Frank McKinley Booker was born September 27, 1936, to the late William and Carrie Booker in Baltimore, Maryland. Frank departed this life to abide with his Heavenly Father on March 2, 2023.
Frank graduated from Carver Vocational Tech High School with a certification in shoe repair in 1955. After graduation and working five years professionally at his trade, Frank made the decision to join the United States Army in 1960 where he spent his days of basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. His tour of duty included Korea and France. One mention of his tour placed Frank right back in the lovely city of Paris he visited and the beautiful rural sites he viewed in the neighboring country of Luxembourg. His four years of service to his country abroad concluded with receiving an honorable discharge in 1964.
Frank's return home brought him back to the role of master cobbler, applying his skills under the professional mentorship of Italian cobbler–Joe Marsiglia–at his shoe repair shop on Poplar Grove. Frank took his resourceful talents to East Baltimore when he joined Ernie Collins in Govans along the York Road corridor shortly after Marsiglia passed away. This new location introduced Frank to Jewish cobbler Simon Hack. While working in the area he developed a friendship resulting in Frank eventually working at Hack’s Shoe Repair in Waverly. The all-too-sudden passing Simon Hack shocked Frank and Mr. Hack’s family. Understanding how close the two were and Frank's exceptional skills as a master cobbler, the Hack Family asked Frank to take over Hack’s Shoe Repair before eventually offering him the business. Beyond thankful, Frank graciously accepted the responsibilities of maintaining the high standard of craftsmanship, the role asked of him, and his exceptional cobbler skills. His work kept him busy operating a business, but it was romance that soon gave him the priceless opportunity to build a family with his wife-Evelyn-when they became husband and wife in August 1967. This union would go on to bless them with three beautiful children: Sylvia, Steven, and Jennifer.
Frank spent over 40 years serving the Waverly community from his storefront where he witnessed merchants come and go and changes like the streetcars replaced with new bus routes. This speaks to Frank's longevity as a professional and genuine kindness to others in Waverly. In a city that endured much change stemming from riots after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination in 1968, the Baltimore Colts departure to Indianapolis in 1983, and the demolition of Memorial Stadium in 2002. Hack’s Shoe Repair remained steadfast in Waverly until Frank’s much deserved retirement in 2012.
One thing was for sure, if there was a Colts game on television or an Orioles game on the radio, Frank was there enjoying the play-by-play as he ate his favorite snack from Lexington Market–Konstant Peanuts. If you wanted to hearsome jazz, all you had to do was ask Frank and he would play a few selections from his personal library of albums from greats like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, or Miles Davis. He loved watching old westerns movies, closely followed politics, and appreciated watching candidates’ debate views. He was a proud registered Republican; however, his open-mindedness always led him to vote for the best candidate regardless of their political party status. Those who knew him from school, in the armed service, as a master cobbler, as a friend, and within his family, would describe Frank as a great source of encouragement and as a brilliant man.
Frank was preceded in death by his brothers Willie, Earl, and Cornelius; sisters Ella-Estelle, Edith, Winnie, and Minnie; nephews Daniel and Earl II.
He leaves to cherish his memory: His wife, Evelyn, His three children Sylvia, Steven, and Jennifer. Twin grand-daughters Sydney and Symone. Brother Hiawatha (Janice) Mugar; sisters Lorraine Drummond, Loretta (Charles) Dunton; Brother-in-law Alfred Smith; Sisters-in-laws Gertrude Smith and Doris Wallace. And a large host of nieces, nephews, and friends.
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