The Obit For Frank Shell

Frank H. Shell

Published in the Lawrence County Times Dispatch on March 21, 2012

Frank H. Shell was born July 6, 1933, in Sage, AR to Harry A. and Myrtle Tomlinson Shell. He died Monday, March 19, in Batesville.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Jean Hanley; a brother, Hoyt Shell; and his first wife, Carolyn Southerland Shell.

He is survived by his wife, Loretta; his children Jay (Cathy) of Batesville, Sarah (Jeff) Teague of El Dorado, Joe (Janelle) of Batesville, Susan (Andy) Allison of Topeka, Kans., Loretta's son, Sam Caery (Lora) of Cabot, and 16 grandchildren. He is also survived by a sister, Sue Chrisco, and sisters-in-law, Margaret Shell, Virginia Henry and Kay Southerland.

Shell was a natural athlete, and earned scholarships in baseball and basketball at the former Arkansas College (now Lyon) and the former State Teachers' College (now UCA). He played on pennant-winning minor league teams every year throughout the South, including the Industrial, Cotton States, Sally (South Atlantic), International and Mexican Leagues, as well as the Southern Association. He collected several championship rings, watches, and MVP awards. He was also selected to play baseball on the elite Black Knights Company team during his service in the Army in Germany, making it to the semifinals of the European G.I. World Series.

While playing baseball, Shell sensed a calling to Christian ministry. He earned Master's Degrees from Ouachita Baptist University and the Southwestern Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He taught and coached baseball at the former Southern Baptist College (now Williams) in Walnut Ridge. He also pastored Southern Baptist churches in Alicia, Walnut Ridge (White Oak and First) and Clinton in Arkansas. He contributed as pastor, associational director and volunteer for several stints in Montana, including tenures in churches in Missoula, Kalispell, Billings and Big Timber.

Shell lived out his strong convictions about mission work, and traveled to several countries to share the Good News. From Australia to Zimbabwe, he preached on every inhabited continent. Shell also set the pace with hard work on missions building projects and had a knack for enlisting friends to participate. He shepherded groups to Colorado, Montana, Indiana and Wyoming, and completed numerous projects at Williams Baptist College, where the baseball field is named for him. From every church he pastored full time, there were members who entered either the mission field or full-time ministry. He continued to preach until last year. He was a member of West Baptist in Batesville.

He presided as Chairman of the Board at Williams during several terms. A Kiwanian for almost 50 years, he served as President in many of the towns where he lived, and was always ready to travel for an Interclub meeting. He served on the Board of the Citizens Bank in Walnut Ridge. He was a 32nd degree Mason and a pilot. He was an avid gardener, planting fruit trees, hardwoods and forsythia at every house he ever owned. He was also an ardent outdoorsman, bagging an eight-point buck by bow as recently as October 2011, for which he received the Nimrod Award. He was known for his energy and enthusiasm, and his keen sense of humor and sharp wit never left him.

Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. today at Roller-Crouch Funeral Home, 510 College Ave. in Batesville.

Funeral services will be 10 a.m. on Thursday at West Baptist Church, 1100 N. Central, with Bro. Adam Hughes officiating. Burial will be at Oaklawn Cemetery by Roller-Crouch Funeral Home.

Pallbearers will be his grandsons. Honorary pallbearers will be James Beavers, Roy Dean Dempsey, Jerol Swaim, Eddie Cox, Jim Kilgore, Bobby Davis, Billy Cox, Gary Edwards and Jim Watkins.

Friends may express thoughts and favorite memories at

Memorials may be made to Williams Baptist College, 60 Fulbright Ave., Walnut Ridge, AR 72476 or Yellowstone Baptist College, 1515 Shiloh Rd. Billings, MT 59106.

The family would like to thank Dr. Bob Walton and Caring Hands Hospice.