Frank Meekins

Obituary of Frank Meekins

On February 2, 1925, Frank was born to William Meekins and Mildred Augusta Meekins as an only child in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He spent most of his childhood surrounded by the support and love of his mother's family, where his grandmother and grandfather, Frank, and Rosa Augusta, primarily raised him. His mother had the opportunity to follow her dream of being an actress and appeared in plays with her brother in New York as a cast member of the discontinued American Negro Theatre (ANT). His family was loving and close-knit, and they were instrumental in his upbringing. Frank enjoyed going to New York to watch her productions as often as possible. Frank's early education was at William Pierce school, and high school was at South Philadelphia High for Boys. He was one of four Blacks that completed South Philadelphia High out of one hundred, and six months later, everyone in the class was drafted. Frank was athletic and participated in swimming and gymnastics, admitting that his favorite swimming strokes were the Australian Crawl aka the Freestyle and the Butterfly. He stated that his stroke speed was pure strength, and because of segregation, he was not allowed to use the same facilities as the other white competitors. Frank was not only an athlete, he was a scholar who took great interest in History, Latin, Art, and Science. Frank enlisted in the United States Army and served from 1943 to 1945 during World War II. His service started with basic training in New Orleans for six months and onto Europe, sailing the Queen Mary unescorted to England, Scotland, Wales, and France. Both Frank and his uncle Carlos served, and they were both stationed in Europe simultaneously but in different countries. Although it was a frightening and uncertain time, the opportunity to experience the culture and history was good. His most vivid memory of the War was the magnitude of the destruction and loss of life. After being honorably discharged from the military, Frank entered Howard University, following his father's footsteps, where his father attended and obtained a law degree. After completing two years at Howard University, he decided to use the skills he had learned in the service, such as rigging and cable splicing, to gain employment; however, Blacks were not hired for that type of work in the civilian world. He served in the Federal Government with the Department of the Navy and was a general foreman for the Trident Submarine Propulsion System. As a professional modeler and molder in metalwork, his designs were instrumental in the production of Trident submarines. In 1949, Frank met Phyllis Inez Galloway from Orange, Virginia, leading to their marriage in Washington, D.C, on September 29, 1951. Through their marriage, the couple was blessed with a daughter, Denise (Meekins) McBride. Frank loved his family deeply and was a devoted husband and loving father to his daughters, Deborah, and Denise. The couple lived and raised their daughter, Denise, in Philadelphia and were married for 53 years until his wife, Phyllis, passed on February 4, 2005. On August 28, 1963, Frank joined his wife's family members to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where civil rights activist Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech. Just as in 1963, Civil Rights and Voting Rights remained important. After 30 years of service, Frank retired in 1980 at 55 years old. In retirement, he spent most of his time traveling, drawing, and playing golf with his friends. He appreciated his time with his church family at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Philadelphia, PA where he was a member and an Elder. He deeply enjoyed spending time with his family, and supporting his wife's professional golf business and annual summer camp, PGM Golf Clinics, Inc. His favorite pastimes were watching old black and white movies, westerns, national geographic channels, and listening to jazz. In 2016, Frank relocated to Nashville, TN. He continued to foster his love of art through painting, where he received lessons from his son-in-law, Michael, a professional artist. He also enjoyed using his calligraphy and doodling skills, as he had done for years. He enjoyed spending all the yearly holidays with his family and friends and looked forward to satisfying his sweet tooth and drinking specialty coffee. Both family, friends, and acquaintances, called him Pop-Pop or Poppezzi, and knew him as a loving, kind, wise, and incredibly patient, well-dressed man with a keen and witty sense of humor. He loved to laugh, have fun, and it was a ritual every time people were around for him to tell a funny joke or story. The family was significant to Frank. Every holiday or special occasion dinner, we knew that he would express to family members how proud he was of their accomplishments and successes. He would say, "It's always a parent's dream or wish to see the next generation be better and do better than the previous one. And I am blessed to see that with our family." Frank was preceded in death by his parents, William Meekins and Mildred Meekins Dixon, his beloved wife, Phyllis Galloway Meekins, and grandparents, Frank and Rosa Augusta. He leaves to cherish and celebrate his memory and legacy, his children Denise Meekins McBride (Michael) of Nashville, TN; Deborah Meekins of Philadelphia, PA, and his grandchildren, Jerrel McBride Thomas (Fred) of Lilburn, Georgia; Jeremy McBride (Yasanta) of Nashville, TN, Jamie (Tyesha) of Folcroft, PA; and his great-grandchildren. He also leaves dear friends, Charles Chamberlain, Larry Chamberlain, Darlene Cropper, Goldie Fitzhugh, Gloria Richardson, Charleen Spruel, Bobby Taylor, and other relatives and friends. Our family partners with the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) every year. We contribute to a golf scholarship in my mother’s name for a young woman of color entering college that will play collegiate golf. In honor of my father, we know that he would want the PGM Golf Scholarship to continue. Donors can contribute online or via check. Online can be done through: https://www.girlsgolf.org/give They can select Phyllis G. Meekins Scholarship from the designation drop-down list. For checks, they can be addressed to the LPGA Foundation and mailed to: LPGA Foundation Attn Fernando Carrasquillo 100 International Golf Dr Daytona Beach, FL 32124 Donors are asked to put Phyllis G Meekins Scholarship in the memo line so they can ensure it gets allocated correctly. Thank you for being so considerate.
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