Frank Darrington, 89, of Mabel, died on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, in hospice care at Green Lea Manor in Mabel.

He was born on June 28, 1924, in Winneshiek County, Iowa, to Byron and Mae Darrington. He was the oldest of four boys. He graduated from high school in Bayfield, Wis., where the family had moved in 1938.

On May 29, 1943, at the age of 18, he enlisted in the US Army. He served as a 2nd Lt. in the Army Air Corp where he piloted B24s and B25s.

On June 7, 1944, while on leave, he married his high school sweetheart, Jeanne Kreutzer.

After being honorably discharged on Oct. 13, 1945, he was employed by Wisconsin Motors in Milwaukee, which is likely the time he became a lifelong Green Bay Packer fan.

He returned to his roots in Winneshiek County where he spent a short time as an employee of the State Bank of Mabel.

Eventually his love of flying led him into a series of careers piloting his Piper Cub. He received his pilot instructor's license and trained numerous pilots in both Rochester and locally in Mabel. He provided charter flights and also was a crop duster. A crop-dusting accident in Mississippi ended his piloting career and almost his life. Upon his recovery he spent nine months in Greenland working as cook for a construction company constructing a military airfield. He became a member of the "Blue Nose Brotherhood" for enduring months of subzero temperatures above the Arctic Circle. In late 1953, he moved to California and worked with his brother-in-law, Forrest Miller, in construction for several months, sending money home to have his family join him in 1954.

He acquired a position as an engineering inspector with Los Angeles County Air Pollution Control where he was employed until his retirement.

Prior to fulfilling their dream of returning to Minnesota, he lost his beloved wife, Jeanne, in 1977 to heart failure.

Upon his retirement in July of 1978, he returned to Mabel and in the summer of 1979 married Correne Foltz. The couple enjoyed 16 years together before her passing in 1995.

He was an active member of the Mabel American Legion where he served in the color guard at numerous area funerals. He was also a faithful member of the Hesper Lutheran Church. He became a familiar face at the Mabel Steam Engine Days where he worked many hours taking tickets and and preparing food at the church pancake breakfasts. Gardening was his passion and he was happy to share the bounty with neighbors and the residents at Green Lea Manor.

During the summer months, the golf course in Mabel became at least a weekly haunt. Later in 1998, he began spending the cold months in Arizona with his daughter and her husband so he could extend his golfing to a year-round event.

While visiting his son in Wyoming, he experienced his first ever whitewater-rafting trip at the age of 75.

He became the first resident of the newly constructed Meadows Assisted Living facility in Mabel in 2006 where he resided until his passing.

He is survived by his son, David (Mary Jo) of Highlandville, Iowa; his daughters, Vonnie (Jim) Ball of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Lori (Bruce) McPherson of Arvada, Colo.; a brother, Wayne (Shirley) Darrington of Decorah; six grandchildren, Dan, Trisa, and Crystal, Silas, Kelly and Andy; 13 great-grandchildren; two very special nieces, Carrie (Jim) Horihan and Peggy (Dale) Rovang; a nephew, Steve (Karen) Darrington; and 11 additional nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by both of his wives; two brothers, Mark and Bruce; and a daughter-in-law, Linda.

He was proud to have donated his body to Mayo for research.

The family requests that any memorials be made to the Gift of Life Transplant House, 707 2nd St SW, Rochester, Minnesota 55902 in memory of Frank Darrington.