December 12, 1947 ~ December 26, 2020
Francis “Frank” Croal, 73, of Chico California passed away in his home of natural causes on December 26, 2020. Frank, the son of Charles and Virginia (Festler) Croal was born on December 12, 1947 in Fargo, North Dakota. His early school years through 8th grade were at Holy Spirit School in Fargo. Frank attended high school at the Assumption Abbey in Richardton, ND, graduating in 1965. His first year of college was at St. John’s University MN then finishing his degree in French in 1970 at North Dakota State University. Frank worked mostly as a union carpenter in North Dakota, Colorado, Alaska, Nevada and other states for the next 30 years. At 50 years of age Frank returned to school at Chico State in California to become a Physicians Assistant. Franks first PA job after graduation was Lompoc Federal Prison, a heck of a way to get your feet wet! Other positions as a PA were Battle Mountain, NV for 5 years and then in and around Chico CA area until retirement in 2019. His knowledge of many languages helped his passion for world travel. Morocco being his favorite haunt. He was a voracious reader, hiker and was becoming a very good finish carpenter. He created several pieces of beautiful fine furniture. Frank was fiercely independent which may have contributed to the misadventures that would often follow him. Those that knew and loved him called this the “Frank Factor.” Frank is survived by his brothers Chuck (Mary Pence) Croal of Bend OR and Pat (Kitty) Croal of Park Rapids MN, nephews Devlin and McKinley Croal, Bend OR, niece Meghan (Matt) Hicks of Charlottesville, VA and their 3 children Harper, Hayden and Hensliegh. Francis was preceded in death by his parents Chuck and Virginia Croal and sister-in-law Marti Croal. A memorial service will be planned at a later date.
My sympathy to Frank’s family and friends. Frank was a huge presence in a small package. From the time I was very young it did not matter how long it had been since Frank had called, I always recognized his voice on the phone. He some how filled the whole receiver, not with volume but with his personality. He will be greatly missed by many. Shannon
Dear Pat and Kitty,
I am so sorry for your loss…it sounds like Frank lead a full and exciting life much more than a lot of us get a chance too. May God be in your hearts and help you pass through this time with a peace that passes all understanding! Miss you guys!
Just saw this,spent a lot of time with Frank, and his brothers Chuck and Pat. So saddened by his passing. I was just thinking the other day that Frank usually calls when he gets back to Fargo usually in the fall and checks in to see where the good pheasant hunting is!
Fond memories hunting jack rabbits in the winter and of their big Airedale Goon ,that’s what he always called him not sure if he had another name.
RIP see you on the other side
Would see Frank every few years. We did a lot of bird hunting ever since high school. One time years ago in South Dakota, where Marti was staying while Chuck was working in northern Alaska, Frank was recovering from a broken leg and hunted all day with cast from his foot to his hip. Later Frank jolined our annual October pheasant hunting group in North Dakota.
We enjoyed his company and especally his stories from his travels all over the world. His love of John Wayne inspired his nickname “the Duke.”
We all will miss him and fondly remember all our time together.
Pat we were sorry to learn of your brother’s passing. You and Kitty are in our thoughts and prayers
I worked with Frank for several years at Ampla Health. Even though he had a decade more experience as a PA than I did, he would still call me up to talk about difficult cases of his. It meant a lot that he valued my opinion and it showed that despite his slightly gruff exterior that he really cared about his patients. When I got sick 4 years ago and became disabled he would continue to reach out to me every few months to see how I was doing. It really meant a lot to me. I hadn’t heard from him for a few months and had been excited by some progress that I had wanted to share with him. Devestating to hear this news.
I was devastated when I heard that Frank had passed away. He was one of the most rugged individuals I knew and I certainly didn’t expect him to leave us so soon. I have many fond memories of hunting with Frank and just hanging out in general. We shared a lot of good times together and most recently long talks by phone. I wish we’d been able to connect in Fargo but it just didn’t work out. Well wherever he is now I hope the pheasants are plentiful and the living is easy. Catch you on the backside my friend.
I had the pleasure of working with Frank at Ampla Health. I enjoyed working with him and his dry sense of humor. I was saddened to hear of his passing as I think of him often even hoping that I would see him out and about just to say hello. He always stood up for the staff and looked out for us. People would think he was just grumpy but that was just Frank. He was rough on the outside but had a big caring heart . I will remember him always.
I met Frank on a train, traveling from Italy to Barcelona in 1970. At a border, where train engines had to be switched, we were stalled for hours. I was walking through the coaches desperately searching for water. I passed Frank standing between cars, and he kindly offered me his bottle. We started up an interesting conversation while waiting for that train to get moving. As an east coast city boy, I was very curious to meet somebody from Fargo, North Dakota, and we exchanged interesting stories about our different lives. After finally arriving in Barcelona, we spent a fun day sightseeing together. Late that evening, Frank saw me off at the train station, as I was quickly moving on to the next destination on my European-circuit travels. I believe Frank was attempting to meet up with his brother(s) who were traveling someplace else in Europe. I always meant to look Frank up one day, but regrettably I never got around to it. For that I’m disappointed. However, I have a great recollection of that chance encounter – something I enjoy remembering.