The Rev. Dr. Frank Claiborne

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Rev. Dr. Frank Claiborne, son of Jord M. and Cynthia Jane Williams Claiborne, was born in Nevada, Mo., on Sept. 23, 1925, weighing in at two and three-quarter pounds. He died on Jan. 19, 2014. During Frank's first hours of life, his hands were so small that they could pass through his father's wedding band. During his final hours, his hands were clasped with Idavee, his loving wife of more than 66 years.

Frank graduated from Nevada High School in May of 1943. He enlisted in the United States Navy the following July and was discharged in 1946. After their marriage in 1947, he and Idavee attended Southwest Baptist College in Bolivar, Mo., and later, Frank attended Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark., and Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Kan. Frank was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Southwest Baptist University in 2006.

The Rev. Claiborne, or Brother Frank, as he was known to many people, lived a life of joyful ministry. He first became a pastor in 1948, ordained by Pine Street Baptist Church in Nevada, Mo. Over the years, he helped start more than 48 churches in Missouri and Kansas. Frank and Idavee were missionaries with the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Brother Frank held many titles, including pastor, chaplain, superintendent of missions, director of missions, and church starter strategist. Whether clasped in prayer, reaching out to someone in need, or turning the pages of his treasured bible, the Rev. Dr. Frank Claiborne's hands were those of ministry.

Frank is survived by his wife, Idavee, and their three children, Cynthia Compton and husband, Harold, of Macon, Mo., Paul Claiborne and wife, Shellie, of Macon, Mo., and Tim Claiborne and wife, Liz, of Topeka, Kan.; eight grandchildren, Jonathan Compton and wife, Laura, of St. Charles, Mo., Josh Compton and wife, Laura, of Windsor, Vt., Jordan Compton of Athens, Ohio, Ashlie Meisner and husband, Josh, of Macon, Mo., Abbie Wyman and husband, Zack, of Macon, Mo., Chandlin Claiborne, of Topeka, Kan., Challim Claiborne, of Topeka, Kan., and Adriana Claiborne, of Topeka, Kan.; and nine great-grandchildren, Tyler, Nathan, Carol, Brycen, Adalyn, Brooks, Macie, Libby, and Henry. He is also survived by one sister, Betty Seitz, of Nevada; and several nieces, nephews, and many friends.

Frank is preceded in death by his heavenly granddaughter, Candace Marie Claiborne; one brother, Jord Benton (J.B.) Claiborne; and three sisters, Winifred Watson, Juanita Demaree, and Nancy George.

The Rev. Dr. Frank Claiborne was a character. He had a bright twinkle in his eyes and a bellowing laugh that was contagious. His humor was the kind without a punchline, and yet, it still had punch. Frank was a character, but more importantly, he was a character with character. He was compassionate, thoughtful, and always eager to help.

Brother Frank touched many lives in each community he served, including Appleton City, Mo.; Republic, Mo.; La Plata, Mo.; Springfield, Mo.; Bevier, Mo.; Topeka, Kan.; and northeast Kansas. Together we remember Frank Claiborne as we celebrate the reach of those once tiny hands.

Services for Brother Claiborne will be held at the Bevier Baptist Church, Bevier, Mo., at 3 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 23. Visitation will be from 1 to 2 p.m., Friday, Jan. 24, at Hill and Son Funeral Home, Appleton City, Mo. Military graveside services are provided by U.S. Navy Honor Guard and Appleton City VFW Post No. 11242. Interment will be at 3:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 24, at Newton Burial Park, in Nevada.