Harold Lawrence Frankel

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Harold Lawrence Frankel

Birthdate: (84)
Birthplace: Peoria, IL, USA
Death: February 18, 2002 (84)
Hollywood, FL, USA (Dimentia)
Place of Burial: Huntington, Cabell, West Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Abe H Frankel and Tillie Segal Frankel
Husband of Dodi Frankel
Father of Linda Eve Frankel; Alan Hill Frankel and Jeffrey Jay Frankel
Brother of Vivian Seplowitz and Lloyd Richard Frankel

Occupation: Merchant, Hotelier/Innkeeper, Mayor, Sheriff
Managed by: Hatte Blejer
Last Updated:

About Harold Lawrence Frankel


HAROLD L. FRANKEL, a major business and civic leader, who served as Mayor of Huntington for four terms, Sheriff and Treasurer of Cabell County for one term, and on Huntington City Council for 16 years, died Monday, February 18, 2002, at a hospital near his home in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

Frankel, one of Huntington's leading citizens and a member of a pioneer family, was born October 25, 1916, in Peoria, Ill., a son of the late Abe Harold and Tillie Segal Frankel. He moved to Huntington at the age of three, when his father came from Illinois to open Frankel's Credit Clothing store at 1033 Third Avenue. Frankel took over the operation of the store in 1938, and opened a successful appliance business next door, until he built his eleven story highrise Downtown Holiday Inn at the same address forty years later. Frankel and his wife, Dodi, acted as a team throughout their married life and personally oversaw and operated every detail of each business in which they were involved. Together, they became Innkeepers of the Route 60 Holiday Inn in 1965, and built it into a successful business as well as the Makiki Supper Club. His second Holiday Inn, built in 1975 with its Club Pompeii, known for its "erupting" two story high volcano, was a bold effort to reinvigorate downtown Huntington out of his faith in the future of the city.

Frankel was elected Mayor of Huntington for four terms - in 1957 to 1958, 1958 to 1959, 1974 to 1975, and 1977 to 1978. The city achieved one of its greatest honors in 1958 when Frankel, in behalf of the City, crowned ten years of effort by civic leaders by accepting at a large celebratory banquet in a downtown hotel, the award of Huntington as one of the Look Magazine-National Municipal League All-American Cities. President Dwight D. Eisenhower stated in a congratulatory wire to Mayor Frankel that "this award brings new honor to your community and recognizes those standards of citizenship which make our country strong." In between his first two terms as Mayor, he was elected Sheriff and Treasurer of Cabell County and served from 1961 through 1964.

He was colorful and relished the ceremonial aspect the job and saw it as a way to promote Huntington. The city often watched him on television or in the news presenting keys to the city and shepherding around town such luminaries as Vice President Richard Nixon, then Governor Nelson Rockefeller, and Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs and Six-Day War hero Moshe Dayan. At the end of his second term, the Huntington Advertiser lauded his "promotional flair" and his "enthusiasm and vigor that added color to the drab business of government." An editorial recalled that Governor Tom McCall of Oregon "will probably not soon forget his tour of Huntington - complete with motorcycle escort, shrieking sirens, and a special recording of the Oregon state song playing on the tape deck of Frankel's white Lincoln Continental convertible." When television star Lawrence Welk arrived at his hotel for a visit, the mayor arranged for the band leader's waltzes to be playing at the entry with hostesses blowing bubbles to welcome him. Welk was so pleased he took the first lady for a twirl.

Frankel was also a man of action. Once, when driving along a street bordering the raging waters of a flooded Four Pole Creek, the mayor heard a bystander cry out for help and noticed a seven-year-old boy floundering in the water. He jumped out of his car and after telling a house wife to summon help, he dove into the water and a block later, a Dr. Leo McChristian, who happened to be passing by, also leaped in and the three of them were swept two blocks downstream by the swift current before they could pull the boy ashore. The mayor applied artificial respiration while the doctor treated him until the firemen arrived with oxygen to rush the boy to the hospital where he was treated for shock and forehead lacerations and eventually fully recovered. Another time, three Huntington boys, all under eleven-years-old, disappeared and after a 22-hour search, Sheriff Frankel acted on a hunch and opened the large refrigerator door in the school cafeteria. One of the boys was still alive and fell into the Sheriff's arms gratefully sighing "Oh, Mr. Frankel." Frankel often was on the job with his deputies, a part of the action and of the solution.

Frankel participated in a stunning array of civic activities including president of the West Virginia League of Municipalities, president of the West Virginia Sheriff's Association and Chairman of the Board of Appeals of the West Virginia State Police. He also served as president of the Tri-State Airport Authority and the Huntington Housing Authority on the boards of the Cammack Children's Center for 38 years, St. Mary's Hospital for 36 years (which his father helped found in 1924), the Huntington Planning Commission, and the Cabell County Friends of the Library. He also served as chairman of campaigns to raise funds and membership for the United Way, the Red Cross, the Cabell County Cancer Society, the YMCA, the Cabell County March of Dimes and headed numerous Huntington Clean-up Drives. There was hardly a civic club in which he did not participate. It seemed that whenever Huntington needed leadership, it called on Harold Frankel and he always answered the call with energy, uncommon zeal and a talent for inspiring others that made for a successful effort.

In October of 1996, in recognition of "his tireless activities (that) substantially improved Huntington's image and brought increased pride to the Jewel City," and for his "total involvement with Huntington and its people, as an ambassador at every level," Frankel was elected to the Greater Huntington Wall of Fame. Former Fourth District Congressman and West Virginia Secretary of State Ken Hechler, said in his nomination letter, "I can think of few Huntingtonians who have had such a broad and diverse series of public and non-public positions which have materially improved the image of the city of Huntington and brought great pride to our Jewel City." Commenting on the many civic activities in which Frankel "has been not only involved but actively led," Hechler added, "However, it is the initiative, imagination and enthusiasm with which he has thrown himself into each of these activities that marks him many cuts above the average contributing person. You see him everywhere, promoting Huntington."

Frankel was proud of his religious heritage, serving as Vice President of the Ohev Sholom Congregation, the Huntington B'nai B'rith Lodge and Chairman of the West Virginia Israel Bonds campaign. For his leadership, he received the 1975 Israeli Prime Minister's Medal of Honor signed by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Harold and Dodi Frankel moved to Cape Coral, Florida, in 1982 where they obtained real estate licenses and together operated a real estate brokerage firm called Four-Eight-Seven Realty, Inc. In addition to his wife, Frankel is survived by their two children - Linda Eve Frankel, Exec. Director of the American Friends of the Sheba Medical Center in New York City, and Alan Hill Frankel, President and C.E.O. of Resource Dynamics in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida and by three grandchildren - Shaina, a second year law student at the University of Michigan Alexis, a recent masters degree graduate at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and an adopted grandson, Courtney Craig, a lawyer in Huntington.

Services will be held Thursday, February 21, 2002, at 1:30 p.m. at the B'nai Sholom Congregation Synagogue by Rabbi David E. Wucher. Interment will follow in Spring Hill Cemetery. Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Alzheimer's Association. Klingel-Carpenter Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.


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Harold Lawrence Frankel's Timeline

October 25, 1917
Peoria, IL, USA
April 1946
Age 28
Huntington, WV, USA
February 18, 2002
Age 84
Hollywood, FL, USA
Greenbriar Military Academy
Ohio State University