Frank Forrest Fleming

By  | January 9, 2021 | Filed under: Laughlin Service Funeral Home, Obituaries

Frank Forrest Fleming Frank Forrest Fleming, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend passed away peacefully on January 6, 2021, at the age of 96. He was born in Huntsville, AL on September 28, 1924, in his family home on Whitesburg Drive near Lily Flagg Road.

Frank was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Lenora Wells Rusk Fleming, his sister Ellen Louise Fleming Landy, his twin brother Felix Walton Fleming, his parents Forrest Walton Fleming of Huntsville, AL, and Ellen Bramblett Fleming Carroll of Fayetteville, TN.

Survivors include children: Philip Edward Fleming, M.D. (Susan), Nashville, TN, Katharine Louise Fleming Russler (Chuck), Dallas, TX, Lawrence Walton Fleming (Julie), Huntsville, AL; grandchildren: Sarah Kate Fleming, Sydney Wells Russler Holmes, David Scott Fleming, Katharine Grace Fleming Medlock, Julia Fleming Russler Kasindi, John Forrest Fleming, Nathaniel Walton Fleming, Samuel Clark Fleming, and five great-grandchildren.

Frank graduated from Huntsville High School in 1942 where he was voted “Most Studious Male” his senior year. During World War II he and his twin brother, Felix, served in the U.S. Army Air Forces and graduated from pilot training with the rank of second lieutenant. The North American AT-6 was among the aircraft that Frank was trained to fly.

After leaving military service Frank attended Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn University) where he received a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering. While at API, he became a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity as did one of his sons and two of his grandsons. In 1948, he was employed by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NASA) at Langley Field (Langley Air Force Base) in Hampton, Virginia where he met Lenora Wells Rusk from Winchester, VA.

Frank and his family returned to Huntsville, AL in 1953 where he worked for the U.S. Army Ordnance Guided Missile Center (U.S. Army Missile Command) and its succeeding agencies for the remainder of his career. As a missile engineer, he was instrumental in the development of the Littlejohn, Honest John, and Lance missile systems. After 32 years, he retired from U.S. government service in 1980.

Frank was an avid bridge player, pilot, community volunteer, and tennis player. He was a member of the Huntsville Kiwanis club for over 30 years. As a flight instructor at the Redstone Arsenal Flying Activity for 35 years, Frank assisted student pilots and rated pilots in attaining over 150 aeronautical ratings. He served as the chief flight instructor for the flying activity for several years. He taught students from all over the world including Wubbo Ockels, Ph.D. Dr. Ockels was a Dutch physicist and an astronaut for the European Space Agency who became the first Dutch citizen to travel into space. Frank retired from active flying at the age of 85.

Frank was a charter member of Covenant Presbyterian Church for over 60 years where he served as an Elder and a Deacon. He was Cubmaster of the cub scout pack sponsored by Covenant Presbyterian Church for three years. He was a member of the International Services Council of Alabama for 25 years and served as its president and treasurer.

Frank had a gift for recalling poetry and for storytelling. He enjoyed reciting poetry such as The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert Service, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe. The stories told by Frank about his own life experiences were most entertaining and usually ended with a punch line that had everyone laughing at someone else’s expense.

Challenging puzzles and games always intrigued Frank. He mastered the Rubik’s cube after retiring and recently repeated the feat 40 years later. Frank played online bridge, a modern adaptation of the game that he enjoyed immensely. The ability to play bridge online allowed Frank to play with family and friends across the country.

Frank will be missed by all who loved him so dearly.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Covenant Presbyterian Church at 301 Drake Avenue SE, Huntsville AL 35802, (covhsv.org) or a charity of your choice.

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