The Rev. Frank Merle Harmon, age 94, originally of Greene County, Tenn., passed away Friday, Feb, 15, 2013. He was born Oct. 19, 1918, near Greeneville in Upper East Tennessee and was a graduate of Mosheim High School. He and his family attended Cedar Hill Cumberland Presbyterian Church, where he became a member in 1930.
He decided to enter the ministry in 1938 and became a member of East Tennessee Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In September of that year, he entered Bethel College (Mckenzie, Tenn.) and four years later graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the spring of 1942. He then entered the Cumberland Presbyterian Seminary and after completing his study became minister of the historic Beech Cumberland Presbyterian Church near Hendersonville, Tenn.
In addition, because of the shortage of teachers during World War II, he served as a coach and teacher at Hendersonville High School and eventually married Evelyne Lucille Ralph of nearby Goodlettsville, who attended services with her family at the Beech Church. It was during this part of his early professional life that he also earned a Master’s Degree in Theology from Scarrett College in Nashville.
Following his Beech pastorate, he held two short-term pastorates near Dayton, Tenn., New Prospect and Cleveland. In 1949 he accepted the pastorate of the Maryville Cumberland Presbyterian Church near Knoxville. In 1952 he moved to West Tennessee after accepting the pastorate of the Dyer Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which dedicated a new and highly acclaimed building before his departure in 1957. In July of that year, he accepted a call to return to Middle Tennessee as minister of the Cookeville Cumberland Presbyterian Church, where he eventually became the organizing moderator of the Murfreesboro Presbytery in 1962 and its first elected moderator in 1963.
In 1964, he left Tennessee for the first and only time in his ministerial career, accepting the pastorate of the Denton Cumberland Presbyterian Church in North Central Texas, where he was twice elected to the denominational Board of Finance. In 1968, he moved his family back to Tennessee by accepting the pastorate of the Manchester Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which would later add a new fellowship hall and steeple under his leadership.
In 1975, he moved back to East Tennessee, accepting the pastorate of the Lenoir City Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which would re-locate and build a completely new building during his leadership in 1978. Also, while living at Lenoir City, he acquired property near his previous home in Manchester at Beech Grove and began building a retirement home. He moved there as presbyterial pastor for Murfreesboro Presbytery in 1978 and continued to preach on a part-time basis at both the Monteagle and Hillsboro Cumberland Presbyterian Churches through 2005. That year he retired completely due to his wife’s health and his advanced age.
For the last eight years, he has been living near his oldest son (Martin) and daughter-in-law (Sharon) in Senoia, Ga. During that time, he served as a volunteer at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation for five years, the historic facility founded by one of his heroes, Franklin D. Roosevelt.
A practicing minister of 65 years, he is survived by his two sons, Frank Martin and Dr. Harold Ralph Harmon; two grandsons, Matthew Martin and Andrew Phillip Harmon, and their wives (Danielle and Jeannine); and four great-grandchildren.
Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.mckoon.com .
His wife, Evelyne Ralph Harmon, preceded him in death on Feb. 1, 2011. He was also preceded in death by his father and mother, Frank Mercer and Anne Harold Harmon, seven brothers, and two sisters.
Services and interment will be Thursday, Feb. 21 at 1 p.m. central time at the Mount Olive Cumberland Presbyterian Church and Cemetery near Dyer (Tenn.), where Rev. Harmon’s wife and an infant daughter are also buried. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any contributions in his memory be made to the Roosevelt Warm Springs Development Fund, P.O. Box 1050, Warm Springs, GA 31830.
McKoon Funeral Home & Crematory, 770-253-4580