Frank “Frantz” Chris Moeller, Jr. was born to Frank Dell Moeller Sr. and Elise Moeller on March 5, 1919 on their farm north west of Witten, SD. He had 4 brothers and 2 sisters-Ray, Roy, Willie, Dick, Amelia, and Betty. He was the oldest of the boys.
Frank “Frantz” was most known by his family and friends as Franny. He started work at an early age of 5 years old where he had to milk 5 cows and then walk 1 mile to school. 20 years later, Dave Powell and Franny would scoop 7 truckloads of grain a day and at night they would put the racks up and bring Prairie hay home for the milk cows. Franny felt guilty seeing Dave’s wife milking cows late at night, so he stayed and helped with that chore before he went home. The pay back in those days was $1.00 a day, but Franny got $2.00 for he worked long and hard, and he continued to work like that the rest of his life. If someone was in need of help (broke down, out of fuel, stuck or whatever) he would lend a hand and never take a penny from them, that’s the way Franny was, just like his good neighbors Gay Rowe and Orville Smith.
Franny was drafted into the Army in 1944 and while he was in Berlin, Germany, one of his comrades had asked Franny to accompany him on a ride to somewhere and that is when he met Gen. George Patton and got to shake his hand shortly before Patton was killed in a Jeep wreck. Franny said Patton had just woke and only had on a T-shirt and shorts on. After Franny finished his tour of duty, he returned home and that’s when he met Esther Smith in the Big Front Bar in Witten and later married her in 1951. To this union came his boy Kyle Chris and Esther’s children, Sharon and Robert, which he took as his own.
His daughter Sharon loved him dearly and called him almost every day up until the time of his passing. (Sharon cannot be here with us at this time of our loss, for her husband needs her as he is in the late stages of cancer. Sharon and husband Norman are in our thoughts and in our hearts.)
Franny and Esther started out farming raising 300 chickens and 500 turkeys and later bought 3 guilts and their farm grew from there with a lot of love and hard work, something Franny was not afraid of. If someone worked hard Franny was sure to acknowledge them and respect them. Later on in the years Franny got into raising cattle and enjoyed every bit of it. Working on his farm made him the happiest and he had the best work ethics.
Franny is known most for being honest, genuine, and a happy down to Earth person. Now Franny also had quite a reputation for being one of the strongest men around with his extra-large hands. He was never beat down in Arm Wrestling. On the ship he took to Berlin, Germany, he arm wrestled 12 men a day for 14 days and was never defeated. He would be known to take a little break and go into town once in a while, enjoy a few beers, and get into a few bar fights. He said that’s the way it was back in the day.
2 months before his passing he said that if he could only walk to his truck and get in it, that he could still be able to do a lot of good here on the ranch. Franny broke his hip on Jan. 9, 2014and tried so hard to recover and walk again, almost succeeded that same summer when he walked into the Cowboy Up Bar in Witten with the help of a walker and was met by family and friends greeting and encouraging him. You should have seen the grin on his face. Although that was short lived when he developed pneumonia which knocked him down dramatically and he never recovered his strength to walk again.
Franny was one of the most respected and loved man and will be greatly missed by all of his family and friends. If there were more Franny’s in this world it would be a better place for all. He passed away on January 19, 2016 at 8:12 PM in his home with his family on each side of him.