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Official Obituary of

Francis (Frank) Joseph Thell III

November 7, 1946 ~ March 19, 2024 (age 77) 77 Years Old
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Francis (Frank) Thell III Obituary

Francis (Frank) Joseph Thell III of St. Paul, MN died on March 19, 2024, in Surprise, AZ. Frank was born on November 7, 1946, in St. Paul, MN. He graduated from Cretin High School in 1964. He spent several summers as a youth counselor with the YMCA for children with special needs. Frank earned his Associate of Arts in social work/business from the University of Minnesota in 1966. During the Vietnam War, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy serving at the Fort Snelling Naval Air Station from November 1967 until his honorable discharge in May 1970. Upon his discharge, he and his wife Dawn (Lovell) briefly lived in Minneapolis and St. Cloud, eventually finding a home in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul, MN. After 13 years, they relocated again to Forest Lake, MN in 1990. Frank attended the Permanent Diaconate Formation Program and was ordained a permanent Catholic deacon in 1990 at the Cathedral of St. Paul. Frank earned his Bachelor of Arts in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling from Metropolitan State University in 1993. Frank felt his ministry calling was to be a Police and Fire chaplain, volunteering over 24 years in law enforcement chaplaincy. He volunteered with the St. Paul Police Department, Ramsey County Sherrif’s Department, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Department. Additionally, he served as a Chaplain for the Forest Lake Fire Department and spent over ten years as a self-employed Chaplain counselor. He lectured on spirituality, grief, anger and heard fifth steps. As a counselor for Survivor Resources, he counseled families of victims of homicide, suicide, and accidental deaths. In this role, after the I-35W bridge collapse of 2007, he helped create a grief counseling group specifically for the survivors. Frank retired in 2008 and remained in Forest Lake until Dawn’s retirement. He enjoyed spending time with Dawn playing their daily game of Yahtzee and watching their grandchildren grow. His hobbies included woodworking, crafts, stained glass, yardwork, home remodeling, crosswords and lunch with friends at Friar’s. In retirement, he and Dawn spent several winters “snow birding” in Florida and Arizona. They enjoyed the friends they made at Happy Trails Resort, in Surprise, AZ and decided to buy a home and leave the Minnesota winters behind. Frank was proud of their “Desert Rat” status they earned by remaining in Arizona throughout the summer.

Frank is preceded in death by his parents Francis and Virgina (Esch) Thell and his son-in-law Shawn Perkins. He is survived by his beloved wife Dawn (Lovell), daughter Lissa (Schmitz), sons Christopher and Deborah (Mattson), Peter and Heidi (Hulsing), Michael and Jennifer (La Vaque), his Grandchildren Geoffrey, Adriana, Michelle, Sydney, Samuel, Nolan, Jonah, Mitchell, Catherine, Jacob and 6 great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister Sue and Robert Hobday, brother Thomas and Marie (Madia) Thell, brother-in law Matthew (and Maggie) Landman, many nieces, nephews, cousins, and countless friends.

There will be a celebration of life for Frank from 12:00 – 2:00 pm on Saturday, April 20, 2024, at the American Legion in Forest Lake, MN. We welcome his friends and family to come celebrate him, sharing memories and stories that showcase his life. In lieu of flowers, please make any donation to the Forest Lake Fire Department parade fund.

 

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Francis (Frank) Thell III

November 7, 1946-March 19, 2024




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In Loving Memory Of

Francis (Frank) Thell III

November 7, 1946-March 19, 2024




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Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in the book.   


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