- 67 years old
- Date of birth: Jan 23, 1947
- Date of passing: Aug 1, 2014
|Let the memory of Frank be with us forever|
All friends and family are invited to a
Memorial Service & Celebration of Life
to be held at
Woodley Lakes Municipal Golf Course
Van Nuys, CA
Sunday, August 24th
2 pm to 5 pm
This memorial website was created in Frank's memory.
We encourage all family and friends to contribute stories, photos, fun anecdotes, and personal rememberances to be shared by all.
"I jotted down a couple of things that I wanted to say about our dear friend,husband,father,brother, uncle, or tio, whatever is was that you called Frank. I called him Poncho or Ponch, because that's what the Spanish speaking people where we worked called him.
When Frank and I first crossed paths, it was probably 1979 or 80.
We both worked for the same company in different locations. Frank was in Quality Control, and I was a machinist. Either Frank was very good at his job, or I wasn't very good at mine, because it seemed like all the material that I sent to Quality Control to be inspected, was coming back rejected, by some guy whose signature looked like a doctors. "Who is this Frank Early guy with the fancy signature?" I asked my boss, "I need to talk with him". So Frank came down to our location. We got to talking and I said "how about you and your son come over for some BBQ steaks?" Over Frank and Willy came. We BBQ'ed and drank some Coors Lights, Frank told me what he could, and couldn't live with quality wise at work, and explained why. A lifelong friendship had just been born. I lived in Lakewood, and It wasn't long before Frank and Willy moved from Redondo Beach to Bellflower so that we could become closer friends.
Frank had an inflatable, 2 man raft for him and Willy, and he'd tell me stories about taking it to a local reservoir, Little Rock. He made it sound like so much fun, we went out and bought a 4 man raft, so that we had room for 2 people, plus an ice chest filled with his Coors Lights. Our mutual love of outdoor adventures was just beginning.
I had a Toyota 4 wheel drive truck and Ponch had this beautiful, custom painted Datsun truck, with this beautiful matching camper shell. We found this dirt road behind Little Rock reservoir, with a nice little stream, fishing, and campgrounds. Ponch was kind of limited with his custom Datsun truck, so he sold it and bought himself a Toyota 4 wheel drive truck too. We were off! Ponch soon bought a 3 wheeled Honda ATC for Willy, so we bought one too. From the washes of the Anza Borrego desert, and the sand dunes of Glamis in the southern most part of California, to the back roads of the Stanislaus National Forest in northern California, it seems like there isn't a dirt road that Ponch and I haven't been on. It seemed like almost every weekend, we'd go 4 wheeling somewhere.
Ponch was a great story teller, and he had some very descriptive ways of describing things, that were dead on.
K.C. lights were the big off road lights that everyone had on their 4 wheel drive trucks. We were at the end of this wash late one night in the Anza Borrego desert and decided to make camp. We unloaded everything from the trucks so we had room to sleep. Soon we heard this noise over by our boxes of food. "What the heck is that?" Ponch shines his flashlight over there, and here's this little mouse with these huge ears, trying to eat through our food boxes. Ponch says "check out the mouse with the K.C. lights for ears!". The description was perfect.
Back in the day, we didn't have cell phones, so we used our C.B. radios to communicate in our trucks. We were going down this wash in Anza Borrego, when Ponch comes on and says "check out this rock formation on the left, it looks just like a hamburger" and it did. And Hamburger Rock was born. Again, a perfect description.
Another time, we went to one of our favorite spots, Monache Meadows, located in the Sierras, where we'd 4 wheel so far back in there, that after making 6 or 8 river crossings, you might see 3 people on motorcycles on a 3 day weekend. We're driving through the meadow to get to the river, and Ponch is up ahead in the lead. "Galiopers up ahead blocking the road, won't let us by" Ponch says on the C.B.. "What the heck are Galiopers?" I ask Ponch. "Cows" came back his response. To this day for some reason, I still call cows Galiopers.
