Remembering Frank Leslie Findley, Jr. 1927-1959
I’ve included several different writings about Dad in memory of his life as we approach his birthday. While I’m working on other reflections, I have put this up for him to be remembered. The first is the one is written by Grandmommie, Beatrice Huckaby Findley, the second and subsequent writings were in the Baptist Trumpet January 1960. The first of those was written by Eld Wayne Burleson, the second by Bonita Wall (Aunt Nita), the third by and the last was by Lee Huckaby (Aunt Lee).
As lovingly remembered by Beatrice Findley
As the skies continue overshadowed by dark clouds, seems my heart is thus too. As I look out on the water soaked earth, my mind keeps going to a lonely little mound in St. Eden Cemetery, where our darling Frankie was laid to rest.
At times it seems impossible to think he has gone from this life forever. I wish I had words to write a tribute to our darling. He came to bless our home December 4, 1927. Oh, how we love our baby and how happy we were. Though poor in this world’s goods but rich in the things money could never buy. He was always a fun loving little boy and grew and grew. I remember well his first steps, remember the little snowsuit granddaddy Huckaby got for him – remember his little red wagon and tricycle at his first Christmas. How he use to try to go to daddy at the cotton gin across the street; as he grew he use to like to go fishing and hunting. Remember so well his first day at school, how I came back home and was so lonely. He was our constant pal, he had a little dog he loved so much and I gave him a mother hen and some baby chicks, he always tended them.
His first serious illness came at six years. We thought we would lose him, but God saw fit to spare him though not one but three spells of grave illnesses. Oh, how I prayed and begged God to let us have him awhile longer. And He did. He looked healthy and was happy, never giving us any trouble at all.
Always considerate of his Dad and I, and others. He loved and trusted people. He liked to go to church and associations.
He liked to go to granddad’s (papa) and grandmother’s (grandma). Loved so much to play with Bill, Lou and Aunt Nita, liked to have Uncle Add and Uncle Hi build things for him. Liked to ride Uncle Gene’s and Uncle Jay’s horses. We California in 1939. He started school and he soon made a lot of friends but never forgot the life of a farm lad, or his pet goat and dog we left standing in the yard when we left Oklahoma, which he had given to a little friend, Roy Lee Curry, who was moving to the place.
Frankie was always very independent and soon got a job in California, at gas stations, as a sub-letter carrier and etc., buying all his clothes, but always so sweet to get things for us. He had two great pals, Bill Huckaby and Bill Brown. They use to ride miles and miles on their bikes. They use to see all the latest shows first, they smoked their first cigarettes together, they loved to go to Playland in San Francisco. But, he always talked of someday returning to the life he loved as a small lad.
I remember so well when he was 16 years old, he went to Austin Studios and has a nice picture made of himself, which I shall always treasure, together with one of his dad and I.
In 1945 we said goodbye to our loved ones here and returned to Arkansas, much against my better judgment and wishes. But we never know what life holds and the things we do will come to mean to someone, as you will later see.
Frankie was so happy when Uncle Rate gave him a job driving a tractor in the hayfield pulling a rake. He wanted to go to Arkansas to the little place we had bought, I can see him now, his health wasn’t as good as people thought. He was a big husky fellow. But seemed to tire easily, We went onto Arkansas in August, and then to Louisiana to visit our relatives there, came back to Arkansas and settled down to a life of happiness we thought. Frankie worked so hard to help us tear down an old school we bought to build our house. We planned and built air castles, we went fishing, we went to auction sales buying things we needed on our farm, We picked out a site for our new home, Frankie saying let this little tree stay, it will make a beautiful shade tree someday. We hunted until we found the horse he wanted, and got. He bought a saddle. He loved the tall pines that grew at the back of our home site. He loved to go squirrel hunting with “Spot”. He loved to hear the hounds baying in the distance at night. He laughed at me for being afraid of snakes. He bought a 22 rifle. He bought his own cow.
But alas! In October our darling was seized again with illness, in the middle of the night he called to me. This time it was awful. I sat by his bed two weeks not knowing if he would live an hour or not. He complained with his right arm and leg and I rubbed him until I blistered my hands. He begged to go to Paris to doctors and as soon as they would release him at Mena we took him home and later to Paris.
He never mentioned he couldn’t see good…until we got home.
