Lowell C. Frank
Lowell C. Frank, 85, passed away on June 8, 2015.
He as the husband to Mary Jane of Okauchee for 63 years, father to Corvin of Seattle, Wash., and grandfather to Evan of Pewaukee. Born in Pittsburgh in 1929, Lowell’s family moved to Illinois where he graduated from Thornton High School in 1948 to attend Thornton Junior College and the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Lowell was a mechanical and hydraulic engineer whose career spanned from the slide rule to the computer. A globally recognized private business owner for nearly four decades, his inventions were primarily environmental in nature, reduced fossil fuel consumption and promoted renewable resources resulting in multiple patents, trademarks and a worldwide lifetime of colleagues and friendships.
He was a top championship skipper in multiple classes of inland scows, ice boats, windsurfers and a founding member of the drylake land yachting industry. His six-decade love of engineering, experimentation, prototype development and design improvements were adopted by manufactures and the sailing community at large. Lowell consistently placed in the top rankings of the nation’s invitational regatta including wins against America’s Cup championship skippers and crews.
Lowell’s lifetime love of flying started as a boy of 14. In lieu of wages, he bartered flight time for his line boy duties from his local airport owner resulting in certifications in over 16 various airplanes, gliders and power plants. He was a pioneering aviator who owned and restored several vintage home-built airplanes as well as piloted his private aircraft on cross country flights for business or just going out for breakfast with friends. Known for introducing the joys of flight to countless youngsters at fly-ins, he would spend hours giving rides and telling stories under the wing when the weather did not cooperate. He made an annual flight from Brodhead to the EAA in Oshkosh. His family was proud to present him with the honor of flying on the last flight the Air France Concord made before the program’s retirement.
Later in his career and in retirement, Lowell mentored for 10 years at various competitions and events for the Oconomowoc High School’s robotics team. His engineering education contributed to the team’s successes and challenges from concept to a finished model.
In retirement, Lowell worked as a volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul’s in Oconomowoc and was known for taking electrical and mechanical donations and repurposing them for others to enjoy.
Lowell also held an honorary life membership to the Tripoli Shrine.
Lowell and his wife were world travelers on five different continents. From the Panama Canal to hiking in New Zealand to the black sand beaches of Hawaii or the modern architecture of Dubai, his love of other cultures only increased after each trip. Even adventures closer to home would provide a lifetime of memories including circumnavigating Lake Michigan in an 18-foot sail boat over the summer at age 16 with his older brother Jim. A Boy Scout compass and a second-hand sextant would provide direction in open water when they lost sight of land. At night they would pitch a tent on the beach and cook on an open fire before charting the next leg of their adventure.
As a Korean War veteran, Lowell was a mechanic and tactician in the U.S. Army tank division. Upon his successful tour of duty he returned to the U.S. and was stationed at Fort Knox in Kentucky until his honorable discharge.
The family would like to thank AngelsGrace of Oconomowoc and Lowell’s friends for their support and kindness.