Franklin Dee Hightower, the only child of Bernice Cadwallader and George Ewing Hightower, was born on March 14, 1947, in Oregon City, Ore. He went to live with his Heavenly Father on Thursday, April 5, 2018, after suffering a cardiac event. He was 71 years old.
He had three half-brothers and two half-sisters by his mother’s first marriage to Willard Wilson: Willard Jr., Donald, Jimmy, Bobbie Jean and Marcella Jean Wilson. Frank also had half-sister, Grace Hightower, by the earlier marriage of George Ewing Hightower to his first wife, Pansye.
Frank and his family moved to Seattle, Wash., where his dad worked as a welder in the Naval Shipyards and his mother worked as a cook. Frank developed a love of cooking and especially enjoyed baking. At a young age, Frank developed an outstanding work ethic. He obtained a job delivering newspapers for the Seattle neighborhood where he lived. He rode his bicycle to deliver the papers, barely able to keep it upright under the weight of the canvas newspaper carrier bags, prior to school each day.
While attending Garfield High School, he won a “place” in the Scholastic Art Awards Competition in 1962 from Fredrick and Nelson in Seattle. His creation was displayed in their Exhibition Hall in February and March of 1962.
Frank graduated from Seattle’s Garfield High School in 1965. He met Linda Hurlbert shortly out of high school while she was visiting in The Dalles, Ore. After a brief courtship, they married and moved to Montana, where he worked in several different jobs, including farming and construction.
Following their divorce in 1973, he met Pauline Mattson in Goldendale, Wash. They lived in Goldendale, Vancouver and White Salmon, Wash., finally settling in Oregon, where they eventually purchased a home in Mt. Hood-Parkdale. They had three children, Justin, Aaron and Lacey Hightower.
During their marriage, he did many jobs to provide for his family, including auto body repair, sawmill worker, logging and finally after an injury, went to school and obtained his cosmetology license from The Dalles School of Beauty. He said that many times he wanted to quit, but he would not give up. This was a testament to his determination to succeed.
He started work as a hairstylist at Judy’s Hair Cottage, he then moved to Pat’s Beauty Bar, working with Pat Roth and Doris Greenough, among others. He worked a short time for Hair Fashions and at Down Manor doing men’s and women’s hair. Everyone enjoyed Frank’s hair cutting expertise, ability to relate to the people he met and how he provided laughter with his comments and jokes.
After separating from his wife, he met Geri Murray and they became friends. After a long period of dating (18 years), they were married on Oct. 25, 2008.
Frank is survived by his sons, Justin Dee, Aaron Matthew and daughter Lacey Renee Hightower; grandchildren Abigail Belle (Justin), Alexis Rayne and Koby Dyce Hammett (Lacey); his wife Geraldine Murray and two step-children, Kathryn Rhea Murray and William Guy Dupree Murray (Jaime Silva Murray and their son, Jackson Wayne).
He was preceded in death by his grandchild Chance Wayne Hammett; father George Hightower and mother Bernice Cadwallader Wilson Hightower; and half-siblings and grandparents on both sides of his family.
Frank Hightower was a one-of-a-kind person. He always tried to be upbeat and positive, regardless of the situation. He wanted to be kind to everyone and although sometimes he had very strong opinions, he always respected the opinions of others.
He had the Lord in his heart from a young age, being introduced to the bible from two inspiring teachers, Mr. and Mrs. Pottinger, who ministered with the Gospel Mission in Seattle. He could still recite by memory many scriptures he learned during that time and always gave credit to them for leading him to Jesus. His favorite was “The Lord’s Prayer,” which he knew by heart. He also very much enjoyed the poem “Footprints in the Sand” and was known to hand these out to his friends and family. Over the years, he followed his heart and searched for answers through many different religions.
Frank was an avid reader of all kinds of books, especially those involving self-improvement and religion. This led him to continue to study the King James Bible and subsequently the Book of Mormon. Both, along with prayer, gave him the strength to bear his infirmities and brought him closer to the Heavenly Father. In 2008, through the efforts of the missionaries, he felt the Spirit speak to his heart and he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
A viewing will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, April 13at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1825 May St., Hood River. A service will be held at 2 p.m. and a reception will follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his name can be made to the American Cancer Society (P.O. Box 22478 Oklahoma City, OK 73123).
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River. Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.
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