Frank Kellogg

Frank L. Kellogg, Jr., 91, longtime Santa Cruz County resident, died peacefully at home with family present March 5, 2018, after an extended illness. He was born in Santa Cruz, March 12, 1926 to Frank and Daphne (Latham) Kellogg, Sr.

After spending his early years in Watsonville as the son of an itinerant farm manager and agricultural commissioner for Santa Cruz and Ventura counties California, Frank’s family moved frequently during his Great Depression-era boyhood, living in and near the cities of Watsonville, Chino, and finally Blythe where he graduated from Palo Verde Union High School in 1944.

Frank’s passion for the nascent aviation industry blossomed at an early age, leading him to flying lessons and his pilot’s license almost simultaneously with his driver’s license. Also, enabled by a special wartime legislative act during his high school years when he was only seventeen, Frank did his part to alleviate the labor shortage caused by the war effort, taking a job as a school bus driver before and after classes, driving a route that began and ended at his home. After graduation, he joined the US Army Air Corps; however, WWII ended prior to completing his military pilot training. Upon his discharge, he rejoined his parents, who had returned to Watsonville, briefly attending the then Salinas Junior College, where he met his future wife, Gloria Brodie of Pacific Grove. They married in 1948.

Completing GI Bill-funded training in aircraft maintenance at Allen Hancock College in Santa Maria lead to an AA degree and his A & P certification followed by a brief stint as a aviation mechanic in Fullerton. His life-long connections to agriculture and mechanical skills rewarded him with a long employment at Atwood Crop Dusters in Salinas, ultimately as maintenance shop foreman. The pioneering company, one of the largest of its kind in the world at its peak with some 40 fixed and rotary-winged aircraft, 20 pilots, and 12 mechanics, used surplus military training aircraft almost exclusively. Their intended civilian use essentially required them to be re-manufactured to render them suitable for applying agricultural chemicals to crops. Frank had his hand in many novel innovations adding safety and efficiency in this developing niche, which aided the company’s success and growth and provided him with invaluable experience.

A career opportunity with the Federal Aviation Administration lead to a nearly thirty-year tenure in several FAA General Aviation and Flight Standards district offices located in Anchorage, Denver, and Sacramento in service to the general aviation community variously as Maintenance Inspector, Maintenance Specialist, Repair Station Specialist, and Supervisor. In addition to administrative duties, his responsibilities included investigating aviation accidents, observing flight operations and special events. During his Alaska post, the demands of the job took him to many remote locations inaccessible by road or commercial airline service, allowing him to log many flight hours, often making use of his single and multi-engine seaplane ratings. His final position was as manager of the Reno district office until retirement in 1988.

Frank returned to Watsonville with Gloria, where they soon began construction of their dream home on the same beautiful parcel of land he had lived with his parents at the end of WWII. While he bowled a bit, baseball was the sport Frank loved. Win or lose, he was a lifelong fan of the San Francisco Giants.

Frank was predeceased by his wife, parents, and three of their five children. He is survived by his daughter, Phyllis of Royal Oaks, CA and her fiancé, Matt Insley; son, Paul, and daughter-in-law, Rita Diewold, both of Longmont, Colorado; three grandsons, their wives, five great grandchildren, three nieces, and a nephew.

Private services have been held with arrangements by Mehl’s Colonial Chapel. Burial was at Pajaro Valley Memorial Park, Watsonville.


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