Frank Graham Umstead, 91, of Chapel Hill, died April 28, 2007 after a long decline in health. He was born on June 9, 1915 in Greensboro to the late Sallie Reade and John Wesley Umstead, Jr., a fourteen-term N.C. legislator representing Orange County. He was the eldest of the Umsteadâ€™s four children and namesake of the late Frank Porter Graham, a close family friend. He was recently preceded in death by his beloved wife of 62 years, Margaret â€œPeggyâ€ Burris Umstead; and by his parents; his brother, John Wesley Umstead, III; and his sister, Sarah E. Umstead.
Following graduation from R.J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, Frank graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, class of 1937, where he was captain of the wrestling team and a dedicated member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. After college, he was commissioned in the United States Marine Corps as a second lieutenant. Frank was an accomplished World War II veteran, Pearl Harbor survivor, and a recipient of the Bronze Star for meritorious service in the South Pacific. Lt. Colonel Umstead retired after more than twenty years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his civilian life, he was a designated Chartered Life Underwriter for Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company. In addition, he was a tireless servant of the University United Methodist Church since joining in 1929. He was a member of the Trustees and served as Chairman of the Administrative Board. He spent many years as an advisor to the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He was chairman of the Chapel Hill Planning Board for many years, a long-time member of the Chapel Hill Kiwanis Club, the American Legion, Orange Savings and Loan Board, State Board of Mental Health and Board of Directors of the Mental Health Association of N.C. Frank Umstead was passionate about farming and would spend countless hours in his favorite place, the garden.
Frank is survived by his daughter, Margaret Umstead Cobb of Chapel Hill; son, John Wesley Umstead, IV, and wife, Toni, of Raleigh; daughter, Helen Reade Umstead, of Chapel Hill; sister, Anne Umstead Maultsby, of Chapel Hill; four grandchildren, Susannah Cobb Parker and husband, Chris, of Atlanta; Devon Umstead Brewer and husband, Clate; Chloe Graham Umstead; and John Wesley Umstead, V, all of the Raleigh area; and two great-grandchildren, James Heys Parker and Elizabeth Umstead Parker of Atlanta.
A memorial service with military honors will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, May 5, 2007 at the University United Methodist Church of Chapel Hill with the Reverend Ruth Stevens officiating.
In lieu of flowers, please make contributions in memory of Frank Graham Umstead for the Visitor Education Center at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, Totten Center CB# 3375, UNC-CH 27599-3375, (919) 962-0522.
Arrangements are by the Cremation Society of The Carolinas, Raleigh, NC.