Local legend and community leader, Frank Malone, passed away last Wednesday, February 17 at age 69 of natural causes.
Frank spent a long career as a radio host for WJWS/WSHV, a job that would eventually earn him the title of “the Voice of South Hill”. Many residents grew up listening to Tradio on the Radio and the Malone Morning Show every weekday. Malone’s voice was a constant in our daily routines.
“South Hill, Mecklenburg County, and all of Southside Virginia lost their biggest cheerleader yesterday. Frank Malone passed away and his death has silenced the voice of the most talented Radio Professional I ever had the honor to not only work with, but more importantly learn from,” said former radio colleague Greg Thrift in a FaceBook post.
Malone spent 20 years serving the community and its residents as the Executive Director of the South Hill Chamber of Commerce. There were very few events in those 20 years that he missed. You could hear his recognizable voice from the moment you showed up, making it hard not to smile. He joined the Chamber team in July 2000 and worked until his retirement on July 1, 2020.
The Chamber released a statement saying, “He led the Souht Hill Chamber of Commerce with high spirits, laughs, lunches, and community fund raising. On July 1, 2020 Frank retired after 20 years as Executive Director, leaving us with a Chamber that was second to none. As we reflect on the many great memories of his tenure we will miss his jokes, advisement, and most of all, his voice. He will always be ‘The Voice of South Hill’.”
“We sure will miss you and your love of smiles, Frank. Ironically, it is difficult to find the words to reflect on a man who was never at a loss for the right words at the right moment, no matter what the moment was about—good or bad, happy or sad. Frank Malone was truly a cheerleader, ambassador, and historian for South Hill and a loyal and lifelong Park View Dragon. He was always quick to promote our community and welcome newcomers, and he had an incredible memory that allowed him to share fascinating facts and stories about our town and its citizens. He dearly loved South Hill and he proudly let everyone know it. We love you Frank and will never forget ITALK4U and your love of our town. We are so thankful for all your years of faithful dedication to our community,” read the Town of South Hill’s FaceBook page.
Frank Malone’s contributions to this community extended far beyond his work with the Chamber and on the radio. He was a member of multiple local clubs and organizations and spent much of his time volunteering for the American Cancer Society, the Alzheimer’s Association, Lake Country Area of Aging, and many others. He was a founding member of the South Hill Elementary Lunch Buddy program and loved working with the children.
Mecklenburg County Public Schools Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Joan Hite said, “This man was one of the biggest cheerleaders for our school system for as long as I can remember.” She continued, “He was the greatest lunch buddy, convocation emcee, and all around friend.’
Upon retirement Frank spent much of his time preaching at local churches and with his family. He married his wife Linda in 1973 and the two had a son, Paul, in 1974. Malone was the proud grandfather of three, Hayli, Kamryn, and Ryker.
“I remember one of the many funny things he used to say. When asked ‘have you live in South Hill all of your life?’ His response was ‘not yet’,” recalled School Board Member and former Bluestone teacher, Ricky Allgood.
The loss of Frank Malone will inevitably leave a void in this community. He will forever be remembered for his warm personality, infectious laugh, constant cheer, and happy spirit.