As we drove home through, he said the pines sure smelled good. When we got home, his horse came to the gate and he said, “Linday, it is good to feel you though I can’t see you.” That was the first we knew his poor eyes were dimmed, oh, the tears I shed, the prayers I prayed, and how many times I felt my poor heart had broken, for grief and pity for our only child. We lived for him. Doing the things we wanted and could do. Taking him fishing and sitting in fear he would slip into the water. But our prayers were answered again, and his life was spared by our wonderful Savior, We took him to any doctor we could hear of would might help. For his faith was strong his sight would be restored. but none helped. We moved over to Uncle Rate’s farm, he having to sell his horse, saddle and chickens. But he kept his boots and Martingale. He tried so hard to help and did in many ways, He would mild and put our feed, feeling his way along.
We felt it was best we return to California, for financial reasons, which we did in October 1947, having been gone two years. But we returned, sad in a way, but feeling we had been so richly blessed.
Frankie spent much of his time sitting in thought. He rebelled at just sitting helpless. He has no income and felt to be dependent on his Dad. God blessed us with our only daughter, January 30, 1948, much to all three of our joy. Frankie was 20 now but he loved Patty for the beginning and would sit and rock her by the hour.
In February 1949 he began getting his Blind Aid and it made him feel so good because now he could do for himself. But he thought of others first. He said, “Mom, you need an electric mixer.” Which he got. He got me an electric sewing machine, a vacuum, a toaster, waffle iron, a new stove, an automatic washer, a steam iron, besides the clothes he got for me. He got Patty a rocker, a doll and a lot of other things. There was a big rocker in the place we moved to, and he had it covered and made like new. He was ever doing to make life easier for us.
Stephen our little son, came to live with us in August 1950.
Frankie never became out of patience with the babies, tough my health was very bad. But he would often say, “Mom, why don’t you go to town and get out. I’ll stay with the babies.”
He began to rehabilitate himself now, going to Enchanted Hills, a camp for the blind, and later to school to learn to read and write Braille. I can see him now placing his bunch to raise the little dots that would spell out the words. He entered a choral group at the blind center, known as the Lamplighters. Ohm many times he has lighted a lamp for me. He met others who could not see with their eyes, hub he and they say so much with their hearts. We went on camping trips at Clear Lake and Frank and he would go in a boat fishing, I went with him to buy a camera, having to be careful to get one with a viewfinder he could see, He spent a lot of time taking pictures. There are many cherished ones among his possessions. We made a trip back to the land he loved in 1952. He enjoyed so much seeing and being with loved ones again, I believe Frankie had a slight hemorrhage sometime about 1952 or 1953m because he used his right hand less. He got rid of his rabbits and seemed to not do as many things as he had. Although he got employment at Albert Wrights and worked there until he was laid off. He then began door to door selling, trying to make his way and to save a little of this world’s good.
In 1954 he met and married a little Russian girl, Kira, who we loved so much, We hated to have him leave the home nest, but wanted him to be happy, which he certainly was. The only thing he couldn’t give her the things he wanted to. They had a happy little home though and were very independent, never asking anyone to do for them the things they could do for themselves.
I shall never forget the rainy, stormy night the phone rang and he said, “Dad, we have a little girl.” Frank wanted to go to the hospital and bring him to our house and he said, “No, I’ll take a cab to go home.” He named little (Kay) Kira Patricia, for her mother and Patty.
He was so happy and proud of his little family. Kira (Karen) joined the Primitive Baptist Church in 1957, which to me shows another great work of God. She knew nothing of them until after she married Frankie, having been raised in China by Russian Orthodox parents.
A change came over Frankie, which he tried to conceal. They had attended dances at the blind center, and he didn’t want to go anymore, for he didn’t feel it to be right for her, a church member, but he didn’t go either.
February 1959, little Debra Faye (Debbie) was born to them. He had wanted a son but was happy with Debbie. Oh how he loved her and she him, He would sit and hold her and love her. He called them his three girls. July was our association time. He told us he couldn’t go until Saturday night, because he had to work, selling from house to house. But Friday afternoon he called Uncle Gene and asked him to meet him at the bus stop. But Uncle Gene went to get him at his home. We all knew Frankie wasn’t well. But he never complained. Saturday morning he made his wishes known he wanted to unite with the church and did. My cup was filled and overflowed. But I felt a great sadness, I felt our darling had come home to die.
