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August 9, 1944 ~ September 29, 2023 (age 79) 79 Years Old
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Stephen R. Frank 79 of Fisher IL passed away peacefully at home on September 29, 2023 with his family. Born to Harvey and Jane (Korshak) Frank along with his younger sister Wendy Frank (Edmonds) Powell. He married Linda S. (Cohen) Frank in 1966 and with her had two daughters Deborah Frank Feinen (Chuck) and Reagen Lee Bradbury (Adam). He found his life partner Jill Dyson Frank becoming step-Dad to Brooke (Niles) Brusky (Noah) and after a long life together Steve and Jill finally made it official in 2013 when they married.
Ever proud of his military service he attended the Transportation Officer’s Candidate School at Fort Eustis Virginia and was discharged as a First Lieutenant in the Army after serving in Germany during the Vietnam war. In May of 2017 Steve and Jill attended the 50-year reunion of his OCS Class 14-67 where he reconnected with his classmates. Prior to enlisting, Steve attended Northern Illinois University in Dekalb and after his service he attended the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign-Urbana remaining in the area after graduating and making Champaign his home.
Steve was a well-respected lawyer. He deeply believed that everyone is innocent until found guilty and that everyone deserves a fair trial. Thus, upon passing the bar, he became a part time Public Defender where he could make an impact on the system while also beginning to build a private practice at Cramer and Frank. In 1975 he started the firm that eventually became Johnson, Frank, Frederick & Walsh. His legal work included a death penalty case and serving hundreds of loyal clients providing excellent advice and counsel. He also served on the Champaign County Bar Association Board of Governors.
Steve loved to travel and during his time in the military covered much of Europe. Later he traveled to the Former Soviet Union, Egypt, and Asia taking many photographs along the way. Steve and Jill traveled the United States together cherishing their time on the coast of Maine and their cross-country trips to Mount Vernon, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Alaska. A Member of the Pollywog Association, Steve also loved to fish and took many fishing trips with his friends to Canada.
There is no doubt that the highlight of his life, other than the many dogs that he owned, was his grandchildren. In order of appearance: Karlee Feinen, Henry Bradbury, Braxton Brusky, Cate Feinen, MaryJane Bradbury, Mallory Brusky, and Samuel Bradbury. He loved to tease, spoil, and teach them, hosting family cookouts with wild squirt gun fights and outrageous Christmas/Festivus celebrations where all their wishes were granted with the help of his favorite elf Jill.
As the grandkids got older Steve, ever the teacher, quizzed them on history and worked to instill his lawyer debate skills in the next generation (which would be 5th generation lawyers) always playing the devil’s advocate arguing with them on current events issues. He even took Braxton, dressed like him and carrying his own closing folder to a real estate closing. Steve avidly followed the kids’ sporting interests, attending in person, and watching online if he couldn’t be there while regularly emailing for updates during the event. And, although it wasn’t always his thing, he attended musicals, marching band performances, and ballet shows as well, all to support his grandchildren whom he loved dearly. Perhaps his favorite way to pass the time with the kids when they were little, other than teasing them or teaching them to fish was “playing trains” showing them how to run his vast collection of Lionel, H.O., and N gage trains and instilling in them a love for trains that he had since he was a child.
The family would like to thank the caring group of nurses and CNA’s who helped care for Steve and make him more comfortable at home. A memorial reception will be held on October 15, 2023, from 1:30-3:30 at Farren’s in Downtown Champaign. The family invites you to come as you are or in your ripped jeans and favorite baseball cap to share your memories of Steve a loving husband, dad, grandfather, lawyer, and farmer.
Memorial Contributions may be made to the Midwest Beagle Rescue (BREW) P.O. Box 498, Wadsworth, IL 60083.