Francis "Frank" Gathman, 82, a resident of Detroit Lakes, Minn., died peacefully, Wednesday, April 2, 2014, at Oak Crossing, Detroit Lakes.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday, April 7, at 10 a.m., in Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Detroit Lakes. Visitation will be held Monday, one hour prior to the Mass. Interment will be held in Oak Grove Cemetery, Detroit Lakes, with full military honors to follow.
Frank was born in Anamoose in 1932 to Ted and Bernice (Zimmerman) Gathman, and was the eldest of 11 children. The family lived mostly in Berthold, where Frank graduated from high school in 1950. He later graduated from teachers college and taught for a short time before entering the Army in 1952.
He married Virginia Mahrer in July 1952. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1954 and began attending classes at North Dakota Ag College (now NDSU), graduating in 1959 with a degree in architectural engineering.
During college, Frank began working in the kitchen at the VA hospital and later became a trainee in engineering and later the assistant chief engineer, all at the Fargo VA. In 1962, he was promoted to the chief engineer position in Cheyenne, Wyo., and later served in the same role in Louisville, Ky., and Indianapolis, Ind.
In 1971, Frank was selected for the associate director program and began serving in more responsible roles in St. Louis, Mo., Columbia, S.C., Washington, D.C., and North Chicago, Ill. In 1978, Frank became the director of the VA hospital in Knoxville, Iowa, and served there until 1980, when he became director of the VA in Fargo until his retirement from the VA in 1986.
Frank worked for three years in the placement office at NDSU and was commandant at the North Dakota Veterans Home in Lisbon, from 1991 to 1993.
Along the way, Frank and Virginia had five children, all born in different states, Michael (Augusta, Ga.), Kristie, (Fargo, N.D.,), Tammy, (Cheyenne, Wyo.), Timothy (Louisville, Ky.,) and Patrick, (Indianapolis, Ind.) and they have 10 grandchildren with three great grandchildren. All five children attended NDSU.
In addition to being a loving husband and dad, he liked hunting, golfing and fishing. He also enjoyed woodworking, craftwork, and tumbling rocks and sharing the items he made with family and friends. He maintained a strong loyalty to our veterans and was always interested in advocating and assisting his fellow vets. Frank actively worked in the Detroit Lakes Veterans Invitational Golf Classic for several years and will have a special memorial for this year's tournament held June 27, 2014. Frank is best remembered for his open friendliness and his ability to initiate conversation with anyone and make them feel special.
Frank was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Kathy Moser; and daughter, Kristie Throgmorton. Memorials may be made to the Disabled American Veterans Lakeland Chapter 31, P.O. Box 950, Detroit Lakes, MN 56502.
David Donehower Funeral Home, Detroit Lakes, is in charge of arrangements.