Francis (Frank) Leroy Foote
1914 - 1987
Frank Foote was Minister of Music at Battle Creek Tabernacle for 35 years. A music student of the late Oliver S. Beltz, he upheld a long tradition of excellence in music at the BCT. A man of gentle, though firm persuasion, he had significant influence on conference leaders, pastors, boards, camp meeting choirs, school youth, soloists, and instrumentalists. All respected the consistency of his high musical convictions and were warmed by his personal interest in each group or individual he dealt with.
Frank was born in Nevada, Missouri, on May 9, 1914, one of five children and the younger of two sons of Charles J. and Delva Jane Phipps. Both parents were graduates from the Battle Creek Sanitarium School of Nursing and returned to the area in 1920, where Frank attended and graduated from Battle Creek Academy in 1932. While there, Frank met Lucile Vera Davidson. They both attended Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, and following her graduation in 1937, they married on June 21, 1938. They would have three sons, Charles, Harold, and James; and a daughter, Karen L. (Randolph).
Frank taught music for a year at Battle Creek Academy and then pursued a career as a Certified Public Accountant. He continued to be active in music, serving as minister of music at Battle Creek Tabernacle and leading numerous Lay choirs at camp meetings
At the 1966 General Conference Session in Detroit, Michigan, Foote led a laymen's choir that sang a stirring arrangement of "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" featuring brilliant trumpet fanfares. It was singled out in a report of that evening in the Review and Herald as being a particularly memorable moment in the service.
John Conkell, a close friend and accomplished tenor in the Tabernacle Choir, observed:
When we choir members were rehearsing under Frank's direction, we were led to understand the spiritual truth in each anthem, until it became internalized in our own experience. On Sabbaths, we knew the Holy Spirit was present, and so did the congregation . . . Frank would have us remember above all that church music is an offering to God . . ..
When Foote retired in October 1975, he was honored for his many years of service in the BCT. His son, Charles, succeeded him.
He was living in Kalamazoo, Michigan, when he died on April 10, 1987, at age 72. BCT choir alumni from across the nation gathered at the tabernacle on July 11 to pay tribute to him and honor the contribution he had made in music.
Source: The SDA Church Musicians' Guild Magazine, Music Ministry, July-September 1987; Obituary, Lake Union Herald, 2 June 1987, 15; 25 November 1975, 11; The Review and Herald, 19 June 1966, 2 (18).