A Life Lived: Frank Richardson was a whistling veteran, friend

Published 8:49 am Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Friends and family of Frank Richardson have a sweet memory of his whistling. “He always whistled. You could hear him coming before he ever got to you,” said his daughter, Angela Manning. “He always had a song in his heart and a skip in his step.”

Franklin “Frank” Richardson died Feb. 25 at the age of 77. Richardson was a friend to a lot of people. He mowed their yards, pulled their weeds, and did their trimming, took time to visit his neighbors, and did numerous little things for them.

Lee Anna Rasar, who now lives in Wisconsin, shared: “Frank was a very good friend to me and my parents, Madelyn and Black Cat Rasar. He was very creative and designed a beautiful stable for her Christmas lawn to make a manger scene. He got her Christmas tree up and down the stairs for her, brought her cakes and candies which his wife made, and shared videos with her.”

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Lee Anna shared that during the days before her mother died, Frank came to the hospital and spent hours with her. “I especially remember that,” she said.

Frank was a member of the Carter County Honor Guard. “He was a proud veteran, who loved his country and other veterans,” said Kelly Greene, Commander of the Carter County Honor Guard. “He was my flag-folding partner at the cemetery. He had done a lot of funerals. This year, alone, he helped in 44 funerals, and did one two days prior to his own death,” Kelly shared.

“Frank was kind to everyone, and counted his service to the Honor Guard as a labor of love. He cared about people and had pride in his family, his church, his country, and especially for fellow veterans. I could hear him coming before he got to the door. He would be whistling, and when he saw me, his first words were: Yo, Kelly. I sure am going to miss him,” said Greene.

Frank was raised on Stoney Creek, and when a young man, had worked at all four theaters in Elizabethton and later at the drive-in. “He later worked at a diner and took meals to the old jail,” said his daughter, Angela.

“Other than God and his family, he loved the Honor Guard more than anything. They were his brothers and sisters,” said Angela. Frank was a veteran, having served during the Vietnam era.

When he came home from the service, he went to work at the local rayon plants and worked there until they closed. He later worked at Mapes Piano Strings, retiring from the Elizabethton company.

“I have the DD Twisting Bible. The Bible was purchased with donations from second shift DD Twisting employees and they kept it in the department. Inside the Bible was “In Memoriam” cards of employees who had died. When the department closed, Daddy brought the Bible home and continued to remember employees by placing the little “In Memoriam” cards in it when they passed,” said Angela.

“My daddy was a simple man who enjoyed sitting on the front porch and drinking coffee, visiting his neighbors, and walking the Tweetsie Trail. He enjoyed hiking and would often share water with hikers. One of his favorite places to hike to was Split Rock,” said Angela.

Daughter Diana shared her daddy liked music from the 1950s and ’60s era. “He called it jukebox music,” she said.

Both daughters said Frank never used a weed eater when he trimmed a yard. “He pulled the weeds or used his pocket knife,” said Angela.

He was especially fond of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Diana shared.

Frank was preceded in death by his wife, Charlotte.

He was laid to rest March 1 in the Mountain Home National Cemetery alongside other veterans. “It was no goodbye for me, for I plan to see Frank later, and I suppose before I see him, I will hear him whistling,” said his flag-folding partner, Kelly Greene.