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Pathway Memorial Funeral Home
Monday November 29th, 2021
6:00pm - 8:00pm

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Frank Leo Parsons

Frank Leo Parsons, age 79, of Columbia, Missouri, passed away on November 17, 2021, at Rusk Rehab Hospital in Columbia, Missouri, due to complications following a heart attack. Frank was born on March 23, 1942, in Fairfield, Iowa, to Leo H. Parsons and Marguerite Brill Parsons. He grew up in Birmingham, Iowa, graduating from Birmingham High School in 1958. Afterward, Frank attended Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa, for two years before transferring to Northeast Missouri State Teachers College (now Truman State University) in Kirksville, Missouri, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1962 and a master’s degree in 1968, both in physical education.

Frank worked many jobs in his life – small business owner, deputy sheriff, social worker, salesman, cattle farmer, sports radio commentator – but the job that defined him was basketball coach. He coached in many small schools throughout Missouri and Iowa, with Fox Valley and Newburg perhaps being the most memorable. Wherever he coached, he loved his players like his sons, and although he had four children of his own, he was a second father (sometimes closer to a first) to so many more.

Frank was known for his quick wit and one-liners. He had an amazing ability to retain random facts and historical knowledge, making him a formidable force at his favorite game, Jeopardy! In fact, Frank was quite good at all board and card games, garnering a reputation in his family as the one to beat. If there's one thing Frank's children agreed on, it was that games were way more fun when their dad played.

Frank will also be leaving behind many close friends. Unlike many people whose circles shrink with age, Frank’s was ever-expanding. Despite being near 80, he had good friends from every decade, and it was a running joke that wherever he went, he always ran into someone he knew. Even in his last year of life, he became friends and golf buddies with an international film director (who got him to try sushi and kimchee) and had a traditional Ugandan meal with close family friends in Denton, Texas. Late-era Frank had budding international tastes.

Frank was by no means a perfect man. He would be the first to admit that. He was cantankerous, stubborn, and would tell you what he thought whether you wanted to hear it or not. He made his mistakes. But if Frank loved you, he loved you. (And he loved a lot of people but especially his grandchildren.) Rest assured, he would still tell you what he thought and talk a fair bit of trash (especially when golfing or playing cards or other games). But if you were one of his, he would stand up for you, he would stand by you, and he would go to the mat for you, regardless of the cost to himself. He was absolutely uncompromising. He will be missed.

He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother-in-law, Jerry Hill.

Frank is survived by Patricia Parsons with whom he shared a 45-year marriage; his children, Eric Parsons and wife Sarah, of Columbia, Missouri; Tammy Larson and husband Jay, of Show Low, Arizona; Alison Wilson and husband James, of Oskaloosa, Iowa; and Kendra Breitsprecher (from a former marriage) and husband Dean, of Dayton, Iowa; his grandchildren, Connor, Oliver, and Eleanor Parsons, of Columbia, Missouri; Gracie, Winny, Ruby, and Felix Larson, of Show Low, Arizona; Lola Wilson, of Oskaloosa, Iowa; Cody and Patrick Breitsprecher, of Dayton, Iowa; and Josie Shelton and wife Emma, of Spring Hill, Kansas; Frank’s sister, Shirley Hill, of Albia, Iowa; numerous nieces and nephews; and many others whom he considered his own, including Joe Noblitt, of Mission, Kansas, who lived with Frank and his family throughout much of his high school career and was certainly Frank’s second son; Schuyler Black, of Des Moines, Iowa; Charles Besick, of Cedar, Iowa; Chris Birkenmaier, of Blue Springs, Missouri; and Tony Glass, of Jupiter, Florida (as well as plenty more too numerous to list).

Visitation will be held Monday, November 29, 2021 from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm, at Pathway Memorial Funeral Home in Moberly, Missouri. If desired, donations may be sent to Van Buren County Community School District Athletics, 807 1st Street, PO Box 220, Keosauqua, Iowa 52565, in Frank’s memory.

