He was born Oct. 8, 1940, in Nebraska to I. J. and Lola Frank and was the oldest of four siblings. In 1947 his family moved to northwest Wyoming where they homesteaded a farm. Two barracks from the abandoned Japanese internment camp across the road were the first living quarters and as can be expected in northern Wyoming, life was tough.
The barracks were not your typical framed and sheet rocked house as the initial construction had sizable cracks that the Japanese used to stuff newspaper and rags into, and we remember dad saying you could throw a cat through the cracks in the walls.
Working alongside his family, developing the farm, he learned the rewards of hard work and a love of the land. As is typical on a farm there was never lack of work and being one of the first families to homestead that area, several pictures were taken for area newspapers. One of those pictures of Ronn, his sister Lavonne and his dad I.J. setting irrigation tubes was turned into a painting that hangs in the State Capitol of Wyoming.
Ronn’s pride and joy in high school was his 1951 Mercury. Dark blue with rolled and pleated white interior, a set of glasspacks that roared when he went by and tailpipes that shot fire, yes, it was [email protected]#. His car was featured on the front cover of Hot Rod magazine at that time.
Ronn graduated from Powell High School in 1958. The night of graduation was raucous and the morning light found the outline of Ronn passed out on the front lawn with his faithful dog beside him. His father I.J., stepping out the front door, giving a disapproving look only said, “Time to get to work.” Ronn jumped up and went to work.
Ronn was active in sports, a phenomenal football player and the football team won the state championship in 1957. Upon graduation he attended Montana State University in Bozeman on a football scholarship, and while attending MSU, he met and married his beloved wife Shirley Lovercheck in 1962. After graduation from college, Ronn and Shirley moved to Fort Collins in 1963 and welcomed their first daughter Cindy that same year. Ronn and Shirley had two more daughters, Tracey in 1966 and Tamy in 1969.
Ronn’s best friend, Bill Kamm, also a graduate of Powell High, met in a convenience store in Fort Collins in 1964. Not personally knowing each other, which seems almost unbelievable coming from a small town, they had a chance meeting when Ronn saw Bill in line and said, “I know you, don’t I?” This meeting turned into a lifetime friendship that would last until Ronn’s passing.
Ronn became licensed in real estate in 1965 in a career that was well suited to his cheerful personality and his love of working with the public. His first year in real estate, instead of heading to the lake for Memorial Day weekend to go boating with his friends, he stayed home and worked, closed a sale and earned enough to fund his business for a year. From that point on, he was a consistent leader and high volume producer in the sale of farms, ranches, residential and commercial development, retail and industrial parks, water rights, apartments, office and medical buildings as well as being an adviser to local and national companies. Ronn was a recipient of the Realtor of the Year in Fort Collins in 1975. He was also a member and past president of the Sertoma Club and an active member in the Elks Lodge.
He loved camping, golf, fishing, scotch, road trips and a deal on any piece of art, and not necessarily in that order. When you entered the Frank home, you were treated like family. As kids we remember our parents having friends and family over on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to chat while enjoying a shot and a beer. Once the guests left, they would put on a good record, grill a steak and enjoy the rest of their evening.
Ronn’s sister, Carol, who possibly has one of the biggest fears of mice on the planet, found herself at the Frank home during a holiday visit. In an unexplainable event, Carol found herself seated while a mouse found its way in a position to run across her head. All hell broke loose and this prompted Ronn, a big-hearted animal lover, to retrieve a BB gun. While the family crowd cheered on Ronn to get the mouse, the mouse met his doom when Ronn, in his advanced years, dead-eyed the mouse who had made it to the top of the stairs while Ronn gunned him down from the base of the steps. What started as a big game hunt and a shot for the ages ended with the family sighing … “Awe, did you have to shoot it?”
Our dad had a big heart and will be dearly missed by family and friends. We were blessed to grow up in a home filled with love, home cooked meals, supportive parents and lots of music. As we write dad’s obituary we have realized we have brought these gifts from our parents’ home into our own homes and we see our parents living through us.
Dad is survived by his daughters, Cindy Brokman (David), Tracey Erker (Erik), Tamy Ingram (Monte); his grandchildren Delaney, Maddy, Colton, Kennedi and Dawson; his sisters Lavonne King and Carol Hart; his nieces and nephews; his dear friend and traveling companion Phyllis and her sister Cookie.
He is predeceased by his wife Shirley, his parents I.J. and Lola, and his brother Norm.
Finally Ronn would like everyone to know that his work here is done. He received a call, a sort of offer you can’t refuse, for an appointment from which he will not be returning. This assignment comes with a huge sign-on bonus, a reunion with his wife, family, and friends he has not seen in a long time.
Memorial services were Jan. 20 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Fort Collins.