Obituary:Franklin Earl Bigelow
Franklin Earl Bigelow, 82, peacefully passed away at Mid-Valley Hospital July 31, 2012. He had been a resident of Valley Care Center in Okanogan for the last 11 months.
Frank was born at home on Sept. 4, 1929 in Withrow, Wash., to Earl and Clara Bigelow. He was the first of four children. The house he was born in still stands. He visited the old farm one last time two years ago. He grew up there until moving to the Omak area in 1942.
Frank joined the Army January 1950. He was a decorated Corporal in the Korean War and specialized in intelligence and communications.
After returning home, he married Lois Woodward on Sept. 21, 1957. Together they raised their family on a small farm just outside of Omak.
Frank held various jobs from the logging industry when he was a young man, to Boeing and then Biles-Coleman. He took over the delivery of the Seattle Post Intelligencer and Seattle Times newspapers upon the retirement of Clarence Pracht. He exponentially increased his newspaper route to include Chelan, Bridgeport, Oroville, Conconully and all towns in between. He drove newspapers in all types of weather imaginable. Many times he notified the State Patrol of treacherous road conditions. This kept him on the road for 30-plus years.
He had many interests, with Ham Radio being his favorite. He was an active team member of those dedicated men who, still to this day, volunteer to maintain a repeater atop Omak Mountain for Ham Radio operators.
During the Mt. St. Helens eruption, he used his skills in short wave radio to transfer messages to and from concerned family members and other workers.
Frank was a lifetime member of ARRL, the Grange, and Emergency Services Workers.
He was a member of MARS, the Military Affiliate Radio System.
He volunteered for the S.T.O.K.E.R. race every year.
In 1985, he completed courses in basic law enforcement reserve training. Shortly after graduation, he volunteered for the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office as a jailor, security during the Omak Stampede, and transport person. During this tenure, he taught himself to fluently speak Spanish.
After the passing of his father in 1983, he lived with and lovingly cared for his aging mother.
Frank was preceded in death by his father and mother; lifelong friend, Kenny Sack; and half-brother, Bill Bigelow.
Frank is survived by his wife of 54 years, Lois; two sisters, Barbara Hammer of Riverside, and Gwen Evans of Wenatchee; one brother, Albert of Coulee City; half-brother, Jim Bigelow of Cashmere; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He also leaves behind a daughter, Debra of Okanogan; a son, Robert of Missoula, Mont.; grandchildren, Mariah, Jarod, Lauren, and Rachel; and three great-grandchildren.
A military graveside service is scheduled for Sept. 4, his birthday, at 1 p.m. at Okanogan Memorial Gardens on Conconully Highway.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Spokane Honor Flight. This charity pays for World War II and Korean veterans to fly to Washington, D.C. and see the Veterans Memorial which was put up in their honor.
Precht-Harrison-Nearents Chapel is entrusted with the arrangements.