Frank Joseph Burrell, Sr.
1928 - 2020
Frank Joseph Burrell, Sr. was born September 15, 1928 in Texas to William and Jovita Burrell. He moved with his family to Napa in 1929. He attended local schools throughout his childhood, graduating from Napa High in 1947. Frank enjoyed his time on the track & field team, and the varsity football team. His love of Napa sports teams continued throughout his life, attending both Napa and Vintage High Schools' sporting events for over 40 years, and playing in the Napa City Softball League for many years.
Frank married his high school sweetheart, Joan Cardwell, on August 7, 1948 in Reno, Nevada. They welcomed two children before he enlisted with and was called up by the United States Marine Corps, where he fought in the Korean War from 1950-52. Their third child was born in October 1952. While studying on the GI Bill, he received his A.A. from Napa Junior College.
Frank began his career in the steel industry in 1952 as a welder. During his tenure at Kaiser Steel, he was the President of the Kaiser Steel Management Club, President of the Kaiser Steel Golf Club, and was a 25-year member of the Kaiser Steel Recreation Committee. Frank and his wife lived in Ahwaz, Iran from May 1976 to December 1977 while Frank oversaw the assembly of a new pipe mill for the Shah of Iran. He felt pride in the part he played in Kaiser Steel Mills' construction of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), the Washington, D.C. Rapid Transit systems, and many other projects great and small. He retired in 1994 after 42 years in the industry as a Pipe Mill Superintendent with Kaiser/Oregon Steel Mills. Frank proudly shared that he was never late to work in his entire career.
During his retirement years he and his wife traveled the world over, enjoying many cruises and many rounds of golf. Some of the highlights of their travels were golfing at St. Andrew's in Scotland, attending the British Open in Ayr, Scotland and the Ryder Cup in Marbella, Spain (where Tiger Woods played in his first Ryder Cup tournament). He especially loved touring the U.S. historical sites, including Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, as well as National Parks. His love of cruises was only matched by his love for his wife. He kept a list of his favorite swing dance tunes in his wallet to give to the ship's bands to play, so he and Joan could dance the night away under the ocean sky.
Frank was a member of the Napa Moose Lodge for 20 years, a charter member of the Napa High Alumni Association, and a 20-year member of the selection committee for Napa High School's Athletic Hall of Fame.
Two of Frank's great personal milestones were celebrating his 90th birthday and 70 years of marriage. In fact, he exceeded his own expectations, living 92-years and enjoying 72-years of wedded bliss, nearly all in the Napa Valley.
Frank died peacefully at home on Monday, October 19, 2020. He was preceded in death by his father, William, his mother, Jovita, his sister, Winifred, and his brother, William. Frank is survived by his wife, Joan, and his brother, Robert (Rose); his son, Frank J. Burrell, Jr. (Janet), and their children Michele (Brett), Michael (Nataliya), John, Elizabeth (Greg), and Ryan (Monica); his daughter, Claudia Montalbano (Gary), and their children Camille (Benjamin), Megan (Luciano), and Carly; and his daughter, Nora Paoli (Greg), and their children Jen, Vincent, and Melissa. He also leaves behind his seven great-grandchildren: Aaron, Landon, Jasmine, Maxwell, Wyatt, Charlotte and Finn; and numerous nieces and nephews. Frank was liked by all who knew him and adored by those who knew him best. Language cannot express how profoundly he will be missed. He will forever be remembered as a 'helluva nice guy'.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Frank's name to the Napa Boys and Girls Club, the Napa High Alumni Association, or a charity of your choice. A celebration of Frank's life will be held on Friday, October 30, 2020, at 10:00 AM at the Tulocay Chapel, 411 Coombsville Rd, Napa, CA. COVID-19 precautions (facemask and social distancing) will be in effect.