Frank Edgar Spess, longtime resident of Mannford, Oklahoma, passed away peacefully with his family by his side on Thursday, November 12, 2015, at the age of 91 years, nine months and twenty three days.
Frank was born January 20, 1924, in the Basin area of Mannford, Oklahoma. He was the son of Edgar Ray and Ruby Bernice (Mitchell) Spess. Frank attended school in Mannford and later graduated from Mannford High School with the class of 1942, which consisted of seven members. During the time Frank was growing up he helped his father farm the property in the basin area. Some of Frank’s favorite memories were of his childhood in the basin area on his grandparent’s farm. After graduation Frank began working with his father, plugging oil wells and later, with the help of his brothers Paul and Carol, Spess Oil Company was formed. Several years later Spess Drilling and Spess Farms were established.
On March 15, 1945, in Tulsa, Oklahoma following a whirlwind courtship, Frank was united in marriage to the love of his life Rozella Mae Adams. The couple established their initial home in a little two room house in Depew, while Frank was working in the oil field. In mid-1945, Frank and Rozella moved back to the Mannford area into a home built in 1900, on land Frank’s parents purchased in the basin area on the Cole place next to the family homestead. The home had no electricity or indoor facilities and used kerosene for lighting. During the time while residing at this home all five of Frank and Rozella’s children were born, Gary Ray, Steven Edgar, David Lynn, Linda Louise and Mark Eric.
Electricity finally arrived in the basin area in the early 1950’s, making life easier. This also brought about indoor plumbing. Later in the 1960’s the property where they called home was condemned for the construction of Keystone Dam. This forced Frank to find a new home for his family. He purchased the property originally owned by his Granddad Mitchell and built their current home in 1963.
After the lake came in, life changed for the family. Most of the farm land was lost to the lake. However, this also opened new areas of interest. The family held many gatherings on the newly formed lake. Every Sunday found a huge Spess family gathering on the shores of Lake Keystone. Frank loved family time and following the first family vacation in 1955, this started an annual event. He and Rozella began taking yearly vacations to all parts of the United States which included all children and grandchildren. In 1988, Frank purchased a cabin and acreage in Colorado, which became the focal point of many vacations since.
Frank was a master story teller. If you ever were talking to him you would always get “you’ve probably heard this before…..”. Frank was a giving person and always wanted to help others. During the depression, Frank wanted to work with the Civilian Conservation Corps. However, he was turned away because he was needed to help farm. Frank was very dedicated to his father. He was very loyal and always wanting to please him. Frank had a wonderful sense of humor including the fact he gave every one of his family members a nickname. Frank always talked about how he wished he was born during the pioneer days. He always relished doing hard work and how he would have loved the hard times, because he was not afraid of a hard day’s work.
Like his grandfather before him he served on the Mannford School Board and was a board member during the move of the Mannford township to its present location today, due to the development of Keystone Lake. Frank was also a member of the Lakeview Christian Church as well as one of the founding members. Most of all in life Frank was very family oriented. Family gatherings is what he loved with his children and grandkids close who affectionately call him Papa.
Survivors are his wife of over 70 years Rozella of the home, five children Gary Spess and Angel of Cleveland, Oklahoma, Steven Spess and Camille of Cleveland, Oklahoma, David Spess and Kathy of Taos, New Mexico, Linda Ramsey and Jim of Mannford, Oklahoma, Mark Spess and Jennifer of Fairfax, Oklahoma; two brothers Carol Spess of Mannford, Oklahoma, Paul Spess of Jennings, Oklahoma; twelve grandchildren, twenty four great grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends. Frank was preceded in death by his parents Ray and Ruby Spess, sister Phyllis Louise Spess Pulliam and a grandson Joshua Spess.
Services will be held 2:00 pm Tuesday, November 17, 2015, at the First Christian Church in Cleveland with Bruce DeLay and Scott Gordon officiating. Burial will follow in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Mannford, Oklahoma under the direction of Chapman-Black Funeral Home. Friends may share a memory with the family online at www.chapman-black.com.
Family would like to extend their sincere thank you to the Miller Hospice for the work and love they showed.