Matthew William “Bill” Frank passed away after residing for more than four years at the Canyonlands Care Center in Moab. Born in Brighton, Colorado, Bill grew up on a farm near there as the youngest of five siblings. While his father and older siblings were involved in the war effort, he and his mother moved to Denver, where he finished high school. Bill married Elizabeth Therese “Tess” Sweeney in 1951, then joined the Air Force and flew on B36 bombers during the Korean and early Cold War years. While serving he learned a great deal and became very interested in electrical engineering.

Bill found work in the fledgling aerospace industry, which was growing in the Front Range cities of Colorado in the 1950s. Space and planetary science became his lifelong passion. He went to work for the newly formed Ball Research Corporation. Bill was involved in many aerospace projects throughout his career, ranging from early solar and upper atmosphere studies using small sounding rockets to a whole series of increasingly advanced earth, solar, and planetary probes. He managed the building of numerous scientific instruments which flew on Skylab, the first space station. Bill retired from Ball in 1997.

Bill gradually lost his mobility and was confined to a wheelchair for the last fifteen years of his life. He acquired an electric wheelchair “e-chair,” and by then Tess, who had long suffered from multiple sclerosis, was already a skilled e-chair rider. She taught Bill a few tricks and several bad habits. The two of them got into all sorts of mischief and created lots of consternation for their daughter and longtime caregiver Mary. Later, rolling solo, he kept the staff of the Care Center on their toes. 

Bill is survived by his children, Mary (Frank Donlon), Paul (Anne Clare Erickson) and Steve (Barbara); and grandsons, Stan and Ken. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Bill was a was devoted husband and caregiver, a phenomenal parent and rock-solid friend. Mary, Paul, and Steve would like to express their appreciation for the extraordinary care and the unfailing kindness and love Bill received from the staff of Canyonlands Care Center while residing there.

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