Frank’s obituary, prepared by his loving wife Bonnie, was published in the Rappahannock Record, Kilmarnock VA on March 2, 2023, and is reprinted here to honor Frank — a kind, gentle man who was a fierce fighter for justice.
HEATHSVILLE—My beloved husband, Dr. Francis Joseph “Frank” Kober Jr., passed away on February 17, 2023, at Bon Secours Regional Memorial in Mechanicsville with me by his side.
Frank was born September 24, 1943, in Baltimore, Maryland, to Margaret Mary Flading and Francis Joseph Kober, Sr.
Frank’s education began at Saint James the Less Catholic School and Towson Catholic High School in Baltimore. Shortly after graduating from the University of Maryland in 1966, he entered the teaching field.
Frank spent nearly 50 years in public education, where he achieved one success after another, including turning a failing Baltimore charter school into one of the city’s highest academic achievers.
He became a union representative for public-school teachers. He rose to vice president and editor of the Baltimore Teachers Union Journal. Later, he was a part-time consultant to the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.
In the 1970s, Frank was honored by the U.S. Department of Education as one of the top teacher/leaders in the United States. That was when Frank decided to teach in higher education. In the mid-1970s, he became a full-time Instructor at Coppin State University—later part of the University of Maryland system. He was dedicated to building skills relevant to higher learning.
Frank returned to college to receive his M.Ed. from Coppin State University (Baltimore) in 1980 and his Doctor of Education Policies Studies from Temple University in 1992, (Philadelphia, Pa.). After receiving his doctorate, and working in various university positions, he became special assistant to two university presidents, a full professor, an associate dean, a political consultant to mayors, governors and a host of state and local officeholders. Frank also authored three nonfiction books in history, education, and two college textbooks.
Frank’s life was guided and nurtured by the principles of decency and knowing right from wrong. Politics became more than an afterthought for him. It was a way of helping to ensure these principles were followed.
Starting in the mid-1960s, Frank worked diligently in the civil rights movement. He marched and picketed with political figures, was beaten by thugs and went to court to ensure that African-Americans’ rights were honored and that this country lived up to its constitutional guarantees, freedoms and rights.
Before Frank’s passing, he served as the president of the Lancaster Virginia Historical Society (LVHS). While serving, he was especially passionate about Closing the Gap African American Oral History Project. He also served as chairman of Northumberland’s County Democratic Party. He was an officer of the NAACP, an active member in the Northumberland County Community Center and a member of the Sheriffs Roundtable on Progressive Policing and the Lions Club.
Frank enjoyed talking with people from all walks of life, traveling and cooking (he was a fantastic cook). He also liked spending long evenings at home reading. He would read two to three books simultaneous. Frank also had a passion for watching old movies—particularly mobster movies.
Frank’s knowledge was incredible. Whenever I had a question, no matter how difficult the subject was, he knew the correct answer. So, I bought a sign that reads “I don’t need Google, my husband knows everything.” He was remarkable.
As his wife, I watched—with pride—his leadership and devotion to the people of Northumberland County. I was in awe of his loving and giving nature to family, friends and strangers alike.
I am overwhelmed with grief, not only for my loss, but for what the world has lost. I can smile, because I know how deep our love for each other was—and still is. We will keep loving each other until we meet again. He is my inspiration, my soul mate and the person I love and admire. I miss him so much; the pain is deep. But I draw strength from his memory and our love. Rest well, my love.
Frank Kober’s loving spirit on earth will continue to live on through his wife, Bonnie; his daughter, Shari Cain (James); daughter, Brandi Cresse (Mark); and son, Ryan Darnell (Maria).
His sister, Mary Margaret, preceded him in death.
He also is survived by his sisters Maryann Ward (Fred) and Maryrose Gans (David); and his brother, John Kober, Sr. (Nell); nephews, Ronald Ward Jr. (Wendy), Robert Ward (Vania), David Gans (departed), Richard Gans (Cecelia), John Kober Jr. (Chadai); grandchildren, Sherbar Mealy, Candace Mealy, Easton Wilkinson and Harley Cresse; great-grandchildren, Nikas and Miamor; great-great-grandchild Navaeh; great nephews and nieces, Dylan, Samantha, Konstantinos and Robert Ward, Jr. and the newest edition, Christina Summer Rose.
A service of remembrance will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at Mount Olive Baptist Church, Wicomico Church.
Services of comfort and trust provided by the Berry O. Waddy Funeral Home, Lancaster and Berry O. Waddy Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Burgess.