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Francis (Frank) Anton Schretlen


1920 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Francis (Frank) Anton Schretlen Obituary

Francis (Frank) Anton Schretlen peacefully crossed over to be with our Lord God Almighty on June 25, 2014, in Alamogordo, with family and friends at his side.

His was a life well-lived. Frank had a strong faith, a family that loved him and believed in the good in all people. He was born in Staten Island, N.Y., on July 25, 1920, to Elizabeth Margaret Purcell Schretlen and Franciscus Antonius Maria Schretlen.
As an infant, he immigrated, with his parents to Nijmegen, Netherlands, where his father's family lived and operated a family business. Frank was a survivor of two Gestapo prisoner of war camps, during World War II, and a very strong-willed, stubborn Dutchman. He was the oldest child of ten children and lost a sister, Mary, and brother, Geradus (Bluffie) in the Feb. 22, 1944, bombing of Nijmegen.

He graduated from Handelsschool with a degree in Business Accounting in 1938. He was drafted in September of 1939 into the Dutch army as a member of an anti-tank battery. He served until the surrender of Holland to Germany in May 1940. He spent the war years working for his father mostly in the Ruhr area of Germany, which enabled him to conduct underground activities for the Dutch resistance movement, which included returning forced laborers to their home countries. In 1942, Frank was held by the Gestapo on charges of "sabotaging the German economy." (It is unknown if his second incarceration by the Gestapo occurred before or after this, only that "we just walked out one day.") After his release in 1942, he continued to assist the resistance efforts until Holland was liberated in 1944.

Following the war, Frank lived and worked in The Hague, Netherlands, then repatriated to Staten Island, N.Y. in 1948, where his family had settled a few years before. In 1953, anxious to leave the "rat race" of New York city, he was offered a position as an electrician's helper in Bartlesville, Okla. The job didn't pan out, but he was able to find employment with Firestone Tire and Rubber Company as an office manager. He accepted a transfer to Hobbs in August of 1955. While in Bartlesville, he met his bride of 53 years, Dorrel Sue Limberg, on a blind date; they married in October 1955. Together, they raised three children in Hobbs. When the family was on vacation in 1965, they found peace in the mountains of southern New Mexico, near Cloudcroft, and purchased some land in the Pineywoods Estates, where the family spent many years building a cabin, relaxing in the cool pines, enjoying the weekends and making memories. Frank was ordained a deacon of the Catholic Church (Diocese of Las Cruces) on May 8, 1982. He served in that capacity at St. Helena's parish in Hobbs, Sacred Heart in Cloudcroft and St. Jude's in Alamogordo. Frank also had a propensity for languages. He spoke English, Dutch, German, French and Spanish, the last of which he learned while in his 60s.
Frank and Dorrel shared a passion for traveling and did so extensively after their retirement, logging many miles in their motor homes, and visiting family and friends across the world. During one of these trips they found themselves in San Felipe, Mexico, and chose to build a little casa there. They enjoyed calling San Felipe their winter home for nine years. After selling their Mexican casa and their motor home, they spent the winter months in Casa Grande, Ariz., and the summers at their cabin in Pineywoods. Dorrel preceded Frank in death in April 2009.

Frank is also preceded in death by three brothers, Gerardus (Bluffie), Henricus (Henry) and Edward, a sister Mary, and a nephew, Francis Callan.

He is survived by his children: Janet (Ed) Doherty (Placitas), Pamela Wright (Pooler, Ga.), and John (Renee) Schretlen (Waxahachie, Texas); grandchildren Matthew (Mitzi) Wright (Alamogordo), Sarah Wright (Lakewood, Colo.), Hannah (Paul) Huntsberger (Lakewood, Colo.), Bayley Schretlen (San Angelo, Texas), Kensey Schretlen (Lubbock, Texas); many nieces and nephews; sisters Helen Callan (Highstown, N.J.), Agnes Bauerlein (Oshkosh, Wisc.) , Celine Pelly (Asheville, N.C.), Jossy Eyre (Denver, Colo.), and Betty Standiford (Denver, Colo.)

He possessed a survivor's spirit and an exceptional ability to remember names, places and dates, which he generously shared with others in the telling of stories.

He will be well missed. Thank you, Daddy, we love you. See you on the other side, Frank.
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from July 4 to Aug. 3, 2014
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