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Updated: September 11, 2022 @ 2:53 pm

Frank Holbrook was known for his sense of humor and for taking care of his family and friends in times of need. He was buried on Friday at Live Oak Cemetery in Youngsport after services were held in Killeen.

Frank Holbrook was known for his sense of humor and for taking care of his family and friends in times of need. He was buried on Friday at Live Oak Cemetery in Youngsport after services were held in Killeen.
How do we keep the memory alive of a loved one lost? By telling stories, of course.
The family and friends of Frank Alfred Holbrook — a Killeen entrepreneur and longtime defense attorney — have no shortage of tales to tell about a man who created a lasting legacy.
“We’ll be telling stories for a long time about all the things he’s done for our family and the community,” said Justin Lethco, one of Holbrook’s grandchildren. “PawPaw was a lifelong entrepreneur and philanthropist. He was giving, without questioning, to people in need.”
Holbrook, 87, died on Sept. 1, leaving his wife, four children and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren behind. Holbrook was an alumnus of Texas A&M University, where he had earned a tennis scholarship; and Baylor University, where he received his law degree in 1958.
“Everyone who knew him knew that if he liked you, he’d give you a nickname,” said Jesse Lethco, Holbrook’s granddaughter-in-law, who spoke with the Herald on Thursday.
She recalled that when she first met Holbrook, he mistakenly thought her name was Jackie.
“The second time I met him, he said, ‘Hey, Jesse,’ and I said, ‘No, it’s Jackie.’ So, I became ‘JJ’ from then on,” she said.
Jesse Lethco said that Holbrook’s life centered around his family.
“Out of everything that he did, it was his family that was most important to him,” she said. “He’d do anything for his family and friends. He loved his family. PawPaw was an amazing person; he was genuine and sincere and very witty.”
Together with business partners Jim Tranum and Mildred Cloud, Holbrook also was an astute businessman. He was a brainchild behind the Hallmark Restaurant and Hallmark Inn & Suites in Killeen and a nearby bowling alley, correctly predicting the direction in which Killeen would grow.
“PawPaw and his business partners were thinking about the future of Killeen, which at that time was centered around the downtown area,” said Justin Lethco. “Today, there are many businesses along I-14; but then, it was just farmland. They had a feeling that was the way Killeen would grow.”
However, Holbrook was not a Killeen native and chose the town for one reason: sports.
“After he graduated, he was so obsessed with college football that he chose Killeen because it was centrally located between College Station, Austin and Waco so that he could watch the Aggies play at those stadiums,” Justin Lethco said.
It was January of 1975 and the stakes could not be higher for two then-young defense attorneys tasked with representing a man accused of the capital murder of a highway patrolman the prior year.
“We’d walk from the courthouse back to the hotel for lunch, and Frank just had one funny thing to say after the other,” said Belton defense attorney James H. Kreimeyer, who has been practicing law in Bell County since joining the DA’s office in 1971 and then opening a private practice in 1972. “He’d get me laughing so hard I’d have to sit down to rest a minute and get my breath back. Just like in Hamlet, ‘He was a fellow of infinite jest.’ He wasn’t so much a joke-teller; he had a different view of the world and he saw the humor in everything.”
In this particular case, Holbrook and Kreimeyer had obtained a change of venue from Bell County to Odessa.
“Over the three weeks we tried that case, we were together almost all the time and we became good friends,” Kreimeyer said. “He was a wonderful person and a good lawyer.”
Holbrook not only garnered the respect of fellow defense attorneys; he also earned the esteem of prosecuting attorneys.
Bell County’s district attorney told the Herald in an email that he feels blessed to have known Holbrook.
“It was a sad day when I heard he had passed away,” said Henry Garza. “But every time I think of him, I immediately remember all the times he made me and others laugh. He had a knack of saying something at just the right time that made you laugh.”
Serious business unfolds in a courtroom but Holbrook handled it in stride.
“He had a way of reminding all of us that life was about more than just the cases you handled,” Garza said. “We would battle against each other in the courtroom, but win lose or draw, we would shake hands when it was all said and done. He was a class act. He was a friend that I miss already, but I will never forget him or how he made us laugh.”
Holbrook practiced law for more than 50 years. His funeral was held Friday morning at Lifeway Fellowship in Killeen, and he was buried at Live Oak Cemetery in Youngsport.

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