Whitesell, Francis M.

Francis M. Whitesell

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Francis "Frank" Michael Whitesell, a longtime resident of Kansas City, passed away Jan. 9, 2020, in Columbia, Missouri, with family and friends at his side. Frank was 92.

Frank was born in St. Joseph, to Gertrude (Derks) and David Earl Whitesell.

He attended Christian Brothers High School, in St. Joseph, graduating as salutatorian of his class in 1945.

Frank earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1949, from St. Benedict's College, in Atchison, Kansas.

Frank worked in various accounting positions, including for the Internal Revenue Service in Kansas City. He later was employed at the United States Postal Service in Kansas City, retiring from there in 1987. Frank maintained his own tax preparation service well into his 80s.

Frank met the love of his life, Mary Elizabeth Koppen, in the early 1950s, while both were living in St. Louis. Coincidentally, Mary Elizabeth also was from St. Joseph, and, unbeknownst to Frank, the sister of his friend and classmate, William Koppen.

Frank and Mary Elizabeth's first date was at a St. Louis Cardinals' baseball game. Fittingly, the two remained devoted Cardinal fans throughout their 56 years of marriage.

Sports was just one of Frank's passions. He also was an avid reader, a history buff and an aficionado of Big Band music.

He and Mary Elizabeth also loved to travel. They traveled by car to nearly every state in the country. As Frank once said, "If God wanted me to fly, he would not have invented the Toyota."

Frank was known for his wonderful sense of humor. His quick wit and warm smile brought joy to all those around him. Frank will be deeply missed by his friends, family and all who knew him.

Frank is preceded in death by: his wife, Mary Elizabeth Whitesell; his parents, Gertrude and Earl Whitesell; brother, Jim Whitesell; and his mother-in-law, Johannah Elizabeth Koppen, who lived with Frank and Mary Elizabeth, until her death in 1981.

Frank is survived by: his daughter, Mary Charlotte Whitesell-Doyle, of Columbia; his sister, Emma Jane (Whitesell) Cheesman and her husband, William Cheesman, of Houston, Texas; three grandchildren: Elizabeth Doyle, of Roeland Park, Kansas, Joseph Doyle and Molly Ross, of Kansas City, and John Doyle and his wife, Mickeala Doyle, of Overland Park, Kansas; special in-laws, Carol Koppen and Judith and Jim Whalen, all of Kansas City,; numerous nieces and nephews, from Kansas City, to Lawrence, Kansas, Houston, Minnesota, and Fort Myers, Florida; and many Derks cousins spread across the country.

Frank spent the past six years with his daughter in Columbia. With the support of his beloved friend and caregiver, Joyce Madsen, he enjoyed eating breakfast each day at a favorite restaurant, making new friends in the community, and always, searching local stores for St. Joe-made Cherry Mash candy bars.

The Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, at St. Gabriel's Catholic Church, 4737 North Cleveland Ave., Kansas City, MO.

A luncheon will follow at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to: St. Gabriel's Catholic Church or the St. Thomas More Newman Center, in Columbia, and may be left in the care of the McGilley Antioch Chapel, 3325 Northeast Vivion Rd., Kansas City, MO 64119. As published in the St. Joseph News-Press.