Frankie Shannon Rolle, an educator and past president of two Miami chapters of Florida A&M University Alumni Association, died Monday, Feb. 10, according to her daughter Melodie Rolle-Mitchell. She was 89 years old.
Her home was known to family members as “The little house that Jack built,” because all the Coconut Grove area were welcomed and stopped by frequently, said Rolle’s niece Jeanette Bellinger, who was raised by Rolle.
“Her house was a like a community house, the house on the side of the road where everyone was welcomed,” Bellinger said. “She was an amazing woman. She was a real superwoman. She will be greatly missed by all.”
Born Nov. 25, 1924 in Jacksonville, Fla., she attended Stanton High School in Jacksonville. She completed her undergraduate studies at Florida A & M University in 1946, and received her master’s degree from Indiana University.
She served as president of the FAMU Alumni Association Miami chapter president from 1970-72 and president of the Miami Gold Coast chapter from 1982-83. She was inducted into the FAMU Sports Hall of Fame in 1979.
“The Florida A&M University family mourns the loss of Frankie Shannon Rolle. Frankie was not only dedicated to the progress of the FAMU community as a former alumni chapter president, but also served as a great contributor to various community organizations within the Miami-Dade area. She will be greatly missed,” read a statement released by FAMU Office of Alumni Affairs.
She married William “Billy” Rolle on Oct. 27, 1951, who predeceased her in 1998.
A physical education teacher and counselor, Rolle taught at George Washington Carver Elementary and Middle School in Coral Gables for 41 years before she retired in June 13, 1987. The gymnasium at the school is named in her honor.
“She was a strong advocate for education,” Bellinger said. “She always said they can take everything away from you but they can’t take away your education.”
In addition to the gym another building, Frankie Shannon Rolle Neighborhood Service Center, bears her name. May 8th, 1982 was designated as the Frankie Shannon Rolle Day in Miami-Dade.
Rolle served on numerous boards including the Helen B. Bentley Community Health Center and she was a member of the Miami Sports Authority.
Bellinger said Rolle enriched the lives of all she met. Bellinger remembers Rolle taking some Vietnamese women under her wings years ago, who frequently returned to visit Rolle.
“She lived through segregation and integration and she treated everyone equally,” Bellinger said.
Rolle was one of the original organizers of the Bahamas Goombay Festival in Coconut Grove and she served as co-chair of the 50th Orange Blossom Classic. She was a life member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.
A litany service is scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, at Christ Episcopal Church, 3481 Hibiscus St., Coconut Grove. A funeral service is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 17, at noon, at the Christ Episcopal Church.
She is survived by children Michael Sease (Dionne), Billy Rolle (Loretta), Melodie Rolle-Mitchell, Zachary Rolle-Mitchell, and Jeanette Rolle Mitchell Bellinger (Rodney); 22 grandchildren; and a sister, Sophia White of Jacksonville.
Range Funeral Home, Coconut Grove, is in charge of arrangements.