The only thing missing was Frank

Sandra ClarkJefferson, Opinion

Family and friends gathered Sunday on a farm in Strawberry Plains to reminisce about Frank Cagle, who died Feb. 25, 2021, at age 72. All we were missing was Frank.

Guys talked about his whiskey-drinking, cigar-chomping wild side. A couple of high school friends drove up from Alabama. It’s really hard to imagine Cagle playing cornerback, but he did. Seems his dad was the high school principal and a staunch member of the Church of God.

“Frank was always trying to be one of the guys, and he pulled that off except when his parents were around,” said Charles Crow. “He was the worst athlete I ever saw.”

State Sen. Frank Niceley talks about his friendship over the years with Frank Cagle.

When former News Sentinel editor Harry Moskos spoke (Frank was his second-in-command as managing editor), he said he never saw Frank take a drink or smoke a cigar. Moskos missed the irony.

He called Cagle “accurate, honest and intelligent” – the sort of journalist we don’t see much anymore.

Former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe attended with a couple of his key staff members, Ellen Adcock and Craig Griffith. Frank was deputy to the mayor in the Ashe administration. Both Ashe and Griffith called hiring Cagle a defensive move. “No more columns,” said Ashe.

Daughter Kate, who now lives in California, talked about the night she was set to perform in a play by Arthur Miller. “Mom was backstage, helping with makeup and costumes. Dad was out in the audience. They had a deal for $1 you could send a note backstage. …” Frank sent Kate a note that read: “Arthur Miller was a communist.”

Susan Richardson Williams said Frank was a crotchety old man then and later. She was in a Leadership Knoxville class with Cagle.

Amy Nolan of the Knoxville Chamber was there, along with her husband, former state Rep. Bill Nolan.

Tracy Cagle thanked the gathering, saying “he respected the craft of journalism.” She continued: “You are here because you loved Frank and this is a party Frank would have enjoyed.”

Note: We’re proud that Frank Cagle ended his career as a columnist for To read some of his work, search under “columns.”

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *