McGilley Antioch Chapel

3325 Northeast Vivion Road, Kansas City, MO


Frank M. Whitesell

June 4, 1927January 9, 2020

Francis “Frank” Michael Whitesell, a longtime resident of Kansas City, Mo., passed away Jan. 9, 2020, in Columbia, Mo., with family and friends at his side. Frank was 92.

Frank was born in St. Joseph, Mo. to Gertrude (Derks) and David Earl Whitesell. He attended Christian Brothers High School in St. Joseph, graduating as salutatorian of his class in 1945. Frank earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1949 from St. Benedict’s College in Atchison, KS. Frank worked in various accounting positions, including for the Internal Revenue Service in Kansas City. He later was employed at the United States Postal Service in Kansas City, retiring from there in 1987. Frank maintained his own tax preparation service well into his 80s.

Frank met the love of his life, Mary Elizabeth Koppen, in the early 1950s, while both were living in St. Louis. Coincidentally, Mary Elizabeth also was from St. Joseph, and, unbeknownst to Frank, the sister of his friend and classmate William Koppen. Frank and Mary Elizabeth’s first date was at a St. Louis Cardinals’ baseball game. Fittingly, the two remained devoted Cardinal fans throughout their 56 years of marriage.

Sports was just one of Frank’s passions. He also was an avid reader, a history buff, and an aficionado of Big Band music. He and Mary Elizabeth also loved to travel. They traveled by car to nearly every state in the country. As Frank once said, "If God wanted me to fly, he would not have invented the Toyota." Frank was known for his wonderful sense of humor. His quick wit and warm smile brought joy to all those around him. Frank will be deeply missed by his friends, family, and all who knew him. Frank is preceded in death by his wife Mary Elizabeth Whitesell; his parents Gertrude and Earl Whitesell; brother Jim Whitesell; and his mother-in-law Johannah Elizabeth Koppen, who lived with Frank and Mary Elizabeth until her death in 1981. Frank is survived by his daughter Mary Charlotte Whitesell-Doyle of Columbia, Mo.; his sister Emma Jane (Whitesell) Cheesman and her husband William Cheesman of Houston Texas; three grandchildren, Elizabeth Doyle of Roeland Park, Ks.; Joseph Doyle and Molly Ross of Kansas City, Mo; and John Doyle and his wife Mickeala Doyle of Overland Park Ks; special in-laws Carol Koppen and Judith and Jim Whalen, all of Kansas City, Mo.; numerous nieces and nephews from Kansas City, Mo. to Lawrence, Ks., Houston, Tx., Minnesota and Fort Myers, Fla; and many Derks cousins spread across the country.

Frank spent the past six years with his daughter in Columbia, Mo. With the support of his beloved friend and caregiver, Joyce Madsen, he enjoyed eating breakfast each day at a favorite restaurant, making new friends in the community, and, always, searching local stores for St. Joe-made Cherry Mash candy bars.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 17 at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church, 4737 N, Cleveland Ave., Kansas City, Mo. A luncheon will follow at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church or the St. Thomas More Newman Center in Columbia, Mo, and may be left in the care of the McGilley Antioch Chapel, 3325 NE Vivion Road, Kansas City, Mo. 64119.


  • Mary Charlotte Whitesell-Doyle, Daughter
  • Emma Jane (Whitesell) (William) Cheesman, Sister
  • Elizabeth Doyle, Granddaughter
  • Joseph Doyle (Molly Ross), Grandson
  • John ( Mickeala) Doyle, Grandson
  • Carol Koppen, Special in-law
  • Judith and Jim Whalen, Special in-laws
  • Mary Elizabeth Whitesell (Deceased), Wife
  • Gertrude and David Whitesell (Deceased), Parents
  • Jim Whitesell (Deceased), Brother
  • Johannah Koppen (Deceased), Mother-in-law
  • Nieces, nephews, cousins

  • Nicholas Estrada, Pallbearer
  • Steven Whalen, Pallbearer
  • Mark Cheesman, Pallbearer
  • Shawn Cheesman, Pallbearer
  • John Doyle, Pallbearer
  • Joseph Doyle, Pallbearer

  • St. Gabriel's Catholic Church
  • St. Thomas More Newman Center


  • Mass of Christian Burial Friday, January 17, 2020
  • Committal Service Friday, January 17, 2020


Frank M. Whitesell

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