TOPEKA — Franklin Michael “Frank” Davis, 86, died peacefully at home Tuesday morning, Aug. 23, 2022.
He was born July 10, 1936, in Parsons the son of Lynn Winter and Ruth Frances Hoefling Davis. The family lived in Leavenworth, Ashland, Kentucky, and Tucson, Arizona, where his father died when Frank was 9 years old.
The family returned to Parsons and Frank attended St. Patrick Catholic School and graduated in 1954. He earned an associate’s degree from Parsons Junior College in 1958, a bachelor of sociology from Washburn University in 1970 and a master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Wichita State University in 1976.
Frank worked many jobs beginning with a paper route to help support his mother and sister. He was always proud of purchasing the first TV set on the block; neighbors used to sit on the front porch and watch through the front door. He bought a series of motorcycles and then cars, all of which he drove too fast, often catching the eye of local police and resulting in exciting races through Parsons and the vicinity.
He met Eileen Catherine Matzek in the summer of 1957 while she was working at Richard’s Drive-in at the east end of Parsons. They married one year later on June 21, 1958, in St. Patrick Catholic Church in Chanute. He enlisted in the United States Army Reserve in October of that year and served six months on active duty at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. In June 1959, he began as a security guard at the state office building in Topeka. He and Eileen stayed in Topeka until the present.
After more jobs than his wife can remember, Frank really liked police work and applied to the Topeka Police Department. Hired in May 1962, he began in traffic in the accident investigation unit. Soon he was in the motorcycle group where he and five other officers patrolled the downtown area, gave out parking tickets, ran radar and caught occasional store and bank robbers. He was promoted to detective and with many other local and area law enforcement officers, formed the major case squad working at solving homicides, most of them successfully. He was promoted to lieutenant and later to captain in the Patrol Division, finally to major where he headed up the Detective Division. He concurrently served 25 years in the Army Reserve and six additional years with the 190th in the Kansas Air National Guard. He retired with the rank of master sergeant.
He retired from TPD in 1993 and found that he wasn’t ready for retirement, and neither was his wife ready to have him home 24/7. He joined the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board as its first full-time investigative officer and set up a manual of investigative procedures for his successors. He investigated complaints against social workers and psychologists. He worked there for three years and then he and Eileen worked on learning who was in charge of which areas of their home, yard and pool.
Over the years they managed to adopt eight children, legally foster eight more and took in between 40 and 50 “strays” as Eileen lovingly called them. While this kind of life was Eileen’s idea, he never complained, took them all in, gave them love and fatherly advice, taught them how to fix things, work and treat others fairly and with respect. He was a tough cop, a good father, grandfather and great-grandfather and he loved his wife and family with every fiber of his being.
He was a lifelong Catholic and has been a member of the Sacred Heart-St. Joseph Parish since 1964. He was a life member of the Knights of Columbus Council No. 2608, served as a fourth-degree knight and was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3. Following his career as a mess sergeant, Frank cooked for Sacred Heart’s Germanfest, the Altar Society, Knights of Columbus and Let’s Help. He loved cooking for crowds. He also loved camping, fishing and caring for his pool.
Surviving are his wife of 64 years, Eileen; his sons, Michael Lynn Davis, Curtis Scott and Michael Joseph O’Connell (Sharon Puddington); his daughters, Nancy Adrienne Roberts and Jessica Hensley (Randall Collins); 17 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; his sister, Mary Elizabeth Hyde of Lenexa; nieces and nephews; and a dear cousin, Pat Wilkerson (Neal) of Parsons.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and two sons, Christopher James Davis and Daniel Reed Davis.
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Sacred Heart Church with visitation one hour prior to Mass. Burial will follow at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Topeka.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Sacred Heart-St. Joseph Parish, 227 S.W. Van Buren St., Topeka, KS, 66603.
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