The morning he was baptized I felt I was going to his funeral. He was so happy though, and we to church every time he could. August the 12th was Dad’s birthday and he called and wanted us to come over, We went, he had gone and bought Dad a beautiful white shirt and a birthday cake, The 13th he got bad sick, and we took him to the hospital, where he spent a month. Patiently submitting to the many tests, being examined by many student doctors and nurses. He wanted to see the babies so much but said, “I’ll stay until they say for me to go home. The gave him radium treatments which made him very sick, But still, he took his lot patiently. He was so happy to get to come home and tried to be jolly and cheerful. He took more treatments after coming home, going five days a week back to the hospital….when we knew he didn’t feel good. But he was determined to take what the doctors fave as his only hope of recovery.
He went to Napa to church as soon as he was released from the last treatment second Sunday in October he enjoyed it so much. And was eager to do his duty toward the church, but remarked to me, I shouldn’t have joined the church, because I can’t help financially like I should.” I told him there was much more he could do and his help meant just as much as the person that could give ten times more in dollars and cents. He was eager to pay a visit to his relatives and did in November, all but Uncles Add and Bill, but planned to later.
But he didn’t get the chance, fourth Sunday in November he was at Napa and Bonita called he was sick, We went to get him and brought him home. Karen called the doctor Monday morning and he said he had the flu. Something drew me to go see him every day that week, and I did, spending as much time as I could. Monday, November 30th we took our darling to the hospital, I shall never forget how he hated to go back and kept saying, “I wonder how long I’ll have to stay this time.” We told him maybe not long and he said he hoped not. “I want to be back home for my birthday, December 4th.”
He grew steadily worse, developing pneumonia. Oh how our hears bled, to see him suffer, One Saturday he called for me and I went to see him, he had been in a subconscious condition for days. I shall hear his voice forever. When I spoke to him, he said, “Mom, mom, mom,” then raised his hand and looked up with his vision dimmed eyes and said, “I see…” he never could tell me what he saw. But I think I know. I think he saw Jesus on his throne and saw the beauties of that wonderful home that he soon would enter. Then he began talking to me of our little home in Arkansas, believing he was a young boy again and thinking he was back there, I said, yes, honey, we have a lot to do. He said, “I’ll help you, mom.” He relieved so much of his early childhood and teenage years. Telling the things he and the two Bills did.
Now you see I’m glad we made that trip to Arkansas. It meant a lot to him, The sweet smell of the pines, the singing of the birds he loved, the chattering of the grey squirrels, the baying of the hounds, the call of Spot when he had “treed”. We prayed God to spare him again, but it was not his will. Even when I prayed a voice would whisper, “Not this time, he has suffered enough.” It hurt so badly to see his body waste away, to see his blurred eyes. We went to see him Christmas night, he talked to us and turned himself in bed. We thought perhaps he was better, but when we went Saturday and Sunday, all he ever said was “Hello Mom” the last words I ever heard him say.
I took care of his babies and listened for the phone to ring. Bonita was with me when the phone did ring. She walked back to the room where I sat. She was very pale and her eyes brimming with tears. I said, “he is gone.” She said very quietly, “10:20” Soon his Dad and pal came in (he was at his bedside when the end came.) he said softly, the last hour was easy. He just gradually went away.
December 31, 1959
Oh, I could never number the wonderful blessings that have been ours. The blessing of calling this wonderful man, “Our son.” The blessing of his short life with us. The blessing of seeing him take up his cross to follow Jesus, the blessing of all the sweet memories he has left, the blessing of his clean moral, upright life he lived, the blessing of having his companion and darling little daughters, The great blessing of our other children, to hope to raise to the high standard of his life, the wonderful blessing of the hope of meeting our precious Frankie in that home beyond the trials and sadness of this sad old world. Then he won’t be afflicted, but we shall all be as one. I thank God for the blessing of being with him that last few days before he went to the hospital, for his wonderful little prayer at the table on Thanksgiving Day. one I shall always remember. I’m thankful for the blessing of our Great Savior to release us from our suffering, when our bodies become worn out and afflicted, Thankful for the blessing of all our loved ones who we and he loved and were too kind and helpful. But the heart still pains and yearns for my firstborn, and I become so sad and overcome with grief, I find myself crying aloud for help. I beg to be submissive and some day shall view that city and cry aloud, “Hosanna, Deliverance has come,” just as I know Frankie did.
In deep sorrow,
His mother, Beatrice Findley
From: The Baptist Trumpet Volume 69 Number 2 Killeen, Bell County, Texas, Thursday, January 21, 1960
Frank Findley Junior Passes Away
We’re going out of the old year 1959 and the coming in of the new year 1960 was no doubt celebrated by millions of people all over the world. But for many of us here in California, this time was spent in secret prayer in behalf of Frank, Jr., Findley, who was then in the Fairmont hospital of Oakland, California. Just about 10:30 PM New Year’s Eve, Frank breathed his last breath out on the breast of our sweet Savior and immediately his spirit went back to God from whence it had been given.
