Frank Parker McSwain was born on Dec. 14, 1947, in Amarillo, Texas, the second child of Horace and Wynelle McSwain. Five years later the air force stationed Captain McSwain and his young family in Rapid City, S.D. A few years later, the air force sent the family to Japan. Frank occupied his time there playing in the woods with the other base family children. He cultivated a tremendous imagination and could be seen at any time of day galloping through the Wild West as a cowboy fighting Indians, or marching in the military ready to attack the unseen enemies that threatened peace and safety. The family returned to Austin, Texas, in 1957.
Eventually, the family settled in Richardson, Texas. Frank graduated from Richardson High School in 1965. He attended Texas Tech in Lubbock studying commercial design intending to pursue an art career. In 1968, America was sending its finest to Vietnam. Frank enlisted in the navy and served as a radio operator on the USS Ticonderoga. He was released from active duty in 1974, having been awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal with One Bronze Star. He then moved to the “land of the fruits and the nuts” — California. They subsequently returned to the roost of Dallas in the late ’70s.
Frank’s love of the mountains took him to Pagosa Springs in 1979. While working at the Pagosa Lodge lounge in September 1979, he met Lorraine Ludwig, who worked in the restaurant. They were married on Jan. 5, 1980, in Richardson. They lived in Dallas about a year, then moved back to Pagosa and became part owners of the Emberglo Restaurant. Their first child, Michaela (“Misha”) Erin McSwain, was born on July 3, 1983, in Durango. On April 20, 1985, the Emberglo burned down. Soon after, Frank moved his family back to Dallas. They settled in Allen. An accomplished bartender, Frank taught mixology at a trade school for several years. Their son, Sean Kelly McSwain, was born on Sept. 12, 1987. Soon after Sean was born, the trade school closed and Frank became a stay-at-home dad for eight years before beginning his career at The String Bean. On Frank’s 63rd birthday Misha and her husband Dusty surprised him with the news that they were expecting his first grandchild. He was thrilled and immediately decided that he should be called “OGO” by the grandchildren, which stands for “Oh Great One.” This wish is a “classic Frank” remark for anyone that knew him, and indeed we all will remember him as one of the greats! Frank and Lorraine celebrated 31 years of marriage on Jan. 5, 2011.
Frank will be remembered for his unending wit and unique sense of humor. Anyone who was in Frank’s presence longer than five minutes probably had the privilege of hearing one of his jokes. He was an incredible artist and talented carpenter. He and Lorraine worked together updating their house, their proudest accomplishment being The Great Bathroom Remodel of 2005. Frank is survived by his wife, Lorraine, daughter Misha, son Sean, sisters Charlotte, Debbi and Barbi and soon-to-arrive granddaughter Ellen Jean.
A memorial service was held on Monday, April 11, at Christ Church Plano, in Plano, Texas. Frank was laid to rest at the Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery, following the memorial service.
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