November 16, 2023
Frank Chema, 87, of Trout Creek, Montana, passed away surrounded by his family on November 8, 2023.
Frank was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, where he joined the military at the age of 17. While home on leave he met the love of his life, Grace, they had a brief romance, were married and together they raised four children.
Frank is survived by his daughter Becki Weidner (Curt) of Texas; son Gregory Chema (Shelly) of Missoula; daughter Laura Bloom of Missoula; daughter Cynthia Syrjala (Tim) of Trout Creek; nine grandchildren, Jennifer, Nicole, Scott, Daniel, Christopher, Nicholas, Kari, David, Jacky; and eight great-grandchildren. Frank was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Grace Chema, and a grandson, Matthew Kyle Chema Hungerford.
Frank was a proud veteran who served in the United States Air Force for 26 years, retiring in 1980. Once retired, he, his wife Grace and their youngest daughter moved to live their dream in Trout Creek, Montana, where Frank enjoyed his favorite pastimes. He was passionate about golf, placing in numerous tournaments and achieved the elusive hole-in-one at River's Bend Golf Course on Hole #8 on May 13, 1997. In the winter Frank excelled at bowling. He was inducted into the Thompson Falls USBC Hall of Fame in 2017-2018. Frank enjoyed fishing and he loved taking his kids and grandkids fishing at mountain lakes. He was also an avid hunter.
Frank gave back to his community as a volunteer with the Trout Creek Rural Fire Department. He served on the Whitepine Cemetery board and he served on the board of the Whitepine Community Church for over 30 years. Frank worked many jobs in his retirement including several summers with the US Forest Service where he fought forest fires and mentored YCC crews. Frank took pride in the eight years he spent working at the River's Bend Golf Course in Thompson Falls as the groundskeeper.
Frank's legacy will live on in his family and all the lives he touched. A private celebration to honor his life was held on Veterans Day, November 11, 2023.