Frank David Spiegel of Atlanta passed away Monday, May 28, 2018, at the age of 97, one week from his 98th birthday.
Frank was born in Fuerth, Germany, a suburb of Nuremberg. Frank was 17 years old in 1937 when his family saw the writing on the wall and sent him to the United States. Seeking opportunity to find employment and make money, Frank applied to the Jewish Agency to be relocated to Georgia for a training project to learn a skilled trade. In his application he is described as an “impressive, quiet, unassuming, natural boy” and was accepted for the program. Five young Jewish men from Germany, including Frank, were sent to Monroe to attend school and receive training in an agricultural setting. After deciding that he wasn’t cut out to be a chicken farmer, Frank transferred to Habersham College in Clarkesville and secured his first job as a service station attendant earning $10 per week.
During this time, he was assigned a caseworker from the Georgia Farm School and Resettlement Bureau, which was a nonprofit agency interested in the resettlement and retraining of Jewish refugees — and one of the early predecessor agencies of what is now known as Jewish Family & Career Services. The case manager’s job was to help Frank acculturate and resettle, but the case manager would soon become Frank’s partner and greatest advocate in his heroic effort to rescue his family from Nazi Germany. With a great effort and the agency’s assistance, his parents and siblings escaped Germany and made it safely to Atlanta in 1941. With his family rescued, Frank enlisted in the Army and served his new country as an interpreter fighting the Nazi regime.
Before his overseas deployment, Frank was sent to boot camp in Galveston, Texas, where he met Helen. On his return from the war, they began a marriage of 71 years and are now once again joined on the first anniversary of her passing. Frank started his career as a traveling salesman in the electrical equipment business. He and Helen had three children, Elizabeth, Mark and Walter. Frank was successful in his career and advanced up the professional ladder, retiring as an executive vice president after 45 years at the same company.
Frank and Helen were active members of the Atlanta Jewish community, and together they helped establish a women’s shelter, Rebecca’s Tent, at Congregation Shearith Israel. In his retirement, Frank became an active community volunteer, volunteering for Clark Howard and Meals on Wheels. In 2007, Frank and Helen moved to Huntcliff Summit, where Frank served as president of the residents association for several years. He learned to play pinochle at the age of 90 and won a few medals for his senior athletic ability.
Frank is survived by daughter Elizabeth (Robert) Goldstein and sons Mark (Robin) Spiegel of Atlanta and Walter (Sharon) Spiegel of Cincinnati; seven grandchildren, Adam (Kim) Goldstein, Sherri (Jamison) Nighbert, and Elana, Sophie, Jeremy, Shira and Jacob; and four great-grandchildren.
The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, at Crestlawn Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Weinstein Hospice, Rebecca’s Tent (www.rebeccastent.org) or Congregation Or Hadash. Arrangements made by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.