Francis (Frank) William Thraen Jr., 80, of Ahwatukee, passed away on Tuesday, July 24 from Parkinson’s disease, after a long, wonderful, and fulfilling life. He was born on Aug. 30, 1931 in Miami, Ariz., to Virginia and Frank Thraen, Sr.
After attending Arizona State University, Frank served in the Air Force during the Korean War as a jet engine mechanic, followed by a successful 32-year career with Garrett Airesearch (later Honeywell), for 32 years, where he worked his way up from a test technician to manager of customer support and field service for Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
His career provided many opportunities for international travel, which included five years residence in Belgium and Germany with his family. In 1987 Frank achieved his goal of retiring at age 55 and was able to pursue his many interests and hobbies throughout his remaining 25 years, and celebrated his 50-year marriage to Frances (Fran) in 2011.
Frank loved to tackle difficult and challenging projects. He built the family home in south Tempe in 1965, and their mountain cabin in Prescott. After retirement he built his own kit car (Austin Healy replica), and had many adventures in it, as well as the family motor home, with Fran.
He also became interested in genealogy and researched and documented his and Fran’s families, reconnecting with long-lost relatives in Germany. Frank’s friends and relatives all benefited from his love of photography, as he filmed various weddings, parties, and many functions of the Ahwatukee Recreation Center.
He was a wonderful singer, played the guitar, and loved country music. Frank was respected by his co-workers, family and friends as a loving and generous husband, father and friend, donating his time and talent for the benefit of others.
He is survived by his wife, Frances; his children, Debra Farrell (Mike), Darryl Moore (Paige), Sheri Ramos, Phyllis Dumond (Paul), and Matt Thraen (Ronda); his grandchildren, Sean, Alyssa, Timmy, Tamara, Stephanie, Laura, Jennica, Griffin, and Ryan; his sisters, Noreen Patterson (Bob), Cheryl Kelly (Larry), and Marilyn Brewer. He was preceded in death by his son Mark.
A memorial service will be on Friday, Aug. 3 at 4 p.m., with a reception to follow at the Arizona Community Church, 9325 S. Rural Road in Tempe. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Frank’s name to Hospice of the Valley.