I remember meeting Frank Rolen for the first time. He was coaching an Ashland American Little League All-Star team with either one or both of his sons on the roster. Steve and Mike were both good players so it’s no surprise the Twins won the league title that year, giving Frank the opportunity to be the coach of the All-Stars. I don’t remember the year because it was too long ago.
But Frank Rolen made an impression on me that day for his gentlemanly ways. He wasn’t a coach who screamed at his players. He taught them, encouraged them and kindly corrected them. He exuded kindness. Always. I can’t recall if his team won or lost that day, but it didn’t matter. Frank was Frank either way. He was a godly man and I knew that before I knew him. That’s the way you want it to be. His witness was there for all to see. He was the recreation director at the federal prison here and I’m sure he was a godly example for that mission field, too. I cannot imagine the many lives he touched.
In the community, he was involved in youth baseball on several levels. Trust me, you’d want your son (or daughter) playing for him.
Later in life, our lives crossed again at Unity Baptist Church where I served with him as a deacon for several years. Frank was the same. He was level-headed, smart and a good servant of the church. I learned a lot from watching him and always engaged him in conversations, mostly about the Ashland Tomcats, one of his favorite subjects. He was also so proud of his family, daughter Marla and sons Mike and Steve. We talked often about Steve, who is one of the greatest baseball players ever from this area. He played several years of professional baseball. That was part of my sports bond with Frank over the years.
We had great fun talking about sports in general. He enjoyed it as much as I did. But Frank was more than a good conversationalist. He was a friend who would do anything to help anyone in need. His sweet wife, Ella Mae, his bride of 66 years, is much the same. She’s precious. Please pray for her, too.
Frank left this world on Friday night, but his impact will be here far longer. He was a friend and brother to so many including my father-in-law Fred Boggs, who was one of his golfing buddies over the years. It’s tough watching your friends pass away and my father-in-law has experienced a lot of that lately. It leaves an irreplaceable void. Fred spoke to him for 45 minutes on Thanksgiving, so I’m thankful for that. I know Fred is hurting badly over this one, along with our church family, who loves the Rolen family.
I do know heaven is much sweeter place now with Frank on the scene. He will be looking around for somebody to help. I can guarantee that.
He had a servant’s heart that beat strong for his God, his family, his friends and his community and was an example to many.
Rest in peace, Frank Rolen. Well done.