Frank J. Poland, 96, a longtime resident of Winona Lake, Ind., and former employee of the Grace Brethren Home Missions Council, died July 16, 2008 in Parkview Hospital, Fort Wayne, Ind., after a fall in which he suffered a broken hip and a serious head injury.
Services will be held at Titus Funeral Home, 2000 East Sheridan St., Warsaw, Ind., at 10 a.m., Friday, July 18. Friends may call at the funeral home from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 17. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Mastermedia International, 330 North 6th Street, Redlands, Calif. 92374, a Christian ministry to the entertainment industry headed by Frank’s son, Larry.
Poland was born May 29, 1912, near Williamsport, Ohio to William Hurd and Ivy (Long) Poland. Growing up in a family of five sons and two daughters, he worked the farm and became a share cropper on his uncle’s farm during the Great Depression to afford a high school education.
He worked at the Ohio Brass Company in Mansfield, Ohio, during World War II and briefly as a bulk plant manager for the Texas Oil Company (Texaco) in 1949. In addition, his skill as a carpenter and handyman served him well throughout the years.
Frank married Alta Elizabeth Dawson, of Mount Gilead, Ohio, on October 29, 1937, and they lived in or near Mansfield until moving to Winona Lake on November 2, 1949, when he became business manager of the Grace Brethren Home Missions Council. He held this position for 31 years before retiring on January 1, 1981.
Frank was most grateful for being part of the planting of more than 200 Grace Brethren churches across the nation and the creation of the Grace Brethren Investment Foundation, which became a significant source for financing hundreds of church facilities.
His wife, Alta, died March 17, 1982. Since then Frank has lived in Grace Village Retirement Community, Winona Lake.
He is survived by two sisters, Esther Meredith and Mabel Goff both of Mansfield, Ohio, his only child, Larry W. Poland of Redlands, Calif., his daughter-in-law Donna Lynn (Petersen) Poland, six grandchildren — Christian Poland of Glen Ellyn, Ill., Desiree Shier of Glendale, Calif., Cherish Morris of Aliso Viejo, Calif., Destiny Baker of Aurora, Ill., Chalet Poland of Lisle, Ill., and Valor Poland of Seattle, Wash. — and their families, which include eight great-grandchildren.
Frank also was preceded in death by his parents and four brothers, Samuel D, John L., Edro J., and C. Merle Poland.
Having come to personal faith in Jesus Christ in a one-room church in Williamsport, Ohio, in his early twenties, Frank was deeply committed to Jesus Christ and the Christian faith, to his family, and to his profession in Christian service until he went to his heavenly home. He was a member of Lakeland Conservative Grace Brethren Church in Warsaw, Ind.