Phillip H. Frank I

Phillip H. Frank I of Athens passed away April 15, 2020 in Springfield due to the COVID19 virus. Phillip was born April 5, 1925 in Peoria, Illinois to Godfrey and Wilhemina Feinholtz Frank. Phillip grew up on the family farm just south of Springfield, Illinois. He attended the Crow’s Mill School and graduated from Ball Township High School where he was active in FFA, 4-H, track and other sports. Phillip supported the WW2 war effort by farming and raising food for our hungry nation.

Phillip and Mary Catherine Copp were married in 1949 and moved to Athens to establish their own farm. He was a passionate farmer from the day he was born until the day he died, fully embracing innovation and new technologies. Phillip and Mary Catherine built up their farm near Athens for 25 years before their son, Phil II joined them after college. Together they proudly became Frank Farms, Inc. through hard work, innovation, creativity, and diversification.

Phillip was also a successful Pioneer Seed Representative for many years. He developed life long friends and customers who will always remember his integrity and willingness to help. He proved over and over that although education was important relationships were what really mattered.

He will always be remembered as always smiling, charming, fun loving, and kind. Phillip was always a giver, never a taker. He was a devout Catholic, loyal member and active participant of Rotary International, where he was a 2 time recipient of the Paul Harris Award, and a leader in many agricultural organizations. He enjoyed traveling, as long as Mary Catherine did all the planning. Since he was an avid reader of newspapers, farm magazines and a variety of books, he always knew more than he let on. Due to his interest in the weather he was also a committed official weather observer with the National Weather Service, keeping and reporting meticulously for decades.

He received many awards related to agriculture, conservation, and sales goals with Pioneer. But he was most proud of his family and was a source of unconditional support for them. Phillip was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 65 years, Mary Catherine (2014) and his son Phil (2008). While we grieve losing him we celebrate their joyful reunion.

Survivors include his daughters, Patricia A Frank of Bloomingdale, IL, and Linda Connelly of Athens; grandchildren, Ryan (Samantha) Gergen of Crystal Lake, IL, Erin (Keith) Mathis of Bloomingdale, IL, Brad (special friend Amber Powell) of St Louis, MO, Katherine (Rich) Klinker of Jacksonville, IL; the children of his late son, Phil II; eleven great-grandchildren; one brother; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Catholic Mass and Celebration of Life will be held at a later time.

Memorials may be made to the Phillip and Mary Catherine Frank Agriculture Scholarship, The Holy Family Church building fund, or the Rotary Club of Menard County, and may be mailed to Phillip Frank – P.O. Box 103 – Athens, IL 62613.

Mott & Henning Funeral Home is assisting the family. On-line condolences can be shared at

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