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Military Send Off

January 12, 2017

The service for Jim Sr was today.

We met at the Adair Mortuary in Tucson: The three of us; Chad, Teresa and Brian; Marty; Michael and Marsue; John and Alan; Jason and Nicole (Mike & Marsue’s grandson & wife); Richard and Jeannie (Elisa’s siblings); John (Jeannie’s son); Bill and Joanne (Elisa’s niece and husband) ; Rod and Sandy (friends); and a few others I may have missed.

I believe this was my first experience with an open casket.

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It was actually okay. Quite interesting, even.

Teresa shared these comments:

Good morning.  Today we gather to celebrate the life of James Horace Frame, Jr.  Buddy, as the family called him when he was young, was born on January 6, 1925 at the family home in Lawrence, Kansas.  Born at home, he would tell us, so he could be near his mother.  He was the fourth child of what would eventually be a family of 11 children, 7 sons and 4 daughters, born to Lillian Ruth Hart and James Horace Frame, Sr.

Raised in the harsh years of The Great Depression our dad would tell us stories of growing up at a time when food was grown and preserved at home, shoes were purchased when school started in the fall, and family fun involved singing around the piano or making a batch of fudge.

Being city kids, my brothers and I were envious of the pets and farm animals Dad and his siblings got to enjoy: the milk cow, the pony, the chickens, the dogs and cats.  Little did we know the work involved in milking the cow twice a day, every single day, keeping the animals fed or processing those chickens for the dinner table.

Dad liked school and was a good student.  His High School Yearbook commented that he was “Smart in both work and play and always had a clever remark at hand”.  He loved to read and until the very end of his life he read voraciously, bringing home a bag full of books each week from the library.  He played baseball in school and American Legion Baseball when he was a little older.

The United States was at war when Dad graduated from high school.  He started college at the University of Kansas but soon joined the U.S. Army, and was assigned to the 99th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop.  He was sent to England and then to Belgium, eventually fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.  He shared with us stories of the hardships of war and of experiences that included complaining about conditions to the GI next to him in the shower and subsequently seeing that man put on an officer’s uniform – General Omar Bradley.

One story about Dad shared by our cousin Alan went something like this:  It was toward the end of the war, and a major battle had just been won or some territory taken and secured.  Dad and a few buddies had been in the field for quite a while, were maybe hungry, exhausted, unkempt, frustrated and probably a little angry.  A general encountered them and somewhat sternly asked “Don’t you men recognize that the Army has standards for grooming, cleanliness and professional appearance?” Dad answered “No.” The general was peeved that Dad hadn’t answered “No, sir” and shot back “No, WHAT?” to which Dad responded: “No soap.”

After V.E. Day Dad won a two-week pass to Paris.  He told his commanding officer that he did not have any money because he had sent it all home.  The officer pointed out that Dad had many cartons of cigarettes and it wasn’t long until he was on his way.  He remembered meeting a girl and having a wonderful time strolling through the Parc Monceau.

After returning from the war and finding it hard to settle down to normal life, Dad eventually joined the Coast Guard.  He was stationed in northern California and at a church social, following a parade where he was in the honor guard, he met Sonia.  They married in March, 1948.  Three children were born, Teresa, Jim III and Marty.  Dad’s brother, Dean, married Sonia’s sister, Annita, and they had five children, Marie, Alan, Monica, Mark and John.  The two families grew up living near each other, celebrating birthdays, going on picnics and camping trips, and spending days at the beach and to this day the two families and the eight double cousins have a strong attachment.

Sonia died in December, 1971 and our lives were turned upside down.  But fate smiled on Dad.  While visiting a friend he was reintroduced to Elisa whom he had known when he worked at Safeway.  On May 27, 1972 they were married in Pennsylvania and lived for the next year in Cherry Hill, New Jersey before returning to the Bay Area.

Dad had a lot of jobs over the years.  He worked nights at Safeway overseeing the data processing department.  He worked as buyer at Safeway, a food broker for Hamilton Stone, he sold insurance, real estate, real estate and travel agency franchises.  He once showed us his collection of company blazers and the drawer full of name tags from all those careers.  He was good at sales because he never sold anything that he did not firmly believe in himself and he could be very convincing.

Dad was a do-it-yourselfer and a tinkerer.  He worked on and off for years trying to perfect a word game that involved a race track and little metal horses and jockeys he called Tele-Stakes.  He and son Jim rewired the house on Cambridge Way.  He dabbled in woodworking.  He and Elisa had a house built in Safford, AZ and dad did all the finish work inside and built a block wall around the perimeter.

Dad was creative and wrote poems for special occasions.  On his 88th birthday he sent us poem modestly entitled, Ode to Me.  Dad loved to cook and for most of their 44 years of marriage he did the cooking and Elisa did the dishes.  He was creative and innovative in the kitchen and enjoyed the cooking as much as the eating.  Once at a grocery store when Elisa told a woman that Dad did all the cooking, the woman responded, “I want one of those!”

Most importantly Dad taught us what was important in life: to enjoy life, and the love of family, friends, and country.  I am sure he will be missed by all who knew him.  Thank you, Dad.  We love you.

People circulated, stood around in quiet conversation, sat with Elisa..

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Afterward, we headed to Marana Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, way out in the middle of lots of desert, cotton fields, mountains and saguaro:

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A shot from the commitment area … there were various branch insignias on the wall:

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Pallbearers–Brian, Jason, Marty, Michael, Chad and Jim carried the casket from the hearse to the cart, then the funeral home guy helped guide it to the commitment area:

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A bugle guy played Taps as the honor guard appeared. They presented the flag:

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Then came the ceremonial folding. They followed strict protocol… thirteen folds in all, choreographed stepping, precise hand movements and lots of fancy flourishes…

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And the presentation:

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It was very moving.

Here’s the unadorned casket:

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As we left, we observed the casket being taken out to where it will be placed in the ground:

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The plan was to reconvene at our house for the rest of the afternoon and evening–appetizers, dinner, conversation. On the way, we stopped at Whole Foods for a few dinner supplies:

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Spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with family… many, MANY stories were shared!

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Peter and I even played some basketball…

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Here are the only two remaining Frame brothers–Dean (age 87) and Michael (age 75). With Sandra (age 82 and unable to attend due to a back issue), they are the only three who remain of the eleven siblings.

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Then a few goodbyes…

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It was a great and fitting day. So happy to be with family.

4 Responses to “Military Send Off”

  1. ryland johnson Says:

    Hi Kari,

    You told a wonderful story of Jim’s dad’s memorial. Thank you for sending this to all of us.

    Love, Aunt Ellie

  2. Vicki Crescitelli Says:

    Beautiful commentary, Kari. Well done and heartfelt.


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