Ted Frankel passed away on Feb. 19, 2023, in his usual low-key style. He was gracious and charming until the very end.
Ted was an adoring (and obedient) husband and a loving brother, father and grandfather who attended every school function and music, theatre, and sports event of his children and grandchildren.
If Ted were here today, he would ask whether you wanted to go bowling – which he never actually did. He would tell you that the answer to most questions was “15.” And he would ask whether you had heard one of his special stories. Of course, after you responded that indeed you had – many times – he would proceed to tell you again, almost verbatim, timed beautifully, and with no embellishment.
Ted was born on July 24, 1931. He was second-generation Atlantan, and, like his father and two of his children, and like many Jewish children of his era, he came into this world at Georgia Baptist Hospital. Ted attended Boys High and Hoke Smith High in Atlanta where, according to the newspaper of which he was editor, he was the “local Casanova, Einstein, and Bob Hope all rolled into one.”
Ted attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and he remained an avid Carolina Tarheel basketball fan until the very end. (Go to hell Dook!). He was a member of ZBT fraternity, where he met many of his life-long friends. Just a few weeks after graduation, Ted married his high school sweetheart, Sidelle. From that day until Sidelle left us way too soon, they were never apart.
Ted attended Emory Law School, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Public Policy. One of Ted’s fondest memories was competing in the National Moot Court Competition in New York in 1954.
After law school, Ted served in the J.A.G. Corps at the Air Force base in Moses Lake, Wash. He and Sidelle returned to Atlanta in 1958, and Ted began his legal career. Ted was a self-described silver-tongued devil, and he loved being a lawyer. He practiced law until he was 88. For most of his career, he represented the Georgia Association of Educators and its many teachers. One of his proudest victories was a case in which he forced the Atlanta Public Schools to honor its commitment to provide life insurance to all of its retirees.
Ted was a natural leader who always remained calm and used his humor and grace to build consensus. He served on too many boards to name. But here are some of the highlights. Ted was the president of the neighborhood associations in which he lived. He was proud of being the driving force in stopping the highway through Morningside that was contemplated while Jimmy Carter was governor. Ted served as President of the Young Lawyers Division of the Georgia Bar, where he helped lead the integration of the Georgia Bar. Ted and Sidelle were founding members of Temple Sinai in Atlanta, and Ted proudly served as its president during its transition to Rabbi Phil Kranz after the untimely death of its founding rabbi, Richard Lehrman. (Sidelle was the secretary for both rabbis).
Ted loved politics, and he was an active and lifelong yellow-dog Democrat. He was the longest serving member of the Executive Committee of the Georgia Democratic Party. And, according to Ted, he voted in every election since his first presidential election in 1952. (Yes, he voted for Adlai Stevenson, twice).
Ted was predeceased by his beautiful and steadfast best friend, Sidelle, for whom he lovingly cared during her many years struggling with cancer. He also was predeceased by his son, Kenneth, and his beloved sister, Marcia.
Ted is survived by his daughter, Jodie Leopold, and her son, Ryan; and his son and daughter-in-law, Craig Frankel, and Jana Eplan, and their children, Gil (Melanie), Tamir, and Tali.
Ted’s humor and grace will be missed but remembered forever.
His family will be forever grateful to Chantelle, Peggy, and their wonderful team of caregivers who lovingly made Ted’s final days peaceful and comfortable.
A graveside service was held at 11:00 on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, at Greenwood Cemetery, 1173 Cascade Avenue, S.W., Atlanta, Ga., Rabbi Brad Levenberg officiating.
If you wish to honor Ted’s memory, please make a donation to Temple Sinai (www.templesinaiatlanta.org) or a charity of your choice. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.
- Ted Frankel
- Georgia Baptist Hospital
- Boy's High
- Hoke Smith High
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- ZBT fraternity
- Emory Law School
- Journal of Public Policy
- National Moot Court Competition
- J.A.G. Corps
- Air Force
- Moses Lake
- Georgia Association of Educators
- Atlanta Public Schools
- Jimmy Carter
- Young Lawyers Division of the Georgia Bar
- Temple Sinai
- Rabbi Phil Kranz
- Richard Lehrman
- Executive Committee of the Georgia Democratic Party
- Greenwood Cemetery
- Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care