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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

Local leader helped Sikeston to prosper

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Frank Ferrell was larger than life. He was a man's man who spent a lifetime devoted to this community. I can't imagine a board or commission on which Frank did not serve. He gave his blood, sweat and tears to the city of Sikeston and to this region for 87 years. Frank died peacefully Sunday.

You would have to go way back to begin the story of Frank Ferrell and what he meant to this community. He was a booster long before there was much to boost. If you wanted to get something done around here, Frank was the first call you made. He'd answer that phone, roll up his sleeves and get to work. More often than not, he'd get it done.

I was blessed in my lifetime to have known and worked with Frank Ferrell on a number of projects for this community. He gave me advice that was never off the mark. And he could spin a yarn about his past that would capture your full attention for hours. In so many ways, Frank's past and the community's were one and the same.

There's a story in today's paper about Frank. But you can't tell the whole story in one newspaper article. You shouldn't even try. To appreciate the true Frank Ferrell you need to ride around town. His footprints are everywhere.

For a community to grow and prosper, you first need leadership. Frank Ferrell was just a natural leader. He used common sense and hard work to succeed. And succeed, he did. If a man is to be judged by his accomplishments, then few could measure up to the record and legacy that Frank Ferrell leaves on this community.

Communities bestow honors on those individuals who have provided the leadership to grow. Every single one of those community honors was given to Frank Ferrell over the years. But it's the story behind the plaques that tells the whole truth.

Frank saw our small community grow and prosper through the years. He championed so many projects that it's impossible to mention them all. Let the record show that Frank Ferrell was the backbone, the spirit and the character that molded our city through many, many years. You can't replace that level of leadership. You can only hope someone comes along to follow in those large footsteps.

I've been in the newspaper business for a number of years. When news of Frank's death started circulating throughout the community Monday morning, our phones began to ring. The calls were from people who wanted to share a Frank Ferrell story. They wanted the community to know just how much he had accomplished. In all of my years in this business, that has never happened.

That alone says much about the man.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen