Frank was the Godfather of Local Government

Family Man – Military Hero – Local Government Leader – Successful Executive

Frank – A Man with a Big Life

Frank was born in 1947 in Dearborn, Michigan and moved to California just before his first birthday. He grew up in Norwalk, CA and attended La Mirada High School.

Frank attended California State University, Fullerton, where he graduated in 1969 with a B.A. in Political Science. Frank was then drafted into the Army and deployed to Vietnam and Cambodia as a Field Artillery Operation and Intelligence Assistant. He led many night missions at fire support bases. In 1971, while stationed at a gun tower, Frank was attacked, fell 45 feet, and suffered severe injuries. He made a long and difficult recovery, and for his heroic service, Frank was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Good Service Medal.

Frank met the love of his life, Rhonda Reiley, while he was still in high school, in 1965. They were married upon his return from Vietnam in 1971. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in December of 2021.

Frank began his long career in local government as an administrative assistant in the City of Hawaiian Gardens in 1971. In 1972, he was hired at the City of Rosemead as the assistant city manager. He was promoted to city manager in 1974, where he served until 2002—an unusually long and successful tenure in that position.

Frank then moved to the private sector to become president and CEO of Willdan Financial, and later, Willdan’s senior vice president of business development. He also briefly returned to public service in 2008-2009, when he was the interim city manager for the City of La Puente.

Frank was widely respected for his expertise in local government and for his professional contributions to the San Gabriel Valley and greater Southern California. He also was well known for his mentorship and encouragement of emerging leaders in the field, earning the reputation as the “Godfather of city management.”

Frank also served for many years on the board of governors for the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College. He provided wise guidance to directors and staff, as well as generous mentorship to student researchers.

Frank leaves behind a loving family, including his wife Rhonda, daughter Nicole Tripepi Smith, granddaughter Reagan, son-in-law Ryder Smith, sister Valentina Shoop and brother-in-law Ron Shoop, as well as countless friends and colleagues who benefitted greatly from knowing this good man.

Norwalk Early Years

Born in 1947 and raised in Norwalk, CA, Frank’s early days saw him working the family car wash and graduating from La Mirada High School

Serving in Vietnam

Drafted in 1969, Frank served with honor in the Army and left the military after severe injuries and several medals.

A Force in Local Government

A city manager by twenty-eight and over thirty years in local government. Frank career earned him a reputation as a leader and innovator in the public sector.

The Willdan Years

Frank joined Willdan in 2002 as president of Willdan Financial and later served as SVP of business development for the company.

Share a Thought on Frank

How did Frank affect your career or life positively? Send the family a note or comment. They would love the memory and story you share.