Dec. 10, 1933-March 27, 2021
Palo Alto, California
Chester (Chet) Frankenfield died peacefully on March 27, 2021, in Palo Alto at the age of 87.
Born in Erwinna, Pennsylvania, a small rural community in Bucks County, Chet attended elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse for eight years. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Ursinus College in Pennsylvania. After graduation he enlisted in the Navy and attended Officers Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. After receiving his officer’s commission, he was trained as a flight forecaster and meteorologist at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. While in the Navy he wintered over in Antarctica for one year during the International Geophysical Year in 1958-59. For his effort in establishing an automatic weather station on the Bellingshausen Sea coast, an Antarctic Glacier was named in his honor.
He began his career as a software engineer with Control Data Corporation in Palo Alto, California. He worked for several other Silicon Valley companies before retiring after fifteen years from GTE Government Systems in 1998. After retirement, he started his own income tax preparation business which he continued until his death.
Outside of work, Chet was a camp leader, fund raiser, and Board of Directors member of the Palo Alto area YMCA and was the leader of the Los Altos/Mountain View YMCA Indian Guide program. He served as a referee, coach, and Regional Commissioner of the Los Altos AYSO. Active in Los Altos city politics, he served ten years on the Park and Recreation Commission and eight years on the Planning Commission. He was a board member of the Los Altos Bus Barn Stage Company and the Los Altos Library Endowment and was a founding board member of the Los Altos History House Museum. After moving to Palo Alto, he remained active in Los Altos, serving on the Grants Award Committee of the Los Altos Community Foundation and treasurer of the Morning Forum of Los Altos. He was a member and former treasurer of the First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, a board member and treasurer of the Dudley-Vehmeyer-Brown Memorial Foundation, and editor of the Webster House Newsletter.
Chet enjoyed movies and theater, politics, computers, and memoir writing. He traveled extensively by auto and rail throughout the United States and visited all seven continents. Preceded in death by his parents, Ruth Hillpot and Jacob Frankenfield and six sisters, he is survived by his wife of fifty-seven years, Pat; son Michael, daughter-in-law Kelly, granddaughter Nicole; son Jeffrey, daughter-in-law Camala Kolseth; sister Jeanne Shirk; and sister-in-law Angela Vannucci.
Services will be held at the First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, 1985 Louis Road, on May 15, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. A reception will follow.