Frank Morrow Gronberg


On May 31, 2022, Frank Morrow Gronberg passed away at the age of 83 in Renton, WA.

image of Frank Morrow Gronberg

Frank Gronberg

Born to Wilfred and Kathryn on July 1, 1938, in Elgin, IL, he grew up in Dixon, IL. Frank was the consummate adventurer. As a teenager, he canoed the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Baton Rouge. In his 20s, he tackled higher pursuits – rock climbing in the Badlands, SD and Devil’s Tower, WY. He made history as “desert Frank” with Rob McKnight and famous rock climber Warren “Batso” Harding. They were the first to successfully ascend the 14,240+ feet Keeler Needle, Mount Whitney, CA.

From 1961-64, Frank served as a radio operator in Vietnam with the honorable distinction of being an Army Special Forces Green Beret (Ranger, 1st SF Group Airborne, A-323). After returning to the states, he joined an underwater expedition diving off the coast of Roatan, Honduras searching for one of Columbus’s ships from 1502. He drove in the Baja 500 race in Mexico. He and a colleague adventured in Belize, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. In northern Brazil, they booked passage up the Amazon River disembarking in Peru, where they visited Machu Picchu and later the Galapagos Islands.

From the mid-1980s, Frank established a career as an Engineer I Surveyor Draftsman, for King County Parks Department on Mercer Island, WA, retiring in 2010. Despite life’s trials and tribulations, mental and physical hardships, Frank retained the heart and soul of a valiant warrior and passionate artist. With his charming smile, soft-spoken, unassuming, and friendly demeanor, he recounted stories of a life truly filled with adventure. In his words, he desired to be remembered by this: “Been there and done that!”

After suffering a massive stroke in 2019 that completely disabled his left side – but never losing his sunny outlook – Frank was cared for compassionately by David Balaciu and Dora Andreicut at Mariana’s Adult Family Home. He is survived by his sister Janet Gronberg, stepdaughters Anne Durand and Susie Harris, cousin Gary Gronberg, nephew Tyler O’Brien and nieces Rebecca O’Brien and Amber Haller, and great friends – John, Linda, Gordy, and more.

A celebration will be held at 1 pm, June 26th, Vino at the Landing in Renton, WA. He will be interred in Dixon, IL.


4 Responses to “Frank Morrow Gronberg”

  • Joseph Mclaughlin says:

    I met Frank in the army and we remained close for over 60 years. He was truly one of a kind.
    His sunny disposition and sense of adventure set him apart. RIP my good friend.

  • Linda McCarthy says:

    Franksters has been like a brother to me for almost 30 years. We “got” each other and confided in each other. He was my husband’s best friend all of those years and became a much loved member of our family. He was kind, Sweet, and a man of much integrity.Rest in peace, dear brother.

  • Anne Durand says:

    I am still in a bit of shock at Frank’s passing, even though I saw him on a regular basis. I will miss him dearly! He was always looking at the bright side of things. He never felt sorry for his predicament and situation. Every time I visited, I waited to hear what take out food he had been craving, to see if I could bring it to him – I usually did! His (and my!) favorite was both Shakeys pizza, and the smoked salmon eggs benedict from The River Rock at Maplewood Golf Course.

    The highlight of his week was always “Boys Therapy Thursday” aka “Beer Thursday!” His trusty Mates – John, Gordy, and Jonathan – arrived with cold brews and bad jokes. There was always laughter.

  • Jake Evans says:

    Frank’s smile lit up the office every day. His adventures in life were amazing and inspirational to hear about. You are missed by all of us here at KC and will never be forgotten. It was a pleasure to work alongside you.

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