Biography of Frank Fockele
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Frank Fockele. For a great many years it had been a recognized proof of the town of Le Roy in Coffey County that in any general movement for the attainment of some worthy object in local public affairs the venerable editor, Frank Fockele, is found at the center or out in front leading the enterprise to success. Mr. Fockele had been in many ways identified with the welfare and upbuilding of this town and his career is a most noteworthy one.
Mr. Fockele had lived in Kansas for more than forty-five years. He was born March 9, 1843, at Nieheim, Westphalia, Germany, son of Maurice and Mary (Focke) Fockele, also natives of the Fatherland. His parents spent all their lives in Germany. They had four children, two sons and two daughters, Frank being the second in age and the only one to come to America.
Before coming to this country he had the liberal education given to the German youth of good families. He completed his scholastic training in a gymnasium at Paderborn. This was a classical government school that had been maintained for more than a thousand years. Mr. Fockele left this school to come to America in 1864, at the age of twenty-one. Being well educated, he sought out different German communities in this country and for a number of years taught German in the public schools of Missouri and Kansas.
It was in 1871 that Mr. Fockele identified himself with Coffey County and for a few years taught in the English schools here. In 1881 he bought the Reporter at Le Roy, and had continued the ownership of that old and influential journal to the present time, though since 1908 the editorial responsibilities have been handled by his son Glick. Thirty-six years of continuous ownership and management of a paper in Kansas almost constitutes a record, and Mr. Fockele is assuredly the veteran and pioneer newspaper man of Coffee County at least. The Reporter had always been an influential paper and is democratic in politics. It was founded in 1879 by S. H. Dodge, and was acquired about two years later by Mr. Fockele. It is the only paper in the town and had absorbed several other local journals, including the Comment and the Neosho Valley Blade.
The newspaper business had by no means represented Mr. Fockele’s only interest at Le Roy. He had handled real estate, and in the way of improvement he erected the second brick block in the town. Among all the various enterprises to which he had contributed he takes his greatest pride in the City Park. He did not wait for the community to become convinced of the desirability of such an improvement and for general cooperation, but himself took the lead in laying out the grounds in 1900, in planting trees and shrubbery, and he personally raised all the funds that have been invested in this modern improvement.
He had also enjoyed frequent honors of public position. He had been a member of the city council and school board at different times, and in the session of 1887 represented Coffey County in the State Legislature, being on the democratic side of the house. He was the author of several bills of special importance. Fraternally Mr. Fockele is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
In 1868 he married Miss Mary Morrissey. She was born in Vermont March 10, 1846, and after a happy married life of over forty years she passed away April 13, 1913. Six children were born to their union, but the two first, a son and a daughter, died in infancy. The other four are still living. Blanche, born in 1874, is an expert printer and had spent much of her time since school days in her father’s printing office and is now manager and one of the editors of the paper. Frederick Faber, born in 1877, is now cashier of the First National Bank of Waverly, Kansas. Glick, who was born in 1880 and was named by his father in honor of George W. Glick, the first democratic governor of Kansas, had grown up and developed much ability as a newspaper man and is now editor and manager of the Reporter. Kate, born in 1885, is still unmarried and lives with her father.