Frank Newbury’s final road trip is underway. “Huckleberry's” log book entry shows the journey began August 10, 2020, at 1:45 p.m. Though he had no passengers on this last journey, Frank was not alone. For much of his life Frank was a professional driver, whether logging, or over the highways driving a semi, or as a tour bus driver in the U.S. and Canada. The time he spent in Alaska was part of his soul. It was never particularly easy being Frank. He often had a bur on his seat but through it all his charm endured. Tour bus patrons loved his stories of the road and each unique experience he shared from his millions of miles of journeys along life’s roadways. Executives asked for him by name. Railroaders were delivered, perhaps with some trepidation, to and from their assignments. Frank was often called upon to safely ferry our children to sporting and other events across the state. In 2007, as Frank was bringing our high school tennis team back from the state tournament in Miles City, a vehicle pulled alongside near Columbus and held up a sign that smoke was coming from the back of the bus. Frank wasn’t able to immediately pull off due to the ribbon of guardrail, but he sternly announced to the students that as soon as he could stop, they needed to urgently depart the bus and take nothing with them. The students did exactly as instructed--moments later the bus was engulfed in flames. For his efforts, Frank was named the Hero of the Year by the Montana Public Transportation Association; his award trophy was never far away. The tennis team later presented Frank a Whitefish letterman’s jacket, of which he was immensely proud.
Frank served in the Sea Bees in the U.S. Navy and became a masterful electrician. His wiring was a work of art. While in the Navy, Frank married his sweetheart, Carol Hedman, who passed away on Good Friday this year. They brought 4 children into the idyllic community of Whitefish, and raised them well—Jeanne Briette (Lou), Ron, Russ (Loralee) and Gail Franks (Mark).He had 14 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. Frank was never far from his companion of many years, Sally Nelsen, for whom his children, and Frank, are eternally grateful.
Frank was preceded in death by his father Frank and step Father Les, his mother Mary, and Sisters Barb and Geraldine. Brother Jerry and Sisters Carol, Mil and Helen each played a pivotal role in Frank’s life as well, and carry on. Frank’s last home was administered by the wonderful people at the Montana Veterans Home in Columbia Falls, and in his last months in his apartment, he was cared for by Meals on Wheels and Frontier Hospice. Frank’s children cannot extol their virtues enough.
As Huckleberry rolled through Heaven’s Gate, to Jesus’ embrace, Frank said, “I’ll see y’all on the flip-side.” Ten-Four, Huckleberry…
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