Perpetual Plan B

Saturday, August 29, 2009

John Wayne Fronk 1919-2009

My sweet father-in-law passed away early this morning after a long, painful battle with prostate cancer and other ailments. He was 90 years old.

While he might not be described as sweet by many other people, he was always very kind and loving toward me, which I've greatly appreciated. I feel like I've lost a kindred spirit, as we share a lot of the same personality traits, some of which other people don't always understand or appreciate.

My father-in-law lost his mother when he was young, to Parkinson's disease, so I think a lot of his life was spent looking for that same kind of love that he missed out on as a boy.

He had a wonderful sense of humor. One of the first things he said to me when Hal and I became engaged was, "Do you think you can keep him in the manner to which he is accustomed?" I, not knowing him all that well yet, gulped and squeaked out a terrified, "No, but I'll try." He grinned at that response.

One other thing that stands out in my mind is how kind he was to me the day I about burned his tongue off. The family was at my house for a baby blessing (or maybe a baptism). Hal's family is fond of drinking Mate', which all started on Grandpa Fronk's mission to Argentina. That day I said I'd make him a Mate' but I didn't realize you weren't supposed to boil the water before you served it. He took one long drink on the bombilla (metal straw) and immediately spit it out. I can't remember exactly what he said, but it was kind. I'm sure he suffered for days with a burnt tongue but I never heard another word about it.

He also loved shopping. When he was healthier, Grandpa Fronk would buy all sorts of treasures, year round, which he would distribute mainly at Christmas time. The children and then the adults would have a "trunk opening" where an item would be held up to (hopefully) be claimed by someone who would be excited to receive it. You never knew when you might come home with a new frying pan, an address book or five bottles of fingernail polish. We got many good articles of clothing and some fun toys from those trunk openings. He loved a good bargain and many years there would be multiples of any given item. A lot of times he would get matching sweatshirts or sweaters for the men or the women. Grandpa always really loved high heeled shoes and loved to buy them for Grandma.

Books played an important part in Grandpa Fronk's life. He loved reading and learning. He stressed education strongly to his children. He read a great deal as long as he physically could. He would walk to the library in Tremonton almost every day to see what books they would be foolish enough to sell for twenty five cents each. It would not be unusual for him to come home every day with two big sacks full of books, much to Grandma Fronk's chagrin.

One thing we all know for sure is that family was the most important thing to Grandpa. Since he didn't have much of a strong family support growing up, he knew he wanted his children to have a better home life. He worked hard to give them material blessings, but most importantly he taught them the gospel and gave them strong family ties. I've never seen a family that is more loyal and devoted to one another. That is truly a great legacy to leave.

It was so difficult to see him struggle the last couple of years and also to see how hard it was for Grandma Fronk to take care of him. We know he is now with his mother, making up for lost time and also at peace from his physical pain.

Grandpa Fronk, we love you and will miss you so much.


Lacey said...

Holly, that was a beautiful tribute. I'm so sorry for you loss. He sounds like a wonderful man that touched the lives of many people. I'm glad that you have so many fun and happy memories to treasure with him. I hope you find peace in the knowledge that he is in a better place and that you will be with him again someday.

The Gathering Place said...

It is hard to let loved ones go, but it is also hard to see them suffer. I guess we take our memories with us and keep them alive in our traditions and values. Good thing we have our religious beliefs. (I hope I spelled that correct.)

Sheri said...

This was very nice to read. He lived a good long life. He can be thankful for that. Hugs to you all!

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