Date of death: 12/28/2020
Saint Meinrad Class: O 1949
Francis Bernard Moll passed away December 28, 2020 in Brown County, Indiana. He is survived by his children, Anna Altair (Carolyn Moll) of Anchorage, Alaska; Francis Bernard Moll, Jr. (Bernie) of Mt. Vernon, Indiana; Mary Helen (Moll) Daniels (Nonie, husband Bill), and Thomas Robert Moll (Tommy), all of Nashville, Indiana; and his stepson, Steve Laswell (Pam) of Evansville, Indiana. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Travis Moll (Shawnette) of Lutz, Florida; Dani (Moll) Weaver (Guy) of Mt. Vernon, Indiana; Helen (Moll) Anes (Jon) of North Bend, Washington; Lisha Antiqua of Wasilla, Alaska; Stephanie (Moll) Dockery (Chad) of Plainfield, Indiana; Ellie (Moll) Rose (Mark) of Fishers, Indiana; Alix (Moll) Grimm (Bobby) of Indianapolis, Indiana; Brice Moll (Lindsey) of Thompson’s Station, Tennessee; Francis Bernard Moll, III (Frank, wife Margaret) of Tetonia, Idaho; Allan Moll of Ooltewah, Tennessee; and honorary granddaughter Lorri (Ashby) Morris (Doug) of Greer, South Carolina. He is also survived by 17 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jacob John and Anna (Kuhn) Moll of Mt. Vernon, Indiana; his first wife and mother of his children, Minnie (Phillips, Moll) Schlindwein, of Fort Myers Beach, Florida; his second wife, Rosemarie (Woehler, Laswell) Moll, of Mt. Vernon, Indiana; his son Donald P. Moll (Donnie) of Centralia, Illinois; and his eight siblings, Bob, Gen Pledger, Bill, Martha Ann Fitsimmons, Jake, Helen White, Ed, and Jim.
Frank was born in Mt. Vernon, Indiana on March 28, 1924 to J.J. and Anna Moll, the seventh of nine children. When he was five years old, he joined his siblings at work at the family business, Moll’s Warehouse. There, while his siblings took on manual labor tasks, he witnessed the day-to-day operations and even began taking on responsibilities including answering phones. This sparked in Frank an entrepreneurial spirit; he later got a paper route, and consequently hated snow for the rest of his life. Even in his final weeks, he spoke with dread about snow and bristled when it started to fall.
When he was in high school, he saw a gas station in town that had been for sale for months. After much persuasion, the owner agreed to sell it to the then-17-year-old under the condition that his father cosigned with him. Frank took the responsibility of business ownership seriously, and, since he had no client base to start, he simply got out a phone book, and, starting with the As, called every number in town, inviting each family individually to come fill up at his gas station. This kind of personalized client relationship was a distinguishing feature of his character; it was the same way he interacted with his clients years later, when he sold cars. He was a natural networker; he sent several postcards daily to people throughout his entire adult life, sustaining relationships for decades.
Merely a year after this fortuitous purchase, Frank had graduated from Mt. Vernon High School. In 1942 when he was 18, Frank sold his gas station and went to make wings for airplanes in the erstwhile Sterling Brewery in Evansville to be part of the war effort. A few months later, he joined the Army Air Corps (Air Force). During World War II, he was a tail gunner on a B17 bomber in the 385th Bombardment Group flying out of Great Ashfield, England. He took part in 22 missions, and ultimately, he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroic action taken during a mission over Muenster, Germany.
While in the service, he was in Miami for a time, and he went swimming on Christmas Day. It was a formative experience that made him want to spend all his winters in Florida, and, indeed, he wintered in his beloved Fort Myers Beach for 50 years.
Through a friend, Frank was introduced to Minnie Phillips of Seaford, Delaware, to whom he would be married for 34 years and with whom he would share five children. He took his new wife back to his hometown of Mt. Vernon, where he also returned to his calling as an entrepreneur, opening an automobile dealership where he sold Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Buick, and GMC trucks. He owned and operated Frank Moll Motors in Mt. Vernon for 42 years.
Frank served his community with dedication and enthusiasm. He refereed boys’ high school basketball twice a week for 21 years with his dear friend and high school classmate Malvern Redman. He was, for decades, involved in local activities and clubs, including Western Hills Country Club, Kiwanis Club, and The Moose. For his entire adult life, he and his brother Bill played as bridge partners twice a week at the Elks Club. For many years, he served on the boards of Posey County National Bank (now Fifth Third Bank) and ARC of Posey County (now Horizon Industries). He was proud to be a Life Member of Owen Dunn Post 5 American Legion, and he served on the Honor Guard.
Frank was a man about town who forged connections wherever he went. As an avid golfer, Frank sometimes played 45 holes in a single day, just to prove he could do it. He scored two holes-in-one in his lifetime, and moved his family to live on the edge of the ninth green. He loved playing cards (in addition to bridge, he particularly enjoyed gin rummy) and Wii bowling with his son Tommy.
He loved traveling and adventure; he once took Minnie, who was pregnant at the time, and their four children to the West Coast in a 98 Olds. He took fishing trips to Minnesota with friends for 35 consecutive years. And he took one memorable trip to Alaska with his friend and neighbor, Dr. Jerry Dunigan, where a bear displaced their campsite in the middle of the night.
Since 2019, he has lived in Brown County, Indiana, near his children Nonie and Tommy. Frank’s life was full of adventure, fun, and believe-it-or-not stories, and his daring spirit will be deeply missed by those who knew him.