Frank Eicher, longtime Iowa City resident, florist, banker, real estate developer, proud father and Hawkeye for life, passed away on June 1, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minn., after several years of declining health.
He was born Franklin J. Eicher in Wayland, Iowa, to Grace (Swartz) and Jacob Eicher on Jan. 20, 1926. Frank grew up on the family farm in Wayland. He followed
his brothers Chuck and Dan into the service and joined the U.S. Army Air Corps, training as B-17 ball turret gunner. Although he never saw action, he served in the U.S. National Reserves up until the Vietnam War. Frank, a proud patriot, had the honor of traveling to Washington, D.C., for America's Veteran Honor Flight in 2013.
After graduating from the University of Iowa, Frank made Iowa City his home. He bought Aldous Flowers in 1948 and renamed it Eicher Florist. One of his first employees, Mary Jo Myers, became his wife, partner and the mother of their seven children. Together, they built the company into Eastern Iowa's largest full-service florist and garden center.
Frank built the uniBank & Trust in Coralville (now merged with Hills Bank) and served as the president. He developed several apartment complexes in Eastern Iowa, as well as other real estate projects in Iowa and Florida.
Frank enjoyed singing, collecting vintage Mustang convertibles and supporting the University of Iowa sports teams. An adventurous traveler, after World War II, he traveled with three of his service mates exploring postwar Europe driving from England, France, Germany and Italy. He loved Latin America and took his family on many exotic trips to Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Guatemala and more.
In 1987, Frank and Maxine (Lester) were married and, in 1994, they retired to Florida, first in Tarpon Springs, and later in Fort Myers. Together, they continued to manage real estate investments and enjoy the warm weather. Frank was a member of the United Methodist Church during his Iowa City years, and later in Fort Myers, Fla., where he was a member of the church choir. In recent years, due to Frank's declining health and Hurricane Irma, he and Maxine relocated to Minneapolis, where one of her sons resides.
Frank was preceded in death by his parents; his siblings, Dr. Charles R. "Chuck" Eicher, Daniel S. Eicher and Marie Boozel; and his first wife and mother of his children, Mary Jo (Myers) Eicher.
He leaves seven children, Carol Eicher of Twentynine Palms, Calif., Charles Eicher of Iowa City, Iowa, Susan Eicher (spouse Steve Caffey) of Eugene, Ore., Janet Eicher (spouse Cameron Johnston) of Seattle, Wash., Deborah Eicher (spouse Eric Brown) of London, England, Mary Cross (spouse Richard Thames) of Apex, N.C., and Richard Eicher (spouse Jessica Schultz) of Seattle, Wash.; grandchildren, Brittany Taylor, Taylor Cross, Victoria Cross, Spencer Eicher, Hannah Merta and Haley Smith; and great-grandchildren, Evan Eicher, Opal and Ruby Merta, Madilyn and Kendrick Smith and Adeline Cross.
In addition to wife Maxine, he leaves her four children, Mark (partner Gustavo Calderon) of San Francisco, Calif., Gary Van Cleve (spouse Nancy) of Minneapolis, Minn., Lori Wagner of Highlands Ranch, Colo., and Amy Van Cleve (spouse John Gilliam) of Mesa, Ariz.; stepgrandchildren, Annie Van Cleve, Mark Van Cleve, Maddie Dumas, Jesse Wagner and Ben Wagner; and stepgreat-grandson, Andre Dumas.
Frank was given a solemn departure ceremony by the Minnesota Veterans Home where he had been living. A public memorial service in Iowa City and interment in the Eicher Cemetery in Wayland, Iowa, will be postponed until after the health crisis has passed. In the meantime, memories are being shared at lifeweb360.com/franklin-j-eicher
Donations may be made in his memory to the Alzheimer's Association.