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‘Big Frank’ Schiefelbein, Jr. passes away

Big Frank.jpg
Pioneer Angus breeder and mental health advocate leaves behind a larger-than-life legacy.

Just 12 days shy of his 90th birthday, Frank Schiefelbein, Jr., otherwise known as "Big Frank", passed away on his beloved farm on Nov. 28. Big Frank was a pioneer Angus breeder, focusing on the finished product: the perfect steak.

Big Frank was born on December 9, 1932 in Minneapolis, Minn. He was the oldest son of Frank Sr. and Lucille (Knaeble) Schiefelbein. Like most farmers, he grew up in the heart of Minneapolis, graduating from St Thomas Academy. He then went on to graduate with honors from the University of St. Thomas with degrees in mathematics and physics. After college, he served two years with the U.S. Air Force; as a lieutenant that liked to be in charge, it was not the natural career fit for Big Frank.

Besides a good steak, Big Frank's cherished love was his boys, the farm, and his wife, Frosty. Frank and Frosty met at the ripe old age of 16 and his first words about her were, "I'm going to marry that cutie." Only Big Frank would say something like that, but after much wooing by him, Frank Schiefelbein and Donna Mae "Frosty" O'Keefe married on August 22, 1953. This coming August would have been their 70th anniversary and in his own words, "After 69 years, I still don't understand her."

Big Frank and Frosty moved out to Kimball, Minn., where Frank's dad had some property to begin his dream of farming. Big Frank started his Angus herd in the late 50's with the quest of making the perfect steak. Big Frank and Frosty would grow their farm proportionately with their family. They would go on to have nine sons that were all part of the farm. A big part of Big Frank's life was family, faith, farming, friends and food. From his infectious laughter, to his epic stories that his poor wife, Frosty, had to endure, Big Frank was larger than life. His wit was legendary, unless his sarcasm was aimed at you.

He was a very kind and generous man who always wanted to help those in need. The tragedy of Big Frank and Frosty losing their third son, Bill, to an 11-year battle with schizophrenia helped define Big Frank as an advocate for mental health. He poured hours into helping those who couldn't help themselves, striving for more legislative dollars and better care for those with mental illness.

He left a legacy, and to know him was to remember him.

 

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