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Mrs.  Norma  Jean Frank

Obituary for Mrs. Norma Jean Frank

December 21, 1929 - September 13, 2018
Murray, Kentucky | Age 88


Mrs. Norma Jean Davidson Frank, 88, a 1951 graduate of Murray State College, died quietly and peacefully on Thursday, September 13, 2018 at Oakview Nursing and Rehab in Calvert City, Kentucky. Her husband, Dr. James Howard Frank, a longtime MSU professor, predeceased her in 2015.

Mrs. Frank made a career as a teacher of health and physical education at Murray City Elementary Schools (Carter and Robertson) after beginning her professional life as a high school teacher in Clay, Illinois then at Morehouse High School in Missouri, also at Ballard Memorial High School in La Center, Kentucky and Camden Central High School in Camden, Tennessee, where she also coached the girls' basketball team.

She was born in Camden, TN on December 21, 1929 to John Shirley and Grace Smothers Davidson. Norma also lettered in basketball at Camden High School where she graduated in 1947. It was at that time that a teacher nicknamed her "Squirmy," a moniker that stuck throughout her life.

After one year at Lambuth College in Jackson, TN, Norma transferred to Murray State College in 1948 and graduated in 1951. She was a member of the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, the Women's Athletic Association, Physical Education Club and editor of the 1951 yearbook, the Shield. She also served as a Murray State cheerleader, while her future husband played on the basketball team. Norma's uniform is on permanent display in the Wrather Museum on MSU campus.

Norma's lifelong friend, Billie Jean "Toni" Thompson McDonald, also of Camden, introduced her to her husband of 63 years at the Lakeshore Tennessee Methodist Camp, where she was a lifeguard and Jim was a counselor. Norma and Jim were married December 26, 1951 in Camden, TN while he was on leave from the Air Force.

The Franks were members of the First United Methodist Church of Murray for over 50 years, where they attended Sunday school and she was part of the Ruth Wilson Women's Circle. Norma was a member of the Murray Women's Club and served in the Sigma and Zeta departments. They both were longtime members of the Murray Country Club, as you could see them on the golf course or tennis courts on any given day.

Throughout their lives, the Franks remained active community and MSU supporters, frequently seen at sporting and many campus events, and often traveling with close friends to away games.

Norma leaves a daughter, Jamie Frank Bittel and her husband Joe of Utica, KY, and son, David Frank and his wife Marjorie of Tarrytown, NY.

Keeping their "Mimi's" laughter alive are her granddaughters, Lauren Bittel Payne, husband Chris of Owensboro, KY, and Lynnsie Bittel Fulkerson and husband Jeremy of Calhoun, KY, and Charlotte Grace Frank of Oak Island, NC.
Sharing Norma's love of Dairy Queen blizzards are her three great-grandchildren, Carly Grace Payne, Laken Ellis Payne and Shelby Lynn Fulkerson.

Visitation is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at J.H. Churchill Funeral Home in Murray, KY. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 1 p.m. at the funeral home with Dr. Rick Dye officiating. Burial will be at the Barlow City Cemetery in Barlow, KY following the service.

Online condolences may be left at,

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to MSU Athletics in memory of Dr. Jim and Norma Frank at The Office of Development c/o MSU Racer Club, 200 Heritage Hall, Murray, KY, 42071.

The J.H. Churchill Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Recommended Local Florist

Suggested Memorial Donations

  • MSU Athletics, In Memory of Dr. Jim and Norma Frank
    Office of Development , c/o MSU Racer Club, 200 Heritage Hall
    Murray, KY 42071

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Arrangements By

J. H. Churchill Funeral Home

201 S. 3rd Street
Murray, KY 42071
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