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Francis Gathman

Francis Gathman

Francis (Frank) Gathman, 82, of Detroit Lakes, died peacefully on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at Oak Crossing, Detroit Lakes.

A mass of Christian burial will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, April 7 in Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Detroit Lakes, with visitation for one hour prior to the service.

Interment will be held in Oak Grove Cemetery, with full military honors to follow.

Frank was born to Ted and Bernice (Zimmerman) Gathman in Anamoose, N.D., in 1932, and was the eldest of 11 children. The family lived mostly in Berthold, N.D., where Frank graduated from high school in 1950. He later graduated from teacher's college and taught for a short time before entering the U.S. Army in 1952.

Frank married Virginia Mahrer in July 1952. He was honorably discharged in 1954 and began attending classes at North Dakota Ag College (now North Dakota State University), graduating in 1959 with a degree in architectural engineering.

During college, Frank began working in the kitchen at the VA hospital. He later became a trainee in engineering and then, the assistant chief engineer, all at the Fargo VA hospital.

In 1962, he was promoted to the chief engineer position in Cheyenne, Wyo., and later served in the same role in Louisville, Ky., and Indianapolis, Ind.

In 1971, Frank was selected for the associate director program and began serving in more responsible roles in St Louis, Mo., Columbia, S.C., Washington, D.C., and North Chicago, Ill.

In 1978, Frank became the director of the VA hospital in Knoxville, Iowa, and served there until 1980, when he became director of the VA hospital in Fargo; he remained there until his retirement from the VA in 1986.

Frank worked for three years in the placement office at NDSU and was commandant at the North Dakota Veterans Home in Lisbon, from 1991 to 1993.

Along the way, Frank and Virginia had five children, all born in different states: Michael (Augusta, Ga.), Kristie, (Fargo), Tammy, (Cheyenne, Wyo.), Timothy (Louisville, Ky.,) and Patrick (Indianapolis, Ind.); and they also have 10 grandchildren along with three great grandchildren. All five children attended NDSU.

In addition to being a loving husband and dad, Frank liked hunting, golfing, and fishing. He also enjoyed woodworking, craftwork and tumbling rocks, and sharing the items he made with family and friends.

He maintained a strong loyalty to our veterans and was always interested in advocating and assisting his fellow vets.

Frank actively worked in the Detroit Lakes Veterans Invitational Golf Classic for several years and will have a special memorial at this year's tournament, held June 27, 2014. Frank is best remembered for his open friendliness and his ability to initiate conversation with anyone and make them feel special.

Preceding Frank in death were his parents; his sister, Kathy Moser; and daughter, Kristie Throgmorton.

Memorials can be made to the Disabled American Veterans, Lakeland Chapter 31, P.O. Box 950, Detroit Lakes, MN 56502.

David Donehower Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.