Richard Frank
1927 - 2012
Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home
415 Illinois St.
Fairbanks, AK
Respected Native leader and elder, Richard Frank, 85, died Thursday morning at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
A Fairbanks funeral service will be held at noon Monday at Chief David Salmon Tribal Hall, with visitation beginning at 11 a.m. A final funeral service and burial will be held Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, in Minto.
Richard Frank was born Aug. 2, 1927: a time when a nomadic subsistence lifestyle was paramount for survival; a time when his family moved across the lands of Rampart, Stevens Village and Minto, the homeland of his parents, Justin and Lucy Frank; a time when elders trained youths on the skills and technique of using a bear spear; a time when grandmothers paddled their canoes from Old Minto on the Tanana River to fish camps on the Yukon River; a time when dog teams were the primary means of transportation; a time when he hunted to feed the family and the entire community.
This early training set the path and philosophy that Richard followed throughout his life: a strong work ethic, a sense of place, service to his community, and fierce independence and a competitive spirit that he gifted to his children, grandchildren and those fortunate enough to have known Richard Frank.
The youngest of 10 children, Richard became involved in community projects at a young age. He participated in a local youth club, similar to the Boy Scouts, where he assisted the elders by cutting their wood, hunting for them, hauling their water, and helping the elders any way he could.
He understood the value of hard work, and at age 13, he chose to join the workforce. He walked from Old Minto to Nenana, a distance of 30 miles, to look for work. He got a job with the Alaska Railroad working between Nenana and Cantwell. Richard once recalled how he would sometimes quit working for the day so he could play cops and robbers with boys his own age.
By the time Richard turned 18, America was embroiled in World War II. He did not hesitate to join military service. He enlisted into the Army Air Corps and served in the Pacific theater. This experience further solidified Richard's character and philosophy of service to his people.
While in the military, Richard took advantage of the opportunity to train as an airplane mechanic He worked as an aircraft mechanic for Wien and Boeing, and later worked lucrative assignments on the North Slope. Richard also worked on the "steamboats" that plied the Tanana and the Yukon River carrying freight to remote communities.
The winter months found Richard training and racing sled dogs with his good friend and mentor, Gareth Wright. His competitive spirit exposed him to many of the legends of sled dog racing. His love for sports was larger than self recognition as a "winner." Richard gave back to his community by coaching softball teams for many years. Many young adults today credit Richard with their success; he was the coach who encouraged them to do their best in life, not just on the ball field.
Richard's commitment to community and place was challenged in the 1960s with concern for Native rights and Alaska Native land issues. Once again he took the teachings of his people to guide him in well-articulated advocacy for Alaska Native rights and the Alaska Native land claims. He served as chief of the Minto Tribal Council, president of the Minto Village Corp., on the Board of Tanana Chiefs Conference, where he served as an elder statesman for many years.
Richard is survived by his wife of 57 years, the Rev. Anna Frank; daughters Roxanne and Robin Frank; sons Parker and Darrell; sister Sarah Silas; grandchildren Linda Warren and her children, Fran Denham and children, Gilbert, Mark, David Amanda, Clinton, Alicia, Dylan, Briana, Gordon, Boe Holly, Maureen, Adrienne, and Ryland; great-grandson Dax; and a large extended family and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Jason, Jeff, Alfred, Mike, and Arthur,; and sisters Hazel Charlie, Mary Frank and Lorrain Tennison.
Arrangements are entrusted to Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home.

Published by Daily News-Miner on Sep. 23, 2012.
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Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home
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10 Entries
Dear Robin, my condolences to you, your family and the community for the loss of your precious father. My thoughts are with you.
Julia Quist
September 26, 2012
Condolences to the Frank family.
James & Janet Afcan
September 25, 2012
It was wonderful how you honored Richard with the potlucks and preparations for his burial. Many people were touched by the respect the family showed for his passing and I am one of them.
Joanne Wallis
September 25, 2012
My prayers are with your family. He was a wonderful person and we were lucky to have him in our lives.
Jeanette Scannell (Roberts)
September 24, 2012
My condolences to the family. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Karlene John, Juneau.
September 24, 2012
Leaning on the everlasting arms: family and children of Richard, and his beloved Anna. Richard was a steady, steady force for so many. Thank you, Minto ancestors and elders for raising up a Native Son who in turn has helped encourage and guide the way for so many, many others. We salute you this day, Richard Frank for your dedication and life well lived; peaceful journey.
Mishal Gaede
September 24, 2012
Prayers are with Anna and family for your loss. richard was a wonderful inspiring person whom I have always looked up to.
Aggie (Lord) Britt
September 24, 2012
Our condolonces to the family Richard was an asset to the state of Alaska he will be missed I worked with Richard in the Alaska Native Veterans Association thanks to Benno I hope thisveterans group will continue to grow it is a product of great men as Richard was one of those men
Dana Nachtrieb
September 24, 2012
Take comfort in knowing that now you have a special guardian angel to watch over you.
ted charles
September 24, 2012
Keeping the family in my prayers. When i was growing up in Ruby. I remember seeing Richard working on the river boat,when it landed in town. We would all run down to the river bank to see what was coming off the boats. God Bless!
Bernice Gurtler Ayscue
September 23, 2012
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