At his retirement party Frank exclaimed, "Isn't it wonderful that
a kid from the wrong side of the tracks could fall in with a great bunch
of people like this." Three hundred friends were there. Wrong side
of the tracks or not, clearly Frank was just what the National Park
Service needed. He had energy, imagination, complete honesty, humor, a
love for the parks, and a compassion for visitors all rolled into
In 1937 he left the Forest Service for the NPS "so he could be in the
field all the time," according to his wife, Lois. He spent his first
summer at Thorofare Ranger Station isolated in the vast backcountry of
Yellowstone National Park. He met Lois Thoreson at Lake in 1937, and
they were married three years later. Lois had been a school teacher and
a summer employee in the park. Frank championed better training for the
ranger force and other employees. In 1951 this initiative took him to
Washington, D.C., to become the first training officer of the National
Park Service. He was "Mr. Training" for young field people who
descended on enormous Washington to attend the Departmental Management
Training Program. His kind attention folded them into the seemingly
cold city and the awesome halls of the Interior Building.
Frank received training at the FBI Academy. He began to formulate
the idea of a National Park Service academy for park rangers. In
Washington, he worked untiringly toward this goal. His enthusiasm and
planning gained firm support for the Horace M. Albright Training Center
which began in 1957 in Yosemite. Following a trial period, the center
was moved to Grand Canyon, where it remains a force shaping the careers
of Service employees. For outstanding work in employee development,
Frank received the Distinguished Service Award. Many viewed "Kowski
Kollege" days (he hated the name) as the high point of Frank's career.
He was demanding, fun, and innovative, but he exercised great care and
affection for the students and staff at Albright.
He became superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon in 1966. Only
one year later, he moved to Southwest Region as regional director. He
was a key figure in consolidating into one NPS region the parks in the
Navajo lands, thus greatly diminishing confusion and increasing
cooperation with the Navajo Nation. He appointed American Indians to
superintendencies and provided training and employment opportunities for
hundreds of Indian young people.
Secretary of the Interior Rogers Morton best described Frank with
these words: "someone who never lost sight of the goal of service to
the people" and with "a quality somewhat rare in many circles. .
. . a willingness to speak the truth when all about you others are
ducking for cover." That was Frank.