E. Frank McGee
December 17, 1948 – May 7, 2018
Frank McGee, age 69, of Hixson, passed away on Monday, May 7, 2018. Frank McGee, a bonafide virtuoso who at one time was considered among the best bass guitarists in the Southeastern United States yet was so humble he rarely talked about gigs with Ike and Tina Turner, Chubby Checker, Ray Price, B.J. Thomas or Kenny Rogers, had his prayer answered early Monday. Just moments after Susie and his two beloved daughters whispered in his ear, “Dear God, please make me a bird so that I can fly far, far away,” his dauntless soul slipped through a purposefully open window. Frank, who when he graduated from East Ridge High in 1967 could already peel off a riff on a Gibson beyond compare, soon played with the greatest bands and the biggest headliners of the day. Always the faceless magician behind such stars as Archie Bell and the Drells, the Platters, the Drifters, Wayne Cochran and C.C. Ryder, Frank was once described as “that white cat whose chords could put you in the Top 20 on a juke box.” At the time of his death, he was the president and owner of General Sheet Metal and Mechanical Services in Hixson. That was where once there came the sweltering day that he got word of an elderly lady whose air conditioning was out. She had no money. Vowing to be back in 45 minutes, it was two hours before he returned, soaked in sweat. When asked what took so long, Frank’s answer was succinct. “Her grass needed cutting,” and not another word needed to be said. It was vintage McGee … and this kind of thing happened every day. The real Frank? He was harder than a South African diamond but softer than melted ice cream. After years on the road and playing in both a tuxedo and overalls, he could read a face in less than five minutes and not only know what to say, but exactly how to say it. To him life was a song and, brother, ‘the real McGee’ knew the all lyrics by rote. His life was lovable mixture of Don Quixote, Mother Theresa, and the best of any raconteur/rascal you ever saw. Frank was a man for the ages, and his gifted hands with that Gibson – every bit as good as Jackie Wilson once claimed -- were no match for his unique ability to listen more than he talked to any of his thousands of friends. Oh sure. There were tough days but Frank knew to treat his own bouts of depression the way out was to do something for others. It never failed him. When he was confronted with another’s tale of woe, he would patiently listen before a smile flirted on his lips and he would give his trademark line, “They can’t kill you and eat you in the same day.” Just the day before he died, it was said of him, “He’s the brother I never had.” What you do not know … is how many hundreds said it, yes, on just the day before he died. Frank, the son of Paul McGee and Joyce Casey, is survived by two daughters, Hailey Shea McGee, and Paige McGee (Samuel) Coppage, whose mother is Paula Reagan. Other survivors are his dearest friend for over 40 years, the talented singer and now incomparable “nurse” Susie Wiggin of Nashville, and – of course – his ever-faithful Doberman, the legendary Rose. He doted over his Godson, Myles Heckaman, and in lieu of mentioning other friends, his daughters decided to save some 5,000-acre forest in newsprint. “Daddy knew who they were, so do they.” A funeral service will be held at St. Alban's Episcopal Church at 7514 Hixson Pike at 2:30 p.m. this Thursday with Rev. Robert Hartmans and Rev. Dr. Bill McGee officiating. Courtney Daly will honor Frank’s memory in song and the family will greet friends one hour prior to the service. A celebration of Frank’s life, replete with countless stories and memories so vivid they will never fade, will be held after the church service at the 19th Hole, an establishment where Frank’s laughter and companionship has been long established. It is located at 6807 Middle Valley Road. Those wanting to remember Frank are invited to make donations to any organization they believe is as right and good and as solid as Frank was, and it should never be forgotten that once a year Frank would play in a benefit with the glorious E. G. Kite for Orange Grove – and the two had a pact neither would ever be paid a dime for those nights. Finally, know this: Frank McGee leaves a mark that other men can only envy. Arrangements are by the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory and Florist, 5401 Highway 153, Hixson, TN 37343.
- Greeting of friends Thursday, May 10, 2018
- Greeting of Friends Thursday, May 10, 2018
- Funeral Service Thursday, May 10, 2018
- Services Thursday, May 10, 2018
E. Frank McGee
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May 13, 2018
I grew up across the street (_Norma Drive) from Frank & spent hours sitting. & listening to band practice or holding wrenches while the guys worked on cars. Frank was the brother I never had. I saw him last in the 80's when I was in Chattanooga for a funeral. He was playing with his band & recognized me immediately. That was Frank.
I am really sorry to hear of his death, but I know he's soaring
& playing in that heavenly band.
Sincere condolences to his family.
May 11, 2018
WHAT A CHARISMATIC GUY, TERRIFIC SMILE AND ALL AROUND UNBELEIVEABLE UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL. I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU. MAY GOD BE WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY .
May 11, 2018
Hallie, I so sorry to hear about Frank , he will be missed.
May 9, 2018
Frank was the first bass player I met when I moved to Chattanooga from Rockford, Illinois in summer of '72. He was playing with the 10 piece horn band South Bend at The Castaways/Lion's Den. A Groovemaster Frank was! He allowed me to sit in with the band, and when he took the bass position with Stamp of Approval in the Castaways, I replaced him at The Lion's Den. I credit Frank with my jumpstart with one of best bands in The Southeast, and will be forever grateful to him. Rest in Peace my friend. John Furland, Nashville, Tennessee.
May 9, 2018
Frank and his crew, including Mouse, installed our heat and air system around 1996 and it is still running strong! (if I didn't just jinx it!) He came to T-Bones one night when our band Skydog was playing. After a playing set which I thought went pretty well, Pete Mast and I came over to Frank to say Hi. Franks first words were, "Shadow, you have got to be Chattanooga's best mediocre guitar player by far!!!" Pete and I cracked up laughing in tears!!! That was the Frank McGee the we knew and loved!!! I hope and pray we get to meet up and pick some in your Heavenly Home!!! God Bless you and your family always!!! Love Ya my brother, Shadow Winterbauer