Frank Petek passed away on January 24, 2022, at the age of 89. Frank was born in Hudson, Wyoming, to Floren and Helen Petek. His family eventually moved to Grand Junction, Colorado, where he climbed hills and water skied on irrigation canals. He met his future wife, Patty Petek (Pat), while attending Mesa College in Grand Junction. They were married on July 2, 1953, but Frank had been picked for the draft and was shipped out to Korea for 18 months after a short honeymoon. After his return, Frank and Pat spent several years living and working in various parts of the country. They welcomed a son, Russell, while they lived in Laramie, Wyoming, where Frank received his Bachelor Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wyoming. They continued their nomadic ways while Frank worked for a seismograph company and added a daughter, who they innocently named Karen, when they were living in Cumberland, Maryland. They eventually settled in Riverton, Wyoming in 1969, where Frank accepted a job with the Datel Company. While Frank was a mechanical engineer, companies came and went though Riverton. In between engineering jobs, he worked as a mailman, plumber, roughneck, and Jack of all trades. There wasn’t anything that he couldn’t fix with duct tape.
In 1975, Frank and Pat wanted to move out of the hustle and bustle of Riverton to “the country”. Somehow, Pat convinced Frank that it was in his best interest to drop a wad of money on a campground, even though neither one of them had ever been in a campground before. He went along with the crazy scheme and the two of them, the kids and Pat’s mother moved to the Owl Creek Kampground the day before it opened for business in May of 1976. He continued to work full time at his various occupations and worked campground duty on nights and weekends. In 1995, Frank decided to retire and then Pat had to figure out how to keep him busy so she could run the campground the way she wanted, without his full time “help” and “process improvements”. Try as he might, he was never able to master the right way to pick up sticks, but he was a whiz at cleaning bathrooms. They eventually figured out how to work together and in 2007, Pat and Frank sold the Kampground so that they could finally enjoy full retirement. They moved to a house on Burma Road, and spent time at the casino, taking people to visit the casino, eating at the casino, and visiting family. Even after retirement, they were visited by many of the friends they made during their ownership of the Kampground.
In 2013, Pat died after fighting with Leukemia for several years. Frank was her primary caretaker and missed her every day after her passing. He eventually moved to Fruita, Colorado, where he spent time growing a tomato plant at the side of his house, having coffee, and visiting with his sister Kate, cooking and visiting with neighbors, all the while stubbornly refusing to give up his independence no matter how much his kids asked him to come live with them.
He is survived by his son, Russell Petek and his wife, Lacee of Mesa, AZ, daughter, Karen Petek and her husband, Joe Collins, of North Ogden, UT, three grandsons, Andy (Tess), Cory and Toby Petek, as well as sisters Katherine Stokes and Elizabeth McCarrie and brother Joe Petek. There are also a ton of other Peteks- too many to list here.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Donor Services, P.O. Box 4072, Pittsfield, MA 01202 or online at www.lls.org/
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