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A Farewell to Mayor Frank

First published in part June 11, 2022 by the Morning News and SCNow and reproduced here with permission.

Frank Willis

A life well lived...A life of Service

Always Mayor Frank to me, Frank Willis died quietly June 10, 2022. An unexpected loss for us all. I had just visited him at home four days before.

Frank came into city politics through the business world, a roads contractor, not typical for our established order. But he shone and he rose to the top of our town, getting all of us ready for economic expansion and the growth we all have come to enjoy and expect. He helped to develop our attitude of achievement, our expectation for excellence and particularly the exuberance of our downtown. During most of this time he was also lucky to have the vivacious Marguerite at his side.

I met Mayor Frank through what was called Florence County Progress, him asking me to be his membership recruiter. We became fast friends over the years and even travelled some together. But even on our trips, Frank wanted to talk about Florence: how to develop infrastructure to support the future, how to grow the economy and how to grow opportunity. I miss those thoughtful, reflective and yes, even ambitious, conversations.

We also had some adventures together...the stories his friends could tell!!

Mayor Frank looms large in the history of Florence. He brought us to the Florence we now enjoy - he enabled his successors to thrive.

And so Mayor Frank lives on.....stroll downtown Florence; explore some of our parks, particularly the Veterans Memorial Park; drink our water................................ and appreciate his impact.

Sort of corny, but on one of my last visits, I brought Frank three of his favorite wooden German toothbrushes, just brought back from Germany.

Rest In Peace.

Stephen lmbeau

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