Franklin Leroy Fenton remembered for baseball, carpentry

Monday, July 8, 2013 | 9:09 p.m. CDT; updated 10:35 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 9, 2013

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the location of Mr. Fenton's home.

**CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated Wreatha Etheridge's home state.

COLUMBIA — Franklin Leroy Fenton could play all over the field.

"He was a darn good ballplayer," his sister, June Kingery, said. "He preferred to pitch, but he was a utility player."

Mr. Fenton died Sunday, July 7, 2013, at his home in Mountain Grove. He was 76.

He was born on Nov. 3, 1936, in Columbia to Roy and Maurine (Whitesides) Fenton.

He played baseball for Hickman High School, before moving on to local city teams and filling the pages in his sister's scrapbook dedicated to his playing days. Mr. Fenton continued playing baseball even after high school, last playing when he was about 50 years old, his wife, Lois Jean Fenton, said.

He married Lois Jean Trumbo on Aug. 30, 1958, at Bethany Baptist Church in Columbia. 

Kingery described Mr. Fenton as a “good Christian man.”

Mr. Fenton was employed for 30 years with the telephone company, before retiring at age 47. Later he worked for MU Telecommunications Services.

He later took an interest in carpentry like his father did. At one point, Mr. Fenton wanted to quit the telephone business, but his father didn't think that was such a good idea, saying at the time that it was a good way to starve.

"He could build a replica of almost anything," Kingery said of her brother.

His wife said he enjoyed woodworking, making fine furniture, cooking and helping others.

Mr. Fenton put his passion to work as he built his house on *Route B near Hallsville, even receiving an assist from his father, who built the cabinets.

After his children grew up and moved out, Mr. Fenton moved to Springfield and lived out his years in Mountain Grove, just wanting to enjoy a small town in the countryside, Kingery said.

Mr. Fenton is survived by his wife, Lois Jean Fenton; a son, Matthew Fenton of Columbia; a daughter, Lori Fenton of Topeka, Kan.; a sister, June Kingery, and her husband, Gene, of Columbia; two sisters-in-law, **Wreatha Etheridge of Farmington, Ark., and Sue Fenton of Columbia; and many nieces and nephews.

A brother, J. M. Fenton, died earlier.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Parker Funeral Services, 22 N. Tenth St. The family will receive visitors one hour prior, with burial to follow in Memorial Park Cemetery, 1217 Business Loop 70 W.

Memorial contributions may be sent to charities of choice.

Condolences can be posted at

Supervising editor is Jake Kreinberg.

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