April 6, 1947 - June 14, 2019
Clair R. Frank
March 30, 1942 – June 10, 2019
Clair Frank went home to be with his Lord on Monday, June 10th, 2019, after a long fight with illness.
Clair was a unique character, who according to his wife always “kept life interesting”. He was born to Christian W. Frank and Mae Rohrer Frank in Landisville, PA on March 30th, 1942. He had a twin brother, Carl, and two older sisters, Ruth and Elizabeth. Carl and Clair were the talk of the town when they were born in Landisville, with many visitors coming to see the Mennonite pastor’s new twins. According to Clair they were such quiet and well-behaved babies that their mother took them to the doctor to make sure they were healthy. (Their mother would not have to worry about such quiet behavior for long.)
After high school, Clair moved to Lebanon, Oregon to do alternative service in a hospital as a conscientious objector. He graduated from Hesston College. He attended Goshen College until being asked not to come back for voicing his strong opinions. He returned to Oregon where he joined Portland Mennonite Church and began working for Friendly House, a non-profit neighborhood center in NW Portland.
He settled into life in Oregon as a confirmed bachelor and an avid outdoorsman. One Sunday he invited himself over for lunch at the home of two young women who were new to the church, and began getting to know one of those women better through various church activities. One night he couldn’t sleep and went to her apartment to ask if they could begin dating. Not too long after, Clair married Gloria on August 30th, 1975. Three children followed in the coming years.
Clair worked in construction and sales, working for many years as an outdoor salesman for Elmer’s Flag and Banner. He was a member for many years of Portland Foursquare Church/Alongsiders Church. He served on the church council with three different pastors and with the church he served the Union Gospel Mission.
In all these settings, he loved good-naturedly giving people a hard time. He loved a good adventure and in his early years of marriage quit a job to go elk hunting and spontaneously accepted a job that required a sudden move (in just a matter of days) to a new town. He really enjoyed a good meal – especially one with his wife. He loved to give gifts, though he had eccentric ideas about what kinds of gifts people might actually like (especially when it came to his wife). He had no deep allegiance to any particular sports team, but could be counted on to root loudly against whatever team had the most fans in the room. When grandchildren were born, he jumped in with them as a big kid himself, with firework shows and games and ideas for trips and gifts that he was sure they would enjoy as much as he did. (He was right).
During the last few years of his life, he went through one painful and exhausting struggle after another: open heart surgery, prostate cancer, two hip replacements, melanoma, multiple falls, the onset of Parkinson’s disease, heart-failure, and finally colon cancer. He fought through all of this with relentless optimism, hope and faith. He didn’t complain, but was continually grateful to God and to those around him.
Clair was a man of strong opinions and a sometimes gruff exterior, who could be stubborn and loud. But he also had a twinkle in his eye and a tender and generous heart. He adored his wife, and loved his children, son-in-law and daughter in-law and grandchildren “so much”. The son of a pastor, he faithfully served Christ and His church throughout his life, and together with his wife befriended and helped many people in recovery. He particularly loved to worship in song and was particularly moved by stories of God’s healing work in broken lives.
He will be fondly remembered and sorely missed, until that day when we see him again.
He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Gloria; his son Justin and his wife Kellie, his daughter Juanita and her husband Matt, his daughter Kristen, and eight grandchildren. A memorial service/celebration of life will be held on Wednesday, June 19th, at 1 pm at Alongsiders Church, 2830 NE Flanders Street in Portland. Clair chose to wear color instead of black at his mother’s service because ‘heaven is a place of rejoicing.’ We think that is a good reminder for us. Clair chose to keep funeral costs minimal and instead prefers to invest in the recovery and treatment of victims of sex trafficking. calledtorescue.org was started by Cindy Romaine over 30 years ago and is active today. The website clearly explains their mission and provides a way to donate if you choose to join us in supporting them.