Joseph L. Frank, age 80, passed away on June 15, 2020, at his home in Fresno. He is survived by his wife of 40 years Jeanne Frank, his son Jason Frank, his daughter Jennifer Kornegay, half-brother Joseph M. Frank, seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Joseph was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1939 and graduated from Withrow High School at 17. He enlisted in the Navy in 1958 and was trained as an aviation fire control technician. Upon completion, Joe was assigned to a Naval Fighter Squadron in California to work on fighter plane missile guidance systems. For the next four years he served on aircraft carriers, including the USS Ticonderoga and USS Hancock in the Western Pacific, operating between the Philippines and Japan.
Shortly after Joe’s discharge from the Navy in 1962 he was hired by Bank of America for a management training program in San Diego. That was the start of a 44-year career with the bank which included domestic assignments in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Concord. He was able to combine his love of travel and his interest in international banking with overseas bank assignments, spending six years in Zambia where he met and married his British-born wife. Joe also spent four years in the Cayman Islands with intermittent assignments in Hong Kong over a three-year period. During his early years with the bank he studied for his Associate of Arts Degree at Grossmont Junior College and attended also UCLA on the Vietnam G.I. Bill.
While living in the Bay Area Joe developed a passion for birding and especially raptors. He volunteered for a number of years with GGRO (Golden Gate Raptor Observatory) helping to track the seasonal migration of birds of prey along the Pacific Coast, especially over the Marin Headlands. He was also on the board of directors of the Mt. Diablo Audubon Society. An interest in Buddhism that started from visits to Japan in the U.S. Navy led him to attend Spirit Rock Zen Center in Marin County.
After retirement from Bank of America in 2006, Joe and his wife moved from the Bay Area to Oakhurst in the Sierra Foothills so that he could be nearer to Yosemite National Park, where he had spent a lot of time in his early years hiking and climbing. It was a place which he felt could “heal and give strength to body and soul” (John Muir.) Joe continued to develop his interest in birds and joined the Board of Directors of Yosemite Area Audubon Society.
Joe also pursued his interest in ham radio, which had lain dormant since his time in the Navy, and joined the Mountain Amateur Radio Club (MARC), where he served as president of the club for three years. He was especially interested in the area of ham radio that provides emergency communication support. Joe was also an active participant in the CAL FIRE Volunteers in Prevention (VIP) Program, working on several Sierra Foothills wild fires, as well as the Red Cross Disaster Services group. For several years he was also the ARRL Emergency Coordinator for Eastern Madera County.
In late 2019 Joe and his wife relocated to Fresno to be nearer medical facilities.
Joe found his spiritual home at Bodhi Oak Zen Center in Oakhurst for the last three years which gave him great comfort and strength as he began to battle with the progressive lung disease that took his life.