Condolences may be shared online at pathwaymemorial.com.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Frank Parsons, please visit our flower store.


Frank was a big part of our golf group at Hail Ridge. His quick wit and knowledge of life was very amusing. His love of the Cardinals was the same as mine. I will try and manage them in your absence. Rest in Peace good friend

Frank Rezabek Nov 29 2021 8:34 PM

I met Frank about 5 years ago when his son Eric, a friend and coworker, invited me to attend one of the annual golf retreats at the Lake organized by Frank and members of high school basketball teams he coached. I got to see Coach "in charge" and enjoying cards and golf, complete with good-natured ribbing and trash talk. I met several good men, ate extremely well, had some good hands of Hearts, and played some really bad golf. That was my first experience seeing "coach" in action.

Frank made sure I was invited to later gatherings (and I attended at least 2 more) and we became close after he moved to Columbia to live with Eric and Sarah and the boys. We became golfing buddies and he took me to several area courses to play (i.e., to give and get some continuing lessons). We spent hours on the course and in the car and cart talking about life and living, golf and other sports, and the people that we encountered over the years. And, while I never carded a score lower than his when we played golf, he never stopped coaching and encouraging me. I'm better at golf and a better person thanks to Frank's influence and kindness. I will miss our days together, but he will always be in my heart. Thanks Coach.

To Eric and family, thank you for the home and love you provided Frank here in Columbia. I would not have known him as I do if you hadn't made a place for him. My sincere condolences for your loss.


Mark Ehlert Nov 29 2021 5:46 PM

I got to know Frank while playing Senior League golf at Cedar Creek in Ottumwa. What an experience! The ultimate competitor. One day he asked me if I would be willing to go with him to a high school football game where he was going to broadcast the action on radio for the Van Buren Co. team. Having no reason to deny the request I said 'sure'! He didn't mention that he was intending to put a headset on me and ask me to participate in the broadcast! Long story short, I tried to contribute to the evening by making a few hopefully appropriate comments. Late in the game , with the Warriors on the verge of victory, I said 'you know what Dandy Don Meredith would do at this point. He'd start singing, "Turn out the lights, the party's over." Well, from that point on I was dubbed Dandy Don Andersen. I went on to be Frank's sidekick in football, basketball and baseball broadcasts. What a guy.

My condolences to the family.

Don Andersen Nov 29 2021 1:10 PM

Thank You Coach for the lessons you taught me.

Kenny Sidwell Nov 27 2021 10:42 AM

One year with Coach changed the course of my life and led to all the success I've been blessed with. The leadership, team first mentality and how to be a winner has touched the hundreds of United States Air Force personnel I was privileged to lead. As one of his players, my favorite quote is "All I want you to do is shoot Beas!" I agreed.

Dave Beasley Nov 23 2021 9:54 PM

A candle was lit in memory of Frank Parsons

Steve and Sandy Hainline Nov 23 2021 4:29 PM

Always enjoyed Coach's quick wit and his advice on the basketball court. Admired him and his love for the game and his students. A great man! My sincere condolences to his family.

Stephanie Day Nov 23 2021 3:55 PM

Love the mention of his quick wit! I was always the blunt of one of his many blonde jokes (which I didn't mind at all.) Although some may of not always appreciated his stubbornness and willingness to give an opinion. You also had to admire the fact that he had no problem giving it. :) I always found a sense of comfort around him and enjoyed my time with him as one of his students. My love to his family and all those that loved him.
Forever know by Parsons as Traci Joyce!

Traci Wiegand Nov 23 2021 1:45 PM

So sorry for your loss. He was a great guy and will be missed and remembered by many.

Linda Gittins Nov 23 2021 1:04 PM

So sorry for your loss. I have Lots of great memories of my time spent with Coach on basketball courts, baseball diamonds and in his pool hall in Milton. He was definitely one of a kind.

Rob Oliver Nov 23 2021 12:27 PM

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