H.M. Patterson & Son-Spring Hill Chapel

1020 Spring Street Nw, Atlanta, GA


Francis "Frank" Greenfield Lankford III

September 26, 1941November 20, 2019

Francis Greenfield Lankford III 1941-2019

Frank Lankford peacefully passed away at home with his family by his side on November 19, 2019 after a short illness. He was 78 years old.

Frank was born on September 26, 1941 to Dr. Francis G. and Florence Fleet Lankford Jr. in Charlottesville, Virginia where he enjoyed an idyllic childhood growing up on Winston Road. Being the bat boy for the UVA baseball team was one of his fondest memories and foreshadowed his lifelong passion for that sport and many others.

He was captain of the baseball team at Woodbury Forest School and the leading scorer on the soccer team. In 1964, he graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where he played soccer and was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon and the Order of Gimghoul. He continued to be a passionate Tarheel and closely followed UNC teams throughout his life.

Frank was commissioned in the U.S. Navy as an ensign and served as a deck officer on the USS Aldeberon, servicing troops in the Mediterranean during the Vietnam War. Following his honorable discharge as a lieutenant, he moved to Atlanta and became an account executive with the brokerage firm, Goodbody & Co.—where he met his wife, Diane Stephenson—and later began a career in industrial real estate.

A natural athlete, Frank loved and played all sports—golf, squash, tennis, basketball, and baseball—and lovingly shared his knowledge, ability and support with his two children, Frank and Catherine. He was a beloved fixture and fan at the Buckhead Baseball dugout and courtside at Peachtree Road Methodist Church as he coached their teams—and later his grandsons. Most recently, Frank became an avid and skilled pickleball player, making new friends sharing that sport which he continued to play right up until his diagnosis. He won a world championship medal in the over-75 Pickleball Championships.

Frank’s favorite role in recent years was as “Popsy” and he enthusiastically shared his UNC DNA with his cherished six grandchildren. He was a constant presence at their many sporting events. At the beginning of each athletic season, he would map out all of their games and attend as many as possible: Tophat Soccer, Buckhead Baseball, flag football, lacrosse, swimming and ballet performances. He developed deep and enduring friendships with the many players, coaches, parents and grandparents that he met through these numerous sporting endeavors.

Frank made loyal, life-long friends at Woodbury and UNC; a cohort of five shared over 57 years of friendship. Among all who knew him, he was known to be genuine and lowkey but quick-witted, fun and good company. His dry sense of humor and sly wit were intact until the end as he offered, still with a twinkle in his eye, memorable one-liners to friends who visited.

He is survived by his wife, Diane, of 49 years, and their children: Frank Lankford IV, his wife, Jacquelyn, and their four children—Coulter, Griffin, Samantha, MacLaine; and Catherine Lundstrom, her husband, Bill, and their two children—Elizabeth and William. His brother William Lankford Charlottesville, VA also survives him.

A memorial service honoring Frank will be held Wednesday, December 4 at 1 pm at Northside Methodist Church, 2799 Northside Drive, NW. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to Johns Hopkins University for Early Detection Research for Pancreatic Cancer, Attn: Ralph H. Hruban, MD, 600 N. Wolfe Street, Carnegie 417, Baltimore, MD 21287.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Francis "Frank" Greenfield Lankford III

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Lucy aldridge

December 3, 2019

Too many wonderful memories to focus on one. Allison Dr was our neighborhood! W hat a memorable time we shared! We won’t forget; we can’t forget, you Frank,your family or our fun!🥰🦋