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Ignatius John ‘I.J.’ Frank

(Nov. 16, 1914 - Dec. 14, 2011)

Ignatius John ‘I.J.’ Frank died Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011, in Powell. He was 97.

I.J. was born Nov. 16, 1914 in Milwaukee, Wis., to Frances and Katherine (Lechman) Frank.

He went to school through the eighth-grade. On Dec. 27, 1938, I.J. married the love of his life, Lola Caskey, in Julesburg, Colo. The couple was approaching their 73rd wedding anniversary.

I.J. served in World War II for the U.S. Navy aboard the battleship USS Massachusetts. He returned several times to his ship reunions over the years.

Following the war, I.J. was part of the first group of veterans who homesteaded at Heart Mountain. I.J. lived at the family homestead since 1947. He was an excellent farmer and received numerous awards for his crop production. Lola worked as a teacher, housewife and helped on the family farm in many ways.

I.J. was instrumental in starting reunions for former internees of the Heart Mountain Relocation Camp and setting up a memorial at the site.

He retired in 1976 and he and Lola started their many travels with their fifth wheel and motor-home. They traveled with many friends and members of the Good Sam RV Club and Polecat Ramblers. They traveled from the Yukon to the tip of the Baja and from coast to coast many times.

I.J. was a member of St. Barbara’s Church, the Knights of Columbus and the Honor Guard. I.J. also was a member of the American Legion and served as commander of the Heart Mountain post for many years.

I.J. enjoyed traveling, fishing, woodworking and craftsmanship. He followed the Broncos and was an avid Rockies fan, spending several months a year in Arizona watching spring training.

He was an excellent father, and was very proud of his four children, 10 grandchildren and 16 great-grandkids. He enjoyed large family gatherings, which included his two brothers, seven sisters and many in-laws, nieces and nephews.

I.J. is survived by his beloved wife, Lola; son Ronn Frank of Fort Collins, Colo.; daughters LaVonne King of Powell and Carol Hart of Denver; sisters Sally Caskey of Powell, Barb Macht and Irene Lanckriet, both of Julesburg, Colo.; niece Patty Startin of Powell; nephew Mike Caskey of Billings; 10 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; son Norm Frank in 1980; great-granddaughter Skylar King in 2002; two brothers; four sisters; brother-in-law Don Caskey; and daughter-in-law Shirley Frank.

Funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21 at St. Barbara’s Church in Powell with Father Glen Szczechowski officiating. A viewing will take place prior to the funeral, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the church. A rosary will be recited at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20 at St. Barbara’s, with visitation one hour before the rosary. Burial will follow at Crown Hill Cemetery in Powell.

His grandchildren will serve as pallbearers, including Nick Frank, Brad King, Tracey Erker, Tami Ingram, Ryan King and Robbi Welch. Honorary pallbearers are Cindy Brokman, Laura King, Erica Clark and Chad Frank.

Memorial donations can be made to the Frank Family Scholarship Endowment and sent to the Northwest College Foundation, 231 West 6th St., Powell WY, 82435.

Thompson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements and online condolences may be sent to the family at www.thompsonfuneral.net.

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