By HDN Staff
FORT BENTON Frank Handl, 80, a longtime Fort Benton resident, died of cancer Friday, April 21, at a local nursing home.
Funeral services will be 5 p.m. today at the Benton Funeral Home. Burial will be at the Big Sandy Cemetery at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Handl was born April 25, 1919 to Vaclav and Josepha Handl at the family homestead southeast of Big Sandy. He lived and worked at the family farm during his early years. He attended Iliad School, but did not finish his eighth-grade education until he entered the Civilian Conservation Corps. The CCC camp that he was enrolled at was located at Haugen, near the Idaho border in western Montana. He did farm and ranch work for a number of years.
Handl was inducted into the U.S. Army in March 1942 and served in France as an automotive mechanic. He received his Army discharge in October 1945. He returned to the Big Sandy area and worked for Hill County Electric, delivering poles for the first power lines in the area.
Handl worked for Power Motors in Fort Benton from 1947 to 1950. He met Dugan Ayers, who told him he would make a fine bull rider, and they became friends. He worked at the Ayers ranch south of Loma for several years. He spent 30 years, from 1954 to 1984, working as a heavy equipment operator for the Great Northern (BNSF) Railroad.
Handl enjoyed driving and rodeos. After his retirement, he spent many hours driving around and taking care of his vehicles.
Survivors include two brothers, Jerry of Big Sandy and Charles of Great Falls, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be made to Chouteau County Peace Hospice, Missouri River Medical Center or the charity of choice.
Benton Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.