Frankie Donnis Lechner passed away peacefully in her family home in Lansing, NY, on November 13, 2022, at the age of 96. Born in Holyoke, Colorado, on January 3, 1926, she was the daughter of the late Frank Allen and Mary May (Goddard) Hill. Frankie was the oldest of five children and grew up on the family farm outside Haxtun, Colorado with her two brothers and two sisters.
Always the boss, Frankie has been in charge since she was born. To hear her tell it, she moved in with her grandmother to help take care of her, but really she was a very strong-willed child and her grandmother was there to help with that. She worked hard growing up through the Great Depression to help her family on the farm. Frankie eventually found her knack for teaching others and attended Teacher’s College. Her first job was teaching at Holyoke School where she also coached football and basketball. While teaching at Holyoke, she met Fred G. Lechner, a roaming teacher for vocational agriculture and advisor for Future Farmers of America. Their love grew through the writing of letters, still stored under her bed at home, as Fred was often in other towns. They married on June 9, 1948, and settled into a home in Brighton, Colorado.
Fred and Frankie had four children in that home, starting with Robert in 1949, Larry in 1951, Leland in 1953 and Linda in 1954. In 1957, they moved to Ithaca where Frankie worked as a substitute teacher at the Lansing Elementary School. She immediately became involved in the local community, supporting organizations such as the Lions Club, the Red Cross Blood Bank, the Census Bureau, the United Way and the Girl Scouts of America. She was recognized for her work as an Inspector of Elections for Tompkins County for over 40 years. She served as the Secretary and Treasurer of Pine Grove Cemetery in Lansing. She served as the Treasurer of the Lansing Community Council for over 15 years and played a pivotal role in the Lions Community Center Renovation Project. Frankie used her skills of persuasion and direction to gather volunteers from around the community to ensure the project was a huge success. She created the “Lansing Day” event and annually chaired the 4th of July Lions BBQ.
Frankie gave her time to the community of Lansing, working well into her 80s as a volunteer wherever she could. She was truly a shining example of a great American, involved in her community and leading the way for generations to follow.
Frankie was preceded in death by her loving husband, Fred G. Lechner; her brothers, Glenn and Jack Hill; and her sister, Wilma May Hill.
Frankie is remembered in life by her sister, Valva Hofmeister; her step-son, John Lechner (Debra); her children, Robert Lechner (Mercedes Dullum), Larry Lechner, Leland Lechner (Nancy), and Linda Buehler; her grandchildren, Kristina Esposito, Elizabeth Kochman (George III), Larry Lechner Jr. (Kimberly), Amanda Rall (Jason), Dennis Buehler, Colin Lechner, Carin Lechner, and Evan Lechner; and her great-grandchildren, Kingsley Kochman, George Kochman IV and Isolde Lechner.
In lieu of flowers, we suggest contributions in Frankie’s memory to support the Lansing Lions Club. Checks may be mailed to PO Box 82, Lansing, NY 14882.
A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date.