It is with downcast heart I write this article. It is been my pleasure to know Frank Jr., ever since he was a small boy playing on the sidewalks and streets with other boys in the neighborhood. His father and mother, brother and sister Frank Findley, Sr., lived just around the street from us at the time. When Frank, Jr. was a young boy in his teens, he was stricken with an illness that caused him to go blind. Somehow, by the help and love of God, he became very well adjusted to his loss of sight. He began to think more about the things of the kingdom of God which are not seeing with one’s natural eyes.
He was about 27 years old when he came to know a blind girl, whom we know now as Sister Kira Findley, Frank and Kira were married five or six years ago and it had pleased God to bless this marriage with two beautiful little girls, Kay and Debbie. I feel and know that sister Kira will miss Frank in every way she looks. But I pray that God will somehow comfort her heart that mourns and give her much consolation in the lives of her two little daughters, as she raises them up in the fear of the Lord and also teaches them about their dear sweet father who has now gone to be with God in the wonderful heaven which we love to think about.
My heart was made glad, during our last association, how old with Golden Gate church of Oakland, California in July 1959, when it pleased God to send Frank Jr., to the church where his friends were. He was baptized by Elder Thurman Huckaby and then given to our church at Napa, California. It is been my pleasure to serve as his pastor from then until the night of New Year’s Eve when he went away to be with God forever more. I have drawn much inspiration from the faithful lives of Frank and Kira since they have belonged to our church. I have called on him to pray several times while he was with us and he always opened his heart to God on these occasions.
Frank’s going to be with our heavenly father is going to leave an emptiness in his home and also in the hearts of many loved ones and his many friends, also an empty seat in the church at Napa. But I humbly trust that we who are left to fight the Christian battle the pattern our lives after the light of Frank, Junior, whom I believe love God and is deep, rich, heartfelt way. Our loss is Frank’s eternal gain, for he has gone to heaven in spirit where there will be no vacant seats.
On this occasion, my heart goes out to sister Kira and the little daughters and to Brother and Sister Frank Findley and their family; also to the uncles, aunts and cousins and the many friends who mourn his going. May God comfort each of them is my humble prayer. And may God comfort the heart of Sister Rhue Norman who is his only living Grandmother.
The above was written some two days ago and it now being January 4 and after the funeral service for brother Frank, Junior., I will make my final conclusion of this article. Brother Frank was taken from the hospital New Year’s Day to the Banning Funeral Home here in Oakland where we met today to pay our last tribute of respect to one we all love very much. I will not attempt to estimate the number of people present but will say that there were many which made a long funeral procession as we followed to the Mount Eden Cemetery where his body was laid to rest awaiting the second coming of our Savior. There was a beautiful floral offering by loved ones and friends. Elder Alan Abernathy, Elder Thurman Huckaby, and the unworthy writer tried to bring words of consolation to the bereaved family.
Again, I say, may God with his tender mercies comfort all who mourn the passing of Frank, Jr. If I know my heart, this is written in love for one who has left us behind that he might be yonder in Gods heaven.
W. F. Burleson
Frank Findley, Jr.
Frank Findley Jr., was born December 4, 1927 in Fredrick, Oklahoma; and departed this life December 31, 1959. He was married to Miss Karen Lisitzin on December 26, 1954, this union was blessed with two darling little girls, Karen Patricia, 4 years, and Debra Faye, 11 months. Frankie joined the Primitive Baptist Church on July 11, 1959, and was baptized by Elder T. L. Huckaby. His membership was with us here at Carquinez Church where he was a faithful and highly esteemed member at the time of his death.
We know that with God all is well, and we would not desire to question his will, yet the natural tie which has been severed seems almost unbearable at times and I know it would be except for the grace of God. It seemed from the time Karen joined the church in 1957 that Frankie had an ever thirsting desire to follow in her footsteps, yet he could not give over to his desire; even tried very hard to keep it concealed. We can see so many ways that the hand of God worked in his life, can see his plan so clearly. We were blessed to glean much comfort and strength from Frankie’s strong faith after he cast his lot with us. He was found ever at his post and attended services every Sunday unless he was unable to do so. His suffering was carried in patience, never complaining until the time of death. His subconscious mind ever cried out for his loved ones, often talking in the past to loving aunts and uncles, grandfather and grandmother, parents, but more often to his faithful wife had stayed constantly by his side.
