Frank Earnest, Jr.

Published 6:10 pm Monday, February 11, 2019

Frank Earnest, Jr. passed away on Sunday, February 10, 2019 in Montgomery  at the age of 90.  He was a resident of Selma  for 63 years before moving to Montgomery in 2015.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Bertha Dean Best Earnest; parents, Frank and Dora Ann Johnston Earnest of Fayette County and brothers, Girdley T. Earnest and Cecil K. Earnest, both residents of Fayette County.

Frank is survived by his children, Gerry Blake Earnest (Jan) of Montgomery, Clinton Frank Earnest (Nancy) of Smyrna, Georgia and Dayle E. Munn (Earl) of Stockbridge, Georgia; grandchildren, Sheridan Brian Earnest (Jenifer), Ashley Lowe Brock (Jeff) of Evergreen and Joshua Andrew Gunning of Jacksonville and eight great-grandchildren.

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He was born March 9, 1928 in Fayette County.  After graduating from Berry High School in 1946 he earned his undergraduate degree from Florence State College (now UNA). He went on to receive a Masters Degree in Education Administration from the University of Alabama with additional graduate studies and Alabama and Columbia University.  He was a member of Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Delta Kappa, leadership and academic fraternities.

On December 15, 1946, while working as a railroad telegrapher in Oakman, AL, he married Bertha Dean Best, his high school sweetheart.  Shortly thereafter, due to a shortage of teachers as a result of WWII, he was granted a war emergency teacher’s certificate and began teaching at the elementary school level at the age of nineteen.  He was hired as a teacher and principal of Brandon Junior High School in rural Tuscaloosa County in 1951.  He moved his family to Selma, AL in 1952 where he became the inaugural Assistant Superintendent for the Dallas County Board of Education.  He was hired as Superintendent by the board in 1963, retiring in that same capacity in 1988.  During his tenure he served in leadership positions for numerous state educational associations and committees, including President of the Alabama Association of School Administrators.

As an active and dedicated member of Elkdale Baptist Church, he served on the board of deacons, eventually being voted Deacon Emeritus.  He served on and chaired many committees over the years and taught a men’s Sunday school class for over fifty years.  He served the community through membership and leadership positions with the Selma Lions Club, Selma Rotary Club and numerous boards, both state and local. 

He was an avid golfer, a lover of college football and basketball and was quite passionate about his beloved Crimson Tide. The family will receive visitors on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at Elkdale Baptist Church at 1 p.m. with a service in the sanctuary at  2 p.m.  A private family burial will take place at New Live Oak Cemetery in Selma  with Selma Funeral Home directing.

Family and friends will serve as pallbearers. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to Elkdale Baptist Church, Alzheimer’s Association or your preferred charity. The family would like to thank the following facilities:  Cedar Hill Assisted Living in Selma, John Knox Manor in Montgomery  and Jackson Hospital for their care and dedication over the past several years.