October 4, 1928 ~ February 1, 2014
Frank was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on October 4, 1928, the son of Frank C. Hart, Sr., and Dorothy Witham. He grew up in a seacoast neighborhood called Strawberry Banke, now a well preserved historic area, but then a working class community better known as Puddle Dock. It was a place where colonial homes stood alongside tenements and scrap yardsa�"and Frank could recall getting into and out of a scrap or two in his day.
He remained in the area until he joined the Army Air Corps in 1945. He was only 17, so his mother signed a waiver for him.
For the next 30 years, Frank spent much of his military service overseas working in communications. He proved himself to be a natural leader, earning respect by giving the same to others, with units that worked and played hard. He served in WWII, and in the late 1940s participated in the Berlin Airlift, an early Cold War showdown in which U.S. and Allied forces ferried food and other supplies into West Berlin. It proved to be just the start of Frank's lifelong ties to Germany and its people.
Frank was with the First Radio Relay Squadron when he married the love of his life, Helga (Spickschen) Hart in 1952. He was working as Site Chief of a relay station on the Donnersberg at Dannenfels, Germany.
Later postings took Frank to Africa, Spain and the Azores. He was back in Germany in the early 1960s when his team made sure President John F. Kennedy's famous "Ich Bin ein Berliner" speech could be heard across the Iron Curtain. Frank was later stationed throughout Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Frank rose through the ranks, reluctantly retiring in 1975 as the USAFE Chief Master Sergeant, a job he loved and did well. After retirement, he moved home to New Hampshire, settling in Stratham and Exeter, and earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Hampshire. Frank was a member of the Bektash Shriners and the Star in the East Lodge No. 59 in Exeter.
Frank was an avid hunter and served as the Jagermeister of Ramstein Air Base, in charge of all hunting on the large installation. He also loved sports, particularly the Boston Red Sox. Though he lived to see them win three World Championships in the last decade, Frank always had the heart of an old time New England fana�"the kind who had been disappointed in the team so many times that it was almost more fun to grouse about them when they struggled. That somehow seemed the more natural order of things to him.
Frank and Helga loved to travel, spending many winters in Florida, and countless happy times in Germany with their extended family. To the end, Frank remained a charmer, a man with a twinkle in his eye. He was at home wherever he went, happy to argue sports or politics with old friends or new. He would gleefully poke fun at others, and was just as pleased when someone dished it right back to him.
Frank is survived by Helga, his loving wife of 62 years; his brother John Hart and his wife Jane; eldest son Christian and his wife Jenny of Orlando FL; Frank C. Hart III of Austin, TX; Erich O. Hart and his wife Leanne of Springfield, VA; and, his daughter Karen Callaghan and her husband Patrick of Portland, ME. He was also admired and deeply loved by his six grandchildren: Alena and Adam Callaghan, Kyle and Samuel Hart, Alexander Hart and Nicholas Jacobs.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Frank C. Hart to the Greenspring Benevolent Care Fund, c/o Greenspring Philanthropy Office, 7410 Spring Village Dr., Springfield, VA 22150