Franklin Holloway Spain Jr.

August 22, 1924April 16, 2018

Franklin Holloway Spain, Jr. was born in Middleburg, NC on August 22, 1924, to Franklin Holloway Spain and Mattie Watkins Spain and passed away on April 16, 2018. He grew up on the family farm during the Depression, milking cows and working in tobacco. He rode his horse Colonel to Middleburg School, where shop classes with Mr. Blum inspired him to become a teacher. He enrolled in NC State High University to major in agricultural sciences. But America’s entry into World War II put those plans on hold.

Frank enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943. He was trained as a bombardier for both B-17s and B-29s, serving as a Second Lieutenant in the 13th and then the 20th, Wings. He never had to use those skills. The War ended just as his crew was to be deployed. He headed back to NC State to resume studies, this time courtesy of the GI Bill, and earned his Bachelor’s in Agricultural Education. While working on his Master’s degree in Agricultural Education, Frank was employed as the university’s Assistant Director of Admissions and Assistant Registrar. He then moved to Gainesville to complete his Doctorate in Education at the University of Florida. His wife Jean typed his dissertation and their new daughter Daphne provided distractions from academic deadlines.

When Kentucky Wesleyan College offered Frank the position of Registrar, he moved his family, which now included Marsha, to Owensboro KY. After six years there, the University of South Florida in Tampa recruited him in 1959 to become their first Director of Admissions and Registrar. He was soon promoted to Director of Community College Relations, where he and his assistant Betty Gillies forged a strong relationship between USF and every community college in the state. Their perseverance over many years resulted in significant growth in students transferring to USF. Both Betty and Frank retired in 1991.

Frank and his second wife Marion moved to Richlands in 1999. After her death, Betty and Frank were reunited. They demonstrated their continuing commitment to USF, and to transfer students, by establishing a scholarship honoring their time at USF. If interested in making a contribution, the family requests donations to the Frank H. Spain and Betty E. Gillies Community College Transfer Scholarship at the University of South Florida.

Frank is pre-deceased by first wife Jean Louise Satterwhite, second wife Marion Beers Godwin and his soul mate, Betty E. Gillies; his parents; and his brothers William and Robert Spain. He is survived by daughters Daphne Spain and Marsha Spain Fuller, Marsha’s husband Jeff, grandsons Jet and his wife Karli, and Steven and his wife Michelle. Frank also had two great-grandsons, Chase and Wes Fuller (Jet & Karli). In addition to his immediate family, he is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews, as well as Betty’s daughters Sharon and Barbara and her son Keith.

The family expresses deep appreciation for Mary, Sommer, Nicole and Bibba, as well as the staff at Autumn Village in Beulaville, who made his last three months welcoming and comforting. A private family memorial service will be held in Middleburg at a later date.


  • Memorial Service

Franklin Holloway Spain Jr.

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Richard Dutton

April 20, 2018

Dr. Frank Spain was a gentleman in every sense of the word . I was proud to call him my friend ! I met frank when i came to the University of South Florida in Tampa in 1963 as a newly minted Assistant Professor in the College of Business Administration .
Frank was the first University Registrar at USF , a very important job for a very young University -- which admitted its first class in the Fall of 1960.
Dr. Spain was always ready to listen to confused students , weary staff and faculty , and even nosy newspaper reporters .

Bless you Frank , USf was a better place because you were there ! Richard E Dutton Ph.D , Professor Emeritus

Becky Dressler

April 19, 2018

Daphne and Marsha,
My parents, the Sopkins, were very good friends of your folks. I believe they met through USF in Tampa. We were all devastated by your mom's death. Both of your parents were wonderful people. My mom died in 2004 and my dad and sister in 2013. My brother Jim is well and we both live in Tampa.
I hope that despite your loss, you have been able to lead happy lives. My sympathy on the death of your father.
Becky Sopkin Dressler

Elaine Finchum

April 18, 2018

Marsha. I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. My thoughts are with you and your whole family.

Sheryl Brown

April 18, 2018

I remember Marsha and Jeff getting the house on New Street ready for the big move to Richlands NC and how excited we were to have new neighbors. Frank was delightful to be around and glad he had some great years living in a great town near his family. We will miss his witty sense of humor. Prayers for all the family.

Sommer Williams

April 17, 2018

I send my deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Frank. He was the sweetest, most kind hearted man. I enjoyed every moment I had with him. He will be greatly missed! My thoughts and prayers to the family.