[gn_heading style=”1″]Frank Anton Wodnik[/gn_heading]
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Frank Anton Wodnik, husband, father, engineer, world-traveler and friend to many, died Saturday in Billings. He was 86.
Frank was born Aug. 8, 1923 in Williston, N.D. the only child of Slovenian immigrants. He lived in Williston until enrolling at North Dakota State University. Like many men of his generation, Frank’s studies were interrupted by World War II. He was proud of his Army service, which included two years in London, and in 2005 he visited the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
After the war, Frank returned to NDSU where he met and fell in love with Florence Newman, a young woman from Bismarck. They would spend the rest of his life together. Frank and Florence were married in 1948, recently celebrating their 61st anniversary. Together they raised six children, putting every one through college.
Frank graduated from NDSU in engineering and immediately began working for the federal Soil Conservation Service, a job that brought him to Eastern Montana and Billings in 1959. He lived in Billings ever since, a regular face at the YMCA, downtown shops and neighborhood parks and fields where he walked his dogs over the years.
He retired from the Soil Conservation Service in 1980 but not before he’d befriended nearly every rancher in the region, along with every small-town waitress that served good pie.
After retiring, Frank started his second career; a one-man engineering consulting firm. He stayed busy with his work, traveling from Hardin to Wyola with his maps and surveying equipment, nearly to the end of his life.
At home, Frank and Florence became world travelers, visiting all seven continents, some more than once. He was especially fond of Antarctica and returned three times to explore the glaciers and penguins, learning all he could about the life there.
Even with his travels he never lost his appreciation for home, the Beartooth Mountains, Red Lodge or his backyard deck. He never wasted a minute and his loyalty and steady hand will be greatly missed.
Frank is survived by his wife, Florence of the home; six children, Rick (Elsie); Andrea Floyd; Alane (Mel) Smith; Bob (Bridget); John (Tammie); Joe (Loraine); 16 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held Tuesday at2:00 PM at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. A reception will follow at the Elks Club.
Bob, Bridget and Family,
In recent years I have so enjoyed hearing about your father’s great zest for life, travel and adventure, and about his loyalty to his family and the Montana homeland. I am sorry for your great loss. Please be kind to yourselves in the difficult season ahead. My prayers are with all of you.
We are very sorry for your loss. Our thoughts go out to the Wodnik family at this difficult time.
From Bob Wodnik’s friends in Seattle at Sound Transit
Words so inadequately express how sorry I am to hear of the passing of your sweet father. You and your family are in my heart and prayers, and in the hearts of all your friends at Sound Transit. We are with you in spirit, as is your father.
Dear Florence and Family,
Our heartfelt condolences to each of you. I remember Frank fondly and have many great memories of the times I ran at the YMCA with him. My wife Corky and I also enjoyed having coffee with him in the past.
Since we are currently in Seattle for a time, we will be unable to attend services. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Bill and Corky Knebel
Dear Florence, family & friends of Frank Wodnik,
Jan & Ian Pringle from NSW Australia offer our sincere condolences to you in your sad loss of husband, Father and friend.
We met your dear Frank and Florence in 1987 on holiday in Europe..and have considered ourselves very privileged to have known such wonderful people..I will always remember Frank for his quiet and gentle manner and his great hospitality to us when we visited Billings Montana in 1996, Frank proudly showed us some of the beauty of Montana, Wyoming, Spectacular Yellow Stone National Park and surrounds. It was such a great time together.
I will always remember Frank encouraging me to buy a pair of cow boy (girl) boots during our journey, I love the boots, I have worn them every winter ever since and hope they will never wear out. My cow girl hat that Frank said would go with them is still a regular item in my dress.
Frank & Florence were our house guests a few years later in Australia and we were able to show some our wonderful Country together.
Every year we love to swap our news at Christmas time with cards and letters.
Wonderful memories will be with us always.
Jan & Ian Pringle.. Australia