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Joe Frankie, Jr. Obituary for the Newspaper
Posted by: Roy Pierce (ID *****9821) Date: November 14, 2003 at 14:35:18
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Joe Frankie, Jr. Obituary for the Newspaper

Los Fresnos, TX --- Joseph Frankie, Jr., 87, a lifelong resident of Los Fresnos and former Restaurant Operator passed away on the evening of 13 November after a lengthy illness. He was born in Virden, Illinois on 3 April 1916. He was the youngest of three children of Mary and Joseph Frankie, Sr. He was preceded in death by his father, Joseph Frankie, Sr.; his mother, Mary Battaglia Frankie; and his brother and sister, John Frankie of Missouri City and Sophie Frankie Billue of Los Fresnos.

He attended Los Fresnos and San Benito Schools and graduated from Los Fresnos High School in 1935. He went to Rice Institute in Houston, Texas from 1937-1941 where he and his brother, John, had athletic scholarships.

He worked on pipelines and with the Department of Agriculture until volunteering for the armed services in 1943. He earned a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps and graduated and earned his Bombardier Wings in March 1944. He was cross trained in bombardiering and navigation and performed duties as a Lead Bombardier for the 91st Bomb Group (Heavy) at Bassingbourne, England. He completed 32 missions over Europe in B17s from July 44 - March 45. He participated on the 2 November 1944 mission to the Mersburg Refinery Complex, Germany where he was one of seventeen aircraft out of thirty-seven to return from this mission. Later, he was recognized for his skill and efforts as the Lead Bombardier for the mission to knockout the Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne, Germany--the last bridge capable of supporting armor and rail movement across the Rhine River in Patton's Third Army Sector on 14 January 1945. Proudly, he received the Air Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters, European Theatre of Operation Medal, Presidential Unit Citatation (91st Bomb Group), Battle of Britian Medal, Normandy, France and Germany Campaign Medals. He enjoyed participating in 91st Bomb Group and Bombardier Reunions. He was very close to his former crewmates and it is was not unexpected to hear from them every year on the first part of November to commemorate their participation on the 2 November 1944 mission to Mersberg, Germany.

Upon his return from overseas, he had a glass business in Brownsville installing plate and decorative glass supporting the Brownsville and Matamoros area. He was the first commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post in Brownsville in 1946. Later that year he went to Collinsville, Illinois where he partnered with his cousin, Joe Podesta, in the fuel business. Later, they both owned and trained throroughbred race horses from 1947-1949 on the racing circuit in Illinois and Arkansas.

In 1949, he returned to Los Fresnos where he worked with his parents at Frankie's Restaurant. He was a Charter and Life member of the Moses-Whitlock American Legion Post #632 in Los Fresnos.

In 1951, he married Sharleen Henley and they have two children, Joseph III and Nina. Sharleen was a career educator serving in the Los Fressnos and Brownsville School Districts.

During the fifties and early sixites he worked sales for the Pittsburg Plate Glass Company, Sechrist-Hall Roofing, Clark Aluminum Window Company and the NAPCO Paint Company. In 1966, his parents turned over the reins of Frankie's Restaurant to him. He and his family operated the restaurant until 1980 when he sold the business and property. The Frankie family had operated the Restaurant for 50 years.

He supported the Lions Club and was member of the Knights Templar of Texas-Commandery #57 of Corpus Christi, Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of San Antonio, and Al Afazar Shrine of Corpus Christi. He participated in local softball and bowling leagues over the years. He enjoyed bowling competively in leagues and tournaments all over the state for many years. He was extremely of proud of having bowled a perfect 300 on 31 Oct 84 which was officially sanctioned and brought him numerous deserving awards. He partnered with his cousin, once again, in 1968 to 1976 to raise thoroughbred horses at home and then transport them to Illinois where his cousin raced them in the East St. Louis area.

He is survived by his by his wife, Sharleen, of Los Fresnos; his son and daughter-in law; Colonel and Mrs. Joseph Frankie III of Mansfield, his daughter; Nina Frankie Price of El Paso;his cousins, Mr. and Mrs. Chester Macomb of Los Fresnos, Dorothy LaGant Laycock of Bayview, Joyce Phillips and Bobbi LaGant of Bayview; Marilyn Macomb Sutton of Los Fresnos, Danny Bob Macomb of Harlingen, and Gary Wayne Macomb of Los Fresnos, William Moore of Pearland, Rene Collins of Klute, Dana Battaglia of Niblett, IL; his nieces, Mary Louise Middleton of Bayview, Jenny Frankie Banker of Sugarland, his nephews; Jay Frankie of Houston, Tony Frankie of Rosenberg; his grandchildren, Joseph Frankie IV of College Station, Niki Forbis of El Paso, Christopher John Frankie of Mansfield; as well as many grand and great grand nieces and nephews, to include; Robert Eldon Middleton, Jr. of Los Fresnos, Risa Middleton Schneider of San Marcos, Patricia Middleton of Houston, Brian Banker of Sugarland, John Kyle Banker of Boiling, Richard Frankie of Houston, Niki Frankie of Houston;Robert Eldon Middleton III of Nashville, TN, Savannah Middleton of Los Fresnos, Blair Banker of Sugarland, Kyle Banker of Sugarland; Sophie and Sadie Schneider of San Marcos, Brock Middleton of Nashville, TN.

Despite his numerous achievements and his community work he will be most remembered as dedicated father who selflessly gave to his family. He was and is a youth at heart which he always had time and patience for the youngest members of the family. This support included the young people who had summer jobs at the restaurant. His wisdom and tenacity of will were hallmarks of his interactions with all and it will missed..... Paso' por aqui.

Graveside funeral services will for Mr. Joseph Frankie, Jr. will be held at Mont Meda Cemetery at 10 a.m. on Monday, 17 November.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Thomae Funeral Home in San Benito, TX.

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