On Wednesday August 10, 2005, we got the call from the nursing home that our dear friend Frank had passed away peacefully in a chair in the TV room. We made a few phone calls and headed down there as soon as we got the message. The nurses had not let Frank leave yet; they had kept him in his room so that we could say goodbye. We were left alone with Frank and we said goodbye and told him that we would see him in Mobile. One way or another, we would make sure that he made it back to be buried with his mother. And we would travel down there for the services.
After Frank's death, we were in touch with some of his other friends in the area. We met Bob and Angela, who had been really close friends with Frank for many years, and had helped to get him admitted to the nursing home when he had no longer been able to live by himself in his apartment. They decided that they would go to Mobile for the services too. We met up with them at their house for dinner prior to the trip. They were very nice people and we shared a lot of memories about how Frank had touched our lives. We were sure that Frank would have been happy that we got to know each other.
We made all of the arrangements with the local funeral parlor: delivering Frank's clothes (including a B.B. King lapel pin we had gotten from B.B. himself), and arranging for them to transport Frank to Mobile, where he would be picked up by the funeral parlor down there.
We were in touch with Eloise (Frank's sister), and we got an unexpected phone call from his daughter Bernice (also known as Karmilla Ali for her jazz singing career). They told us that the services would be on Saturday the 20. We made hotel reservations and booked flights for Friday the 19th with Bob and Angela.