Frank W. Creel (1942-2010)
It is with sadness that we report the passing of Frank W. Creel, a copy editor and longtime supporter of the NOR. Frank died in his home in Arlington County, Virginia, on May 18, after a long battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A dedicated and tireless orthodox Catholic, he gave freely of his time and talents to further the work of the NOR, even into the last weeks of his life. The final e-mail he sent to your editor offered a fitting encapsulation of the man's piety and wit. In discussing reluctantly his declining health, Frank remarked, "I am, indeed, trying not to waste any of my sufferings, remembering to ask for them to supplement the passion of Our Lord. My first instinct, of course, is to offer them up for the conversion of sinners and for the poor souls in purgatory (a rather selfish little exercise, if you ask me, seeking to make allies for my own early release)."
Despite his many achievements in this life, Frank was always one to deflect praise; he was likewise reticent to draw attention to himself or his works. So, surely to his consternation, we will do it for him. Not only did Frank provide valuable service to the NOR as a copy editor and book reviewer, he was a widely published writer. His articles have appeared in such places as The Wanderer, Homiletic & Pastoral Review, The Washington Times, the Northern Virginia Journal, and the D.C. Examiner. He was a weekly columnist for the Potomac News from 1977 to 1984, and more recently wrote a regular column for the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation website, under the nom de guerre "The Unrepentant Traditionalist." His final column, "The Merest Christianity," appeared a week before his death. (Frank's archived articles can be found at fgfbooks.com.) In 1992 Frank's book of poems, A Trilogy of Sonnets, was published by Christendom Press under the pen name Francis Milton. At the time of his death he was working on two more books.
But Frank was more than just a writer. He was also an English instructor during his stint with the Peace Corps in Turkey from 1963 to 1965 (he was fluent in Turkish). It was there that he met his wife of 43 years, Ender Ones. From 1967 to 1968 he served as a rifle platoon leader and staff officer with the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam. His decorations include the Bronze Star and the Combat Infantryman Badge. From 1973 to his retirement in 2000, Frank worked in the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. In 2002 he ran for U.S. Congress on the Constitution Action Party ticket. Although he was defeated decisively by Republican Thomas Davis, Frank succeeded in making it impossible for Davis to pass himself off as a prolifer no small achievement in an arena in which Republicans have managed to monopolize the prolife vote. Frank, by contrast, was a solid, active prolifer, and was an eager volunteer for his local 40 Days for Life campaigns.
Frank is survived by his wife, their three children, and five grandchildren. A Latin requiem Mass was celebrated in his honor on May 22 at St. James Catholic Church in Falls Church, Virginia, where he was a longtime parishioner. He received the last rites on his deathbed, reconciling his soul with his Creator.
In memory of our beloved brother in the faith we offer these lines by Dorothy Day: "No matter how much a death is expected there is a gigantic sense of loss. With our love of life, we have not yet gotten to that point where we can say with the desert father, St. Anthony, 'The spaces of this life, set over against eternity, are brief and poor.'"
Frank W. Creel touched a great many people. He will be greatly missed. Requiescat in pace.