Frank Paul Wichert Jr. 1923 - 2021

On March 11, 2021, Frank Paul Wichert Jr. passed away peacefully to complete a life well-lived.

He was born in McMinnville, Oregon, and attended Columbus Elementary School. During his early years, Frank proudly accomplished the rank of Eagle Scout, an outstanding honor awarded to only 4% of all Scouts since its inception in 1911.

He graduated from McMinnville High School and attended Linfield College in the engineering program until WWII called him to Tyler, Texas, where he fed the troops departing for the war in Europe.

After WWII, he enrolled in the Siebel Baking School in Chicago to sharpen his skills even further, and returned to McMinnville to work for his father at the Atlas Bakery. He continued working and ultimately took over the family-owned bakery after his father’s passing.

The bakery changed locations a few times. The location on Davis Street just south of Third Street was demolished in 1972, and the business was relocated to Fourth Street near the Yamhill County Courthouse, where he continued to bake the best bread in Yamhill County.

Frank was also well-known for his famous cinnamon rolls and creating elaborate wedding cakes for McMinnville’s newly married couples.

In 1949, he purchased one acre of land along Berry Creek for $99, and hand built a cabin that still stands today. Countless weekends were spent enjoying the seclusion of his forest retreat. An avid outdoorsman, Frank loved planning his yearly hunting trips to Ukiah and Heppner, caravanning with his sister and brother-in-law, Frances and Roy C. Baker of Newberg. During the summer, like clockwork, he would load up the family in a travel trailer just as school would let out, and off to South Twin Lake or Austin Hot Springs they would go. He loved to soak in the hot springs around the Northwest, and was known to haul his family as far as Canada to try out a hot spring he hadn’t been to yet. “Soaking” may have led to his living to the age of 98 years young!

His civic connections to McMinnville included being a proud member of Rotary, and he was a life member of the Elks Club.

For the Rotary, Frank would bake all the rolls needed during Turkey Rama, and for the Elks Club he would fill giant bags of homemade popcorn from the massive popcorn machine in his home basement. Frank was also known to cook “to order” breakfast for any local friends and family who made their way to the bakery on Saturday morning. This was, of course, at no charge, or if pressured, he would charge “two bits”.

The bakery closed and he retired to a life of leisure travel via motor home down to the sun of California and Arizona with his wife, the dogs and his sister and brother-in-law, Marguerite and Eugene Currey, staying during the winter months until the long drive proved to be too taxing.

He was a skilled woodworker with a love of crafting birdhouses and unique yard décor, as well as Myrtlewood furniture and lamps turned on his home lathe. During his lifetime, Frank experienced “in real time” the invention of color television, space travel, personal computers, the internet and mobile phones, learning to text at the age of 96. Although he was often frustrated when his computer ran amiss, or his large fingers missed the intended tap on his cell phone, he loved receiving email and Facebook messages from his grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Lee; and his children, Cyndi Campbell and Sandra Bauder of McMinnville and David Wichert of Forest Grove. He was preceded in death by his young son, Scotty; and a daughter, Donna Lundburg. As “Grandpa,” Frank inspired six grandchildren; including Dawn Lundburg, whom he and Leora adopted; three great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. As the last surviving “Patriarch Uncle” of the Wichert/Currey/Baker clan, “Uncle Frank” was adored by his nieces and nephews, including nieces, Pat Baker of McMinnville, Cathy Currey, and Barbara Meader; and nephews, Kim Currey, Curtis Currey, Eugene Currey Jr., and Richard Baker.

In lieu of flowers, the family would like you to make a small donation in his name to Homeward Bound Pets and /or Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital.
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