Karen Ogawa’s Eulogy for Frank

Hi my name is Karen and Frank was not only one of my mentors, but also like a father figure.

My first local government job was at the City of Rosemead. For those who had the opportunity to work with him you know his leadership style was unmatched by anyone else.  He truly embodied what is means to lead with service.  Service to others.  Always making sure that we were taken care of whether at work or in our personal life. 

For example, twice a year Frank would gather his Rosemead team for a fishing trip. In late April for open day and November for the closing of the season in Eastern Sierra Nevada, Mono County.  Our favorite fishing holes were at the June Lake Loop just south of Mammoth Lakes.  We would fish at Crowley, Rock Creek, Sabrina, and Gull Lake to name a few.

There would be about a dozen or more of us that were fortunate to get the “fishing” invitation.  The night before the first day of fishing, I would stay up all night fiddling around with the hooks and preparing the leaders and around 3:30 AM you could hear down the hallway someone banging on room doors and yelling “get up the sun is going rise soon, get up”!   That was Frank’s friendly morning wake up call.  He wanted to make sure we caught our limit.  So, we were at the site well before sunrise and first on the lake to stake out the best fishing holes.  Frank would suggest where was the best place to plant your pole.  He was usually the first individual with the line in the water and one of the first to catch the limit.

Another example of Frank’s passion to lead with service was that he would arrange access to a closed utility intake that was not open to the public.  This intake had tons of rainbow trouts.  We would tell all of the newbies where not to fish and that was on Frank’s rock.  He found a deep pocket where the trout would swim back and forth in the early mornings and late afternoon.  While Frank on his rock  reeling in trouts, some of us would be sun bathing on these huge boulders sipping on coffee with a touch of blueberry brandy just trying to keep warm.   We were so lucky not to have fallen into the intake.

After our first day of fishing, we would gather for our Rosemead family dinner at the Firehouse restaurant in Bishop.  Frank would always order these scrumptious escargot in garlic butter.  We would spend dinner laughing at all our fishing stories from earlier in the day. 

Frank not only gave many of us the opportunity to have a successful career and quality of life, he also made sure that when he retired from Rosemead the city was in good financial standings.  When Frank retired in 2002, the Rosemead had a General Fund reserve ratio of 165%.  Only Frank could make that happen without any big boxes or large home developments.

One last comment I would like to share.  Rosemead family, how many of you remember fighting to sit in the back seat of Frank’s Crown Vic when we were heading to a meeting or lunch?  Do you recall strapping the seat belt as soon as you sat down?  Once the car doors closed, “nascar” Frank would punch the gas pedal to the floor and we would fly down the city hall parking lot like the scene from “Back to the Future” when the DeLorean went screaming down the street leaving nothing but flames in the pathway.

Thank you Frank for everything that you have done for me, my family and local government.  Love you and you will always be in my heart and memories.