Frank LeRoy Gage passed peacefully from this life into glory at age 83, on Monday, May 28, 2018, at Providence Portland Medical Center in Portland, Ore. He was surrounded by his loving family who will miss him ever so much.
Frank entered this world on May 5, 1935, when he was born to Elwyn Lloyd and Stella Mae (Still) Gage in Ventura, Calif.
“Frankie” spent much of his early life with his mom’s parents, as his folks were often gone picking whatever fruit was in season. While there, he was once bitten in the face by a small dog, and, thereafter, he had a preference for kitties.
When he was about 6 years old, he contracted spinal meningitis and was quarantined, where his parents could only wave at him from outside his room. He recalled that as quite a traumatic time.
His early life was centered around Ventura, Oak View, and Ojai, Calif. Though an only child, Frankie had cousins and friends who enjoyed roaming freely about their neighborhoods back then. Some of them remained friends for life. Others he reconnected with more recently through social media, and they enjoyed special memories and “catching up.”
During high school, Frank’s sport of preference was track. He excelled in running the short sprints and had good memories of that time. Afterwards, he joined the Naval Reserve then switched to the Air Force for seven years active duty. He was stationed in Japan for his first two years, where he became adept at judo and eventually earned a third-degree black belt. His last assignment was at Ent Air Force Base in Colorado.
While there, he became acquainted with The Navigators, a Christian-discipleship organization located nearby who ministered to the military personnel. It was there that he became a believer and accepted Christ as his personal Savior. Wanting to learn more about his new-found faith and sensing a call into some type of ministry, he petitioned for an early release from the Air Force to attend a Bible college. His petition was granted — much to everyone’s surprise!
His active-duty military service lasted from 1953-1960. It was while a sophomore at Azusa College in Azusa, Calif., that Frank met Joann Gordon. They began a friendship the first week after she arrived and were married three years later on August 28, 1964. Frank’s career experiences after college began with General Telephone Co. of Southern California. He progressed from cable-splicer to sales and then into marketing. After nine years, he wanted to leave California and found a marketing position with a small regional telephone company headquartered in San Francisco with an opening in Myrtle Creek, Ore. While in Myrtle Creek, Frank and Joann became part of a gospel-singing group known as the Son Shine Singers. When Frank was later transferred to the San Francisco area, the group disbanded. However, one couple, Ken and Charity Hays and family, also moved to California, so they continued to sing as a trio/mixed-quartet with Joann accompanying on the piano. Frank recalled those days with fondness and nostalgia. About three years later, Frank got a job with United Telephone of the Northwest, and they moved to Medford, Ore., near the company’s White City office.
In 1978, he was transferred to Hood River, Ore. Both Frank and Joann worked for United Telephone Northwest in Hood River, and they loved living with our majestic Mount Hood and Mount Adams in view and all the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge surrounding them. During the five years they lived in Hood River, a special young lady came to live with them. Stacey was a high-school sophomore, and she became like a daughter to them.
When the opportunity to work in Alaska for the Anchorage Telephone Utility came along, they moved again, this time to Wasilla. (Yes, they did meet Sarah Palin, but it was long before she became a household name.)
In many of the numerous places they lived, Frank would teach an adult Sunday School class and Joann would be the church pianist, among other responsibilities.
While in Alaska, Frank also made several telecommunications trips to the Russian Far East. He met some lovely people there who remain dear friends to this day. After living in Alaska for 11 years and commuting 100 miles each workday, retirement beckoned. They returned to Hood River in 1994 and have lived here since. Frank worked another couple of years with friends at Teleco Telephone Co. in Gresham before retiring from the industry for good. About 12 years ago, Frank took up the hobby of painting, which was a life-changing passion for him. Using acrylics as his chosen medium, he primarily focused on painting landscapes. He also tried to paint something every day. Ardis DeFreece became a favorite instructor and mentor; he also watched instructional videos by Jerry Yarnell, among others. Although sometimes referring to himself as a “wanna-be” artist, he developed his own style and many appreciated his work. Frank highly valued friends he made in the Hood River Art Club and enjoyed painting and sharing with them as long as he was able. He especially looked forward to displaying and selling his work at the April Blossom Craft Fair and the October Gorge Fruit and Craft Show at the Hood River County Fairgrounds along with the other Hood River Art Club members. Many customers there were special to him and several became treasured friends. He enjoyed fellowship with friends at the Church of the Nazarene in Parkdale and Hood River as well.
Frank is survived by his wife of almost 54 years, Joann Gage; the Methvins. Stacey, Tony, Dennis, Sarah, and Kameron; some cousins and more-distant relatives; and many special friends and acquaintances. His last kitty, 19-year-old Bootsie, also misses him.
Frank was loved and will be dearly missed by his family and many friends that he made through the years.
While we would like to have had him with us longer, God called him home, and we look forward to being reunited again one day.
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