven children, Frank was born on February 2nd, 1942 in Kansas City, MO to Ruth (Boehm) and Carl Joseph Franke. Frank attended Our Lady of Sorrows Grade School, De La Salle High School, and St. Francis Seminary (Cincinnati, Ohio) before attending and graduating from Rockhurst College. In 1963 Frank joined the Navy where he spent 6 months active duty then six years in the Naval Reserve. Frank is preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Michael, Donald, and Eugene.
Frank leaves behind his beloved wife of 48 years, Sharon; brothers, Louis Franke, Lloyd Franke (Boston, MA) and sister Rosemary Abbick; daughters, Britton Norden (Rick) and Dr. Hillary Franke (Rick Church) of Tucson, AZ; grandchildren, Taylor, Meredith, and Millie Norden, Ryan, and Sadie Church.
After beginning his CPA career at Arthur Anderson, in 1971 Frank started Francis S. Franke and Company, where all clients were friends, and all friends were family.
Frank served as Director, Secretary, Treasurer, and President of The Missouri Society of CPAs. He was a member of The American Institute of CPAs (Professional Ethics Committee), and President of The Kansas City Chapter of Certified Public Accountants. Frank served on the Kansas City Club Board of Directors, as well as the 1212 Club (President) and the 611 Club (President).
In 1973 Frank and Sharon joined the Carriage Club where he served on the Board of Directors as Secretary and Treasurer. At the holiday party each year he reprised his role of Santa Claus so convincingly that Britton and Hillary climbed up to whisper Christmas wishes without even a hint of suspicion.
Frank was passionate about his community work whether it was as judge for the American Royal BBQ contest or helping found De La Salle Education Center which made earning the distinction of the 2003 De LaSalle Alumni of the Year all the more meaningful. Other board and leadership roles included Visiting Nurses Home Health Care, BOTAR Mens' Advisory, Marillac Home for Children, Native Sons of Kansas City, and Research Hospital, where he served as President of the Advisory Board and was Chairman of the ASID "Home of the Year."
An easy recruit for anything family, Frank did several tours as treasurer on the boards of St. Paul's Day School and St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. As a member of the Vestry, anyone that passed through the doors of St. Andrew's on a Sunday found a forever friend in one of his favorite roles – "Usher Frank". You may have known Frank from one of these organizations, if so, you may have known him as the President, Secretary / Treasurer, but it was making a deep and lasting difference for others that was his guiding force.
One of those lasting differences can be seen in the restoration of several stained-glass windows to honor his father at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church. From his altar boy days to his 2011 acceptance as a papal knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Frank's Catholic faith anchored his life and his work. With a head for numbers and a heart for others, Frank was quick to lend an ear, tax advice or BBQ recipe. He never met a stranger and was a trusted friend to many from the "ornament group" of yesteryear to his work out buddies / breakfast club of today. Frank and Sharon's home was a preferred destination for countless gatherings of not only their family and friends, but also the girls. A definitive host, Frank's warm smile and generous ways will be missed. In lieu of flowers, family requests memorial gifts be made in Frank's name to De LaSalle Education Center or St. Paul's Episcopal Day School.
Published by Kansas City Star on Dec. 20, 2020.