As I write this there is a weathered white Carnation laying beside the typewriter which I took from the wreath sent by Carquinez Church. It seems to be a symbol of the beautiful flower that withered and died a natural death, but unlike this beautiful flower that is weathered and will be pressed among keepsakes, the other flower will blossom in everlasting life where it will be watered and fed by Gods unchanging love. That heart will know no more sorrow nor the body feel pain again, yet we who remain can only look to that same Redeemer for strength, and for the soothing salve of His grace to comfort and mend our broken hearts. The flawless voice of his brave good little wife continues to ring out as she sang at the graveside, “Farther along will know all about it; farther along will understand why,“.
Words of love and comfort were spoken to the family and the host of friends who turned aside to pay tribute by our pastor, Elder Wayne Burlison, Elder Thurman Huckaby, and Elder Alan Abernathy. The windows of heaven opened briefly and it seemed that the angels sang as a group of the Hymnsingers sang comforting songs. The mortician spoke with me after the service and said he never sees loved ones laid to rest with such personal love, sympathy, kindness, and faith as when the Primitive Baptist hold service there… These words were so true at Frankie’s last rites. He was born to the place of rest, his body placed beside his granddaddy, Elder L. R. Huckaby, by his brothers in the church and cousins: Eddie, Lyn, Jimmy, and Alan Huckaby, his boyhood playmate and adopted brother, uncle Bill, and a close friend brother Jimmy right. Honorary pallbearers walking beside the young men were his uncles: J.W., Eugene, Addison Huckaby, Leroy Ivy, George Wall, and brother Tom Wright. Frankie leaves behind to await the call to join that heavenly host, his wife, two daughters, his parents, Frank, and Beatrice Findley, one brother, Stephen, one sister, Patricia, his grandmother, Mrs. Oby Norman, five uncles, three aunts, a host of cousins and friends.
I am enclosing a copy of the tribute to a member from the last issue of “The Tie” written before his passing, which expresses my esteem of him as a member of Carquinez Church.
My heart goes out to Sister and Frank as well as to Karen in this hour of sorrow. May God be their constant companion is my prayer.
In sorrow, Bonita wall, 1550 Park Ave., Napa, CA.
Tribute to a member:
His life in the church has been short yet we know his love for the cause of Christ has been with him since a small child. His knowledge of the Bible and about the church is not limited to the short time of membership with us. For many years his loved ones longed to see him go in discharge of his duty; longed to see him find comfort and strength in the faith once delivered to the Saints. His life for many years has been one of physical suffering, his boyish voice still rings clear as he sang, “Master oh why do the clouds hang low?“
God directed at him to lean on his unchanging love giving him strength for the greatest suffering. He was led into the watering grave by his loving uncle, though his steps were faltering, his faith was strong, his happiness complete, his desire and walk one of the following the path of Christianity. His devotion and service for the church undivided. His life since boyhood being in devotion to his family and in service to his fellow man. His faith still remains unchanging as it seems he is standing on the brink awaiting for his father to say “child come home.”
We bow in humble submission to God, and ask his sustaining grace to continue with our beloved brother… Frankie Findley.
In these days the practice of withdrawing from the presence of man and from the ordinary activities… For the purpose of going alone with God and with his truth, is absolutely necessary. -John R. Mott
Written in loving dedication to the memory of Frank L. Findley Jr.
God caused a flower to grow on earth
It grew in the sunlight of his love,
God watched it grow with tender care,
He took looked down on it from up above
Then testing it for future trials
God caused a blemish to appear,
The flower could not see the world of far
Just dimly saw that which was near.
The flower about it it’s a stately had
It’s sought release from toil and pain,
God gave it strength to stand this test,
God had a plan already lain.
The little flower did then revive,
It was the beauty of this life,
It saw that which natural eye can’t see,
It saw Gods grace, eternity.
God gave it love apart from friend,
Apart for mother, father, kin,
A wife God gave to share the plan,
Two daughters then God grants this man.
Then God looked down from heaven above,
He viewed this flower with Godly love,
He saw completion in this plan
God wanted a gift of this man,
The death Angel was sent to claim his own,
The flower was plucked and wafted home.
Beautiful tribute. Of course, my memories of your Dad always included my Dad. Frankie could yodel and sometimes the volume of it scared me. He played with me, swinging me in his arms like an outdoor swing. His funeral was devistating for us. Daddy and Momma mourned and our house was gloomy for, what seemed to me, months. Thank you and my love continues for you. Terry