Franklin Paul Klein, 77, died Monday, Feb. 26, 2007, at his home in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, from natural causes.
Frank was born in Madison, Ind., on May 16, 1929, to Frank and Thelma Klein.
He lived along the Ohio River and was an avid swimmer. He swam across the mile-wide river at the age of 8 with his uncle boating alongside.
Frank developed his strong work ethic at an early age. At 10, he worked on the proving grounds digging ditches during World War II.
At 14 he moved to Denver, Colo., with his mother and stepfather Robert Ward while Robert finished his internship in medicine. In 1946, when Frank was 17, the family moved to Eads, Colo., where he would meet his future wife and love of his life, Margaret.
Frank was a dapper young city boy and caught the eye of young Margaret. They married Sept. 11, 1948, and set up housekeeping in Eads where Frank tried his hand at many different jobs looking for his passion.
As many knew, Frank had a small wild side, and one of the most memorable moments in Eads history was the riding of his horse into the local drug store, much to the dismay of the pharmacist and local authorities.
After the birth of their son Dalas in 1950, Frank and Margaret moved to Wild Horse, Colo., where Frank went to work at the 120,000-acre JOD Ranch as a bronc buster and fence rider. In 1952 a second child, Dana Sue, was born on the ranch.
In the winter of 1954 the family packed up and moved to Bonners Ferry, where Margaret's parents had relocated to in 1951. They never dreamed the snow could be higher than the car. They lived in a one-room cabin with a dirt floor on the Moyie River near Good Grief, Idaho, which is still standing.
Frank tried his hand at lumberjacking and nearly felled his first tree on the little one-room cabin. He went on to become a well-known logger and sawyer in the Northwest.
In 1955 Frank and Margaret had another daughter, Tamra Jo.
Frank continued to work in the woods for various operations. Working in the logging industry, he learned to operate a jammer which introduced him to a career in line skidding.
Frank and Margaret's fourth child, Manon, was welcomed to the family in 1962.
In 1964 the family moved to Libby, where Frank continued his logging career as a gypo logger, employing several local young men through K-Line Logging. He later worked for Hanley Timber Company as woods boss and was instrumental in developing the new skyline logging technique.
Frank was an avid member of the Montana Logging Association.
In 1987, Frank, Margaret and Dana returned to Bonners Ferry. Frank continued to log for the next 10 years, utilizing a yarder that he and his son Dalas had built. He worked for several local logging contractors.
Retirement then came and along with that Frank's new career, fishing. Many will remember Frank most for his never-ending pursuit to catch the big one, and for his never-ending story about the big one that got away.
Everyone who knew Frank knew he was a family man first and foremost.
He was preceded in death by his father, stepmother Cece, sister Martha, uncles Paul and George Klein, aunt Martha Klein and uncle Don Hummel, all of Madison, Ind.; and his mother and stepfather Dr. Robert Ward of Holly, Colo.
He is survived by his wife Margaret, children Dalas Klein and wife Joanie, and Dana Klein, all of Bonners Ferry, Tamra Hanley and husband Brian of Hagerman, Idaho, and S. Manon Hughes and husband Alvah of Libby; grandchildren Tess Tessier and husband Michael of Trout Creek, Alek Croucher of Bonners Ferry, Chelsea Sanderson and husband Byron of Libby, and Andrew and Austin Davidson of Anchorage, Alaska; and great-grandchildren Corey and Nick Tessier, Sierra and Brittany Spangler, and AuRaya Azure.