Francis “Frank” Stanley Dombkowski of Clarkston, MI, previously of Rousseau, MI, passed away March 14, 2021, after a long struggle with COPD. He was 71. Frank was born March 28, 1949, in Detroit. He was preceded in death by his father, Stanley, of Commerce Township, MI. He is survived by his mother, Lucille (Lucy) Dombkowski of Dearborn Heights, MI; his brothers Dennis (Vera) of Springfield, VA, Mark (Karen) of Mountain Home, AR, Michael (Ann) of Juneau, AK, Kevin (Julie) of Dexter, MI, Alan (Sue) of Canton, MI, and Joseph (Nancy) of Highland, MI; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Frank attended St. Hilary grade school in Redford, MI, and graduated from Orchard Lake St. Mary’s college preparatory school with the class of 1967.
He went on to pursue three notable careers. In 1969 he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and was trained as a radio operator/technician. He served in an infantry unit with the Second Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment of the 3rd Marine Division. Besides the Vietnam Service Medal, Frank also earned an Expert Rifle Badge, Combat Action Ribbon, and Good Conduct Medal. He was honorably discharged at the rank of Sergeant in 1973. He kept in touch with many of his former comrades-in-arms and greatly enjoyed a visit with some of them to Washington DC in November 2012 to observe the Marine Corps birthday.
After his military service, Frank earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology at Wayne State University in Detroit. He was employed as a senior petroleum geologist by the Exxon Corporation, in both Texas and Egypt. He retired from Exxon in 1986, but he never stopped giving his impromptu lectures on geology from the driver’s seat of his pickup truck. Frank moved to Rousseau, in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula, and worked as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in L’Anse for 15 years. He was a well-known and beloved fixture and friend to mail patrons on his route and claimed to know the names and addresses of everyone in town, and most of their birthdays. Along with the mail, Frank always carried a generous supply of dog treats in his pockets, and his daily arrival was much anticipated by the dogs along his walking route. He retired from the Postal Service in 2011. In addition to his professional careers, Frank served as a Bohemia Township Supervisor and was an active member of the VFW. Among his other many interests, Frank enjoyed fishing, canoeing, observing wildlife, and walking his property with his faithful canine companions Sheba, Gizmo, and Willow, all of whom preceded him in death. He was an avid student of military history with an extensive supporting library. On occasion, while strategizing for a camping trip or fishing adventure, Frank might randomly announce advice and guidance from Caesar’s campaigns in Gaul, or the Battle of Stalingrad. Frank was a fan of the music of the Motown era and commanded a detailed knowledge of the singers, their hit singles and flip-sides, and their recording labels. He was fond of quoting verbatim from the dialogue of his favorite movies and knew most every word of the scripts for “Kelly’s Heroes” and “Dr. Strangelove.” He spent many years planting Christmas trees on his properties around Rousseau, keeping copious field notes in his planting records and building an encyclopedic knowledge of evergreens and forestry. Frank was an ardent aficionado of hot peppers running the heat gamut from mild to lethal. He prided himself on his garden crops of habaneros and jalapeños, as well as the resulting batches of chili they went into. Frank enjoyed his travels in the Middle East and Europe, as well as throughout the U.S. Southwest. His favorite memories included an RV tour throughout Alaska with his brothers and friends in 1999 to celebrate his 50th birthday. He was fond of train and road trips both near and far, the misadventures they entailed, and the repeated retelling and amplification of those escapades long afterward. His laughter was loud and infectious, and could be counted on to make him the center of attention in any social gathering. In so many ways, Frank was larger than life, and he made his family and friends feel that they were, too.
Visitation will be at Lewis E. Wint & Son Funeral Home, 5929 South Main Street in Clarkston, on Saturday March 20, 3-8 p.m., with a scripture service at 4 p.m. 25 people at a time/rotating/masks required.
The family will hold a church service at the Holy Family Church, in Ontonagon on June 12th at 11am. The burial with military rites will follow at the Rousseau Cemetery in Rousseau.
Memorial donations may be made to Ontonagon County Animal Protection (OCAP) (https://www.ocappaws.org/) or to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit (https://www.cskdetroit.org/).
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