ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – The City of Athens announced Monday that a City Council member has died.

District 3 Councilman Frank Travis lost his battle with cancer earlier in the morning.

Travis was appointed to the Council in July 2016, replacing longtime councilman Jimmy Gill, who himself lost his battle with cancer that year. In the 2016 election cycle, Travis ran unopposed, remaining on the Council.

Frank Travis pauses for a moment to laugh during the City of Athens Relay for Life celebrity waiter fundraiser. (Photo courtesy City of Athens)
Frank Travis pauses for a moment to laugh during the City of Athens Relay for Life celebrity waiter fundraiser. (Photo courtesy City of Athens)

Frank was a dedicated councilman, a true friend and a person who had a servant’s heart. He gave his time, talents and love to Athens. We pray for his wife Sharon, his family and friends and our entire community as we struggle with this loss.

Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks

In addition to his service on the Council, Travis was heavily involved in the community. His memberships included:

  • City of Athens Relay for Life, along with serving as a celebrity waiter at the team’s annual fundraising event at the Athens Applebee’s
  • James Chapel Missionary Baptist Church – deacon, financial secretary, Sunday School teacher
  • Athens-Limestone Library Foundation
  • Athens Storytelling Festival Board
  • Executive boards for Limestone County NAACP, Top of Alabama Regional Council on Governments, Community Action Partnership
  • Round Island Creek Association Choir

On behalf of Limestone County, I want to offer our condolences to Athens on the loss of a great steward, a great man. Frank was an asset to Athens and Limestone County. He was involved in so much that benefited our community.

Limestone County Commission Chairman Collin Daly

Visitation will be at Peoples Funeral Home (12060 US-31 South, Tanner) on Tuesday, April 19 from 6-8 p.m. Funeral services will start at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 20, at Lindsay Lane Baptist Church (1300 Lindsay Lane, Athens). Travis’s body will lie in state one hour before services begin. Burial will follow at Thatch-Mann Cemetery in Athens.

Masks are required for the services and visitation, and social distancing will be observed.

Marks and Council President Chris Seibert said the process for filling Travis’s position will be discussed at a later time.

Travis graduated from Central High School in Paris, Tenn., where he was a member of the drama club, later attending Fisk University in Nashville. He worked at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant for 29 years, but his passion for the arts powered many of his local projects.

He directed local productions of “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “Crowns,” and was twice nominated for a Wings Award for playing Hoke in “Driving Miss Daisy” and Homer Smith in “Lilies of the Field.” He didn’t win, but the third time was the charm – he won for playing Abraham in “Beautiful Dreamer.”

This passion for local arts extended into his role with the NAACP – Travis assisted youth in the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) program. The program is designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students. Travis assisted local students and the local and national levels.