Franciso Cervantes, known affectionately as “Uncle Frank” by family and friends, passed away from natural causes just after midnight on May 24, 2020. We didn’t expect to lose him so soon, and his absence leaves an enormous void in our lives. Uncle Frank was a way cool dude. He could be cantankerous and had a tendency toward salty language, but he was a wise man with a huge heart of gold.
Born on March 29, 1932 in Redwood City, California, Frank left high school at the age of 17 to enlist in the Air Force. He served 20 years, receiving a commendation for meritorious service and rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant and then Technical Sergeant. He traveled around the world, spending time in Germany, the Azores, and several Asian countries. His time at Vandenberg AFB earned him the following letter from the Commander: “Your major contribution to the developing field of missile launch operations have enabled this country to advance its technology, remain strong, and be a major deterrent to communism and tyranny.”
While at Vandenberg, Frank earned his GED and Associate of Arts degrees. Upon retirement from the military, he moved to Santa Barbara, became a lifetime member of AmVets Post 3, and entered another kind of service with the U.S. Postal Service. He worked there for 25 years and continued to live in Santa Barbara until 2002, when he moved to Lompoc near his old stomping grounds at Vandenberg. Through his supportive and caring nature, he made many enduring friendships in Lompoc.
A content and confirmed bachelor, Frank was fiercely devoted to his family and friends. He was extremely independent, but he was always willing to help others with projects. He was skilled working with his hands and many types of tools. He had an artistic eye, which seems to run in the family, and had a distinctive “Uncle Frank” style. He was like no one else, and he probably liked it that way. He had an active and curious mind, pouring through several newspapers daily and reading books on a wide variety of subjects, including history, politics and social issues.
Frank was kind and generous. He contributed regularly to numerous Veterans Organizations and local humane societies. Rescue dogs became a big part of his life, and he made good homes for Cruiser, Cutter, Sugar and, most recently, Gitana. They were all devoted to him, as he was to them.
Francisco Cervantes will be interred with well-deserved military honors at a date to be determined. At his request, there will be no funeral or memorial service. He is survived by his sister Aurora C. Gonzalez and brother Angelo Cervantes, as well as numerous nephews and nieces, cousins, and great nephews and nieces. The way cool old dude will be missed.