Monday, July 18, 2005
It is with sadness that I take a moment today to announce the passing of my Grandpa Frank. He passed away yesterday in the home he has lived in for over 60 years, surrounded by his children and grandchildren. While the official cause of death will most likely be listed as kidney failure, Frank was 94 - or as he liked to insist - in his 95th year. His death, while not un-expected, leaves a void in the lives of those he touched that is unlikely to be filled.
All men die, but few men truly live. Frank was a man who truly lived.
Born in 1911 to Danish immigrants, he learned a strong work ethic early in life. He often said he came from good stock and made sure his children and grandchildren understood what it meant to work. He expected much from us, and I'd like to think we've done him proud.
He saw and witnessed much during his many years. When Frank was born, the only thing flying in the skies above him were the birds. During his life he read about the Wright Brother's slipping the surly bonds of earth. Man broke the sound barrier, journeyed to the moon, and made space travel a habit while Frank was with us. His descendants include Navy and Air Force pilots.
Frank was an avid Scouter. He encouraged all of his sons and grandsons to join and progress through the ranks of the Boy Scouts of America. While I cannot give a concrete number as to how many Eagles can be counted among his progeny, but I know of at least 12. Franks scouting awards include the Silver Beaver, Buffalo, and Fox. Last year, evidently upon learning Frank was still alive, the Boy Scouts saw fit to give him an award I have never seen before. Numerical year pins are (or at least were) given out for years of service. Some people have 10 year pins, fewer have 25 and 30 year pins. Frank has a pin for 85 years of service.
He met and married the woman I would come to know as Grandma LaRae while he attended Utah State University. They lived through the Great Depression and World War II early in their marriage. Frank was too old (even back then) to be drafted for military service. He never really spoke of what he did during those years. One day, as I was looking for something else at his house, I stumbled upon a signed certificate thanking Frank for service to his country. I asked him about it. Turns out Frank was one of the many thousands of people working on the Manhattan Project. For those of you unfamiliar with that historical reference, those are the people who created the Atomic bombs that ended World War II.
Frank was very unassuming about his role. He did what his country asked of him. They all did.
He and LaRae would go on to raise six children. He held many different jobs before finally becoming a safety inspector of sorts for a well known insurance company. In the years immediately following World War II they bought a small house in the Sugarhouse neighborhood of Salt Lake City. His job required him to inspect many a building in Salt Lake City, including the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Many stories are told of the inspiration that went into that building. Frank got to witness the uncovering of many of them. Engineers were very concerned about the work required to install elevators in the Temple, as it is built out of granite. Frank tells many a story about their relief when they found shafts had been left in place - ready for the as yet un-invented elevators. The shafts were exactly the right size for the first elevators. When new elevators were to be installed - they were larger than the originals and left no room for the counter weights. It took several weeks to chisel a out a space for the counter weights. One can only imagine how long it would have taken to blast the shafts into place.
Of all the things Frank taught me, there are two that stand out most in my mind.
First, its important to be able to make a decision.
When my family moved to Colorado and purchased our first house, we decided to wall off a section of the downstairs basement to create another bedroom. In order to do this we had to create a door where a wall existed. Mother Cordeiro (Frank's daughter) was unsure of exactly where to put this door. After about an hour of her indecision, she went over to a point in the wall and said, "Maybe this would be a good spot for the door. But I'm not sure."
She then turned her back for a second, furrowing her brow. From behind her came a large CRACK! Frank had taken his hammer and punched a hole in the sheet rock. "The door goes here," he stated. Then he went to work.
Second, think for yourself.
I was in the middle of moving myself, and my family (which at that time consisted of the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro and the very young Corderinho) from Montana to California. Mother and Father Cordeiro had tried (and failed) to convince me that Utah would be as good a place to go to grad school as would be California. As was my custom any time I was in Salt Lake City, I passed by Frank's house. He was sitting in his usual spot - by the window overlooking the front porch - and we had the following exchange:
Frank: So you're moving to California.
Me: Yep, Grandpa. Got the truck loaded up and we're ready to go.
Frank: Your mother probably thinks you have rocks in your head.
Me: That she does.
Frank (after a very long pause): Well, at least they're your own rocks.
I should mention here that Frank quelled Mother Cordeiro's fears about my marrying the young woman who would become the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro. He simply told his daughter "Cordeiro needs to marry this girl." That was the end of that.
As marriages go, Frank had a very discerning eye. Most, if not all, of his grandkids would bring their prospective mates by to meet him. Some passed his tests. Some were weighed in the balance and found to be wanting. None of those found to be wanting made the cut. Rumor has it they didn't bring chocolate.
Frank was preceded in death some 25 years ago by his beloved LaRae. Reunited after such a long separation, they are no doubt enjoying each other's company in the eternities.
There are many, many more parts of Frank's life I want to share, and perhaps someday I'll get around to writing them down before memory fades. For now, let me just say farewell, Frank. We'll miss your wit, your wisdom, and your company. You were surrounded by loved ones here on earth and are no doubt surrounded by them now.
Rest well, you've earned it many times over.
I hope there's a good internet connection up there so he could read your moving tribute. He really sounds like the kind of Grandpa you'd really miss. I'm sorry for your loss.Post a Comment