Our inflatable rafts were of French manufacture. Somewhere in the French written directions on the back of our rafts was written, Objets Gonflables. We assumed it meant inflatable boat. We never knew, but anytime Ponch wanted to go rafting, he'd say "Lets take out the Objets Gonflables".
While planning one of our 4 wheel drive adventures up behind Big Bear Lake where we used to go quite a lot, Ponch tells me, "I met this girl the other day. She only stands about 4-10, but she's cuter than heck. I invited her to go 4 wheeling with us". "Can't wait to meet her" I tell Ponch. So we meet, her name is Martha, and he's right, she is cuter than heck. But not only is Martha cute, but as we stop from 4 wheeling to have lunch that day, which for a bunch of guys in the middle of the woods was usually a few beers, Martha breaks out with this red and white checked blanket and a picnic basket. Frank and Martha sit down on the blanket. Soon she has out a whole loaf of bread, sandwich meat, mayonnaise, the works. She asks if we'd all like a sandwich. I'm telling Ponch, "This girls a keeper. You'll never find another girl out there like Martha". And keep her he did. And i was more than honored to be the Best Man at Frank and Martha's wedding.
By this time, Ponch and I had changed jobs, and he and Martha moved to the Top of Topanga Canyon to their little love nest. Shortly there after Martha became pregnant, and their little Star was born. Ponch was so excited to be a new Dad. We didn't see each other as often, but still kept in touch.
I don't know if any of you used to play the color game with Ponch, but when we called each other and Frank answered the phone, it sounded like he was saying "Yellow". So I'd say "Blue", he'd say "Orange", and I'd say "Purple", and on it went.
Ponch loved his Dodgers, so if either of us would get tickets, we'd call the other up and we'd meet at the gate.
Same with fishing. I had a little boat, and I could call Ponch up on a minutes notice and he'd meet me at the lake for some good fishing time.
Frank always made me feel like I was a part of his family, and believe me, he loooved his family. He was always talking about his sisters, his nephews and his nieces. He really loved all you guys. Ponch would invite me to his family's yearly picnics, to the family compound at the Colorado Rivers Wheeler Inn, where we'd go tubing down the river, ATCing the sand dunes, and fishing down one of the sloughs at night.
One of the last times that I got to spend some quality time with Ponch, He and Martha invited my wife and I to Catalina for his and Martha's 25th anniversary. It was a place he'd invited me to a few times over the years.
I never had a bad time with Poncho, or a curse word. Everything we did together was a joy. And laugh, boy did we laugh.
Ponch was one of the greatest friends that a person could ask for, and boy will he ever be missed.
I got to see him while he was hospitalized, and we revisited some of the fun times and adventures that we had together. It was nice to be able to let him know what his friendship meant to me. I'm very grateful for that.
Ponch was one of the genuine, easy going, fun loving people that you'll ever meet.
R.I.P. Poncho. You were one of the best! Love you Ponch,
"What a beautiful Celebration Of Franks life we had today. I am glad Poncho chose me to spend so many years galavanting around with. Some of the funnest adventures of my life, Frank was a part of. I'll always hold close the crazy things Frank and I did. He was just a fun loving guy!"
"I first met Frank through his sister, Fran. My family was part of several families that would go to the Colorado River together. Frank and his son, Willie, would occasionally join our group. In fact, I can't recall a time that Frank came without his little "sidekick". He seemed like such a proud and loving dad. I know how much Fran loved her brother, as I'm sure his whole family did, and I was so sorry to hear that he had lost his battle with cancer. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this difficult time."
"I met Frank on our annual family Summer trips to the Colorado River. His sister Fran, my dear friend, introduced us. Frank and his young son added to the joy we all had just being together. Frank was gentle calm and very patient. His love of family was always apparent. He was an attentive and loving father. Although I didn't get to share in his later years I will always remember the foundation of his character and the light of laughter in his eyes. Frank you will always be remembered in so many ways by so many whose lives you touched along the way..."
"My brother Frank always made me laugh and smile a lot, he was a natural story teller! I loved him so and loved the amazing man he had become. He loved his sweet family with his whole heart and soul, were all missing him so much and his memory is with us forever!"
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