Cover photo for Phillip H. Frank I's Obituary
Phillip H. Frank I Profile Photo

Phillip H. Frank I

d. April 15, 2020

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.

A memorial gathering for Phillip will be held on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020 from 10:00 AM until time of funeral mass at 11:00 AM at Holy Family Catholic Church in Athens. Cremation rites were accorded.

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


  1. Patti and Frank family,

    I have fond memories from way back when I was in high school. And my parents, Ellis and Harriett Smith, also thought so much of Phil. I am so sorry for your loss.

    Joyce Smith Lanier

  2. So sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. He was a very nice and friendly gentleman. He and Mary were quite the pair 😀 so enjoyable. He surely enjoyed life to the fullest. Rest in peace Phil!

  3. The Frank Family – We were so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. He always had a smile on his face and a kind word. He will be missed. Peace and comfort for your family. Deepest Sympathies.

  4. We are sorry to hear of your father’s passing. I remember when I first got to know him when he visited our Rotary club in Greenview back in the early 80’s. I had him give some Rotary programs for us and he always had your attention. He will be missed. Again our deepest sympathy; Ron ans Susie S.

  5. Patti and Frank family,

    I was so saddened to learn of your Dad’s passing– Praying for you and your family during this most difficult time.

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