Cover photo for James Vaclav Frank's Obituary
James Vaclav Frank Profile Photo

James Vaclav Frank

d. May 23, 2024

Vancouver, Washington

An obituary for a family member so treasured can never do justice to the life lived nor provide enough comfort in the grief that their physical absence leaves for those who survive such a pivotal loss. With that, an obituary can only be so long and the stories and memories that our beloved James V. Frank imparted on all those who experienced him, will continue to be passed down each time his family and friends share all of the wonderful and unique moments they had with him.

James Vaclav Frank held many titles in his 94 years of life: Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, Friend, Political Radical, Rebel, Entrepreneur, and many more. Jim, or Big Jim, as he is known to most, could be characterized as driven and built success on decades of unparalleled hard work. Jim’s motivation however wasn’t success in the generic understanding, but it was measured in the health and wellbeing of his family up until his dying day.

Jim was born in the now, Czech Republic on January 3, 1930, to Yana and Frantisek Frank. Jim was the second born child and only son. He grew up in the village of Zahradka, living on 12 acres of farmland where he undoubtedly began building his unbreakably strong work ethic. On June 12,1948 Jim left his home and his family to escape communism. When Jim left, he carried his love for his mother, father, and sisters, and was motivated by his hope of building a life outside of the political control that overtook his home village. Along his arduous escape, Jim met his late wife, Marta Smidova and her son, Zdenek Antoch. Jim immediately took to Zdenek, loving him and raising Zdenek as his own. As Jim and Marta immigrated to the US, they married in Italy where they had a son, Pavel, and continued on their journey to the U.S.

After arriving in the U.S. Jim took every opportunity, to provide for his growing family. Jim apprenticed under a mentor and built upon the carpentry skills he learned back home. He found success as an entrepreneur, building a business making cabinets which he continued tirelessly, to grow into a thriving construction company. Jim’s devotion and passion for wood working was evident in his creations. Jim spoke often of his love for building and the artistry of creating quality furniture. All who knew Jim, knew he was not shy in sharing his opinion on work he found less than quality and he would carefully explain to those willing to listen, how to improve in the future.

More than the pride Jim took in his work, Jim was a proud father and husband. After fully immigrating to the United States, Jim and Marta had three more children, James Frank II, David Frank, and their only daughter, Marta E. Frank II. Jim and Marta settled in Portland. In 1961, Jim and Marta purchased a home in East Moreland which they would raise their family in and live out the remainder of their time together. Jim found immense happiness in his family’s growth. His pride in his grandchildren and great grandchildren was insurmountable. Jim took great joy in routine family gatherings and visits as he watched his family expand.

In 2007, Jim was widowed after 59 years of marriage. Jim deeply mourned the loss of his beloved wife, Marta. He was devoted to ensuring her memory would live on and he would share his stories and memories of their love with all. Jim continued working until his retirement in 2016. Jim remained living in his East Moreland home until August 2023 when he moved to an assisted living community in Vancouver, Washington where he passed peacefully in his sleep, on May 23, 2024.

Jim is survived by his five children, Zdenek Antoch, Paul Frank, James Frank II, David Frank, and Marta Frank Martinez. Jim is also survived by his eight grandchildren, Anna Antoch, Tommy Frank, David Frank II, Brian Frank, James Frank III, Aurielle Martinez, Alyssa Martinez, and Lauren Frank. Of Jim’s Great Grandchildren, Audrey, Benjamin, Lila, Lily, John, Adam, and James IV, most were blessed to have spent years knowing and learning from their great grandfather during the later years of his long life.

Regardless of his many years earthside, Jim’s passing is a great loss for his family, his friends, and the community by which he was deeply loved. Those who had the good fortune of experiencing Jim during his time spent on earth, have had the benefit of experiencing his kindness, devotion, hard work and candor. Despite his earthly absence, Jim is a true phoenix who continues to rise through his family and the legacy he leaves behind.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Vaclav Frank, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, June 3, 2024

10:30 - 11:00 am (Pacific time)

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Monday, June 3, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Pacific time)

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Private Service

Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery

333 SW Skyline Blvd, Portland, OR 97221

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