Frank E. Koefelda, a veteran of many fields, dies at 81

Frank KoefeldaFrank Koefelda died at his home in Rancho Murieta on Jan. 26, more than 15 years after he received a diagnosis of  prostate cancer and began years of treatment. He was 81.  It was her husband’s desire to die at home, June Koefelda said. “When we came out here, we fell in love with the place,” she recalled. “We always wanted to be on a lake.” Together they enjoyed sunsets over the water and fireworks on the Fourth of July.

They were married for 30 years. Both had been married before and each had two grown children. “We had a good marriage and the main thing was we both met when our children were not in the picture. It was just the two of us. That was kind of nice. That’s the way we lived,” June Koefelda said.

Her husband was “like a Southern gentleman. He had manners. He loved to putter around. He could fix anything in this house that needed to be fixed. He helped a lot of the neighbor ladies that needed help. He was always Mr. Fixit if someone needed him.”

Frank Edward Koefelda was born June 22, 1930 in Great Falls, Mont. Growing up during the Great Depression, he understood the value of a dollar and tried a variety of jobs after school, working as a cowboy, ranch hand, truck driver, heavy machine operator, and construction worker.

He was drafted during the Korean War and served from 1951-53. After a tour of duty in Korea, he served at the Presidio in San Francisco.

At the war’s end, he was honorably discharged and stayed in California, working in power line construction and as a heavy equipment operator until joining the California Highway Patrol as a traffic officer.

After 13 years in the CHP, Mr. Koefelda wanted a change and bought a propane business in Los Angeles. After many successful years running the business, he sold it in 1980, retired to Great Falls, and spent the next five years getting reacquainted with relatives on both sides of his family.

Frank and June Koefelda

Frank and June Koefelda were married for 30 years.

Family reunions had from 95 to over 200 members in attendance, and were held at various lake and resort areas. Mr. Koefelda has at least 56 first cousins, and working on family histories became an engrossing and ongoing project that involved traveling to the Czech Republic to meet distant cousins and to visit the country where his grandparents lived before they emigrated.

It was in Montana that Mr. Koefelda met his future wife. June Koefelda had been divorced for five years and was the branch manager of the bank where Mr. Koefelda was a customer. She recalls that one day he came into the bank and said, “‘Why don’t I take you to lunch today?’ He didn’t ask me, he just said, ‘Why don’t I?’ And I said, 'Yes, why don’t you?'”

In 1985, the couple left Montana for Sacramento, where Mr. Koefelda invested in real estate and managed properties. He also bought trucks and hired drivers to haul containers. Then he sold his trucks and drove U.S. mail trucks.

At age 74, Mr. Koefelda retired. He continued to travel and to research his genealogy, and he was also an armchair geologist, a war historian, and an avid race car fan.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Koefelda is survived by son Kim Koefelda, daughter Leigh Marienthal, stepdaughter Laura Weed, stepson Robert McGlynn, sisters Jeane Koefelda and Bernice Grieb, brother Vince Koefelda, grandchildren Scott, Kyle, Alexander and Wesley Marienthal, Janelle Weed, and Sophie McGlynn.

Private ceremonies will be held in the future. Contributions in Mr. Koefelda’s memory may be made to the American Cancer Society or a favorite charity.