Mr. Fakes, better known as "Hap", was born on March 18, 1918, in rural Miami, Missouri, the son of Aaron Albert Frakes and Mary Elizabeth Parsons. His 5-year old sister Rosetta, named him Happy Charley after a doll that was popular at the time. Dr. Sullivan of Miami said it was a good name for him, because he was laughing when he was born. "Happy" is a Viking word, and like his Viking ancestors, Hap was a gifted story teller who loved to make people laugh, hence the name suited him perfectly. Frakes were Vikings from Denmark who settled in Normandy and married the French women. They migrated to England under William the Conqueror and two Frakes knights immigrated to America in 1580. Hap's father, a big man like his Norseman forefathers, inherited the French black hair and Scandinavian blue eyes, whereas Hap's hair was black, eyes hazel and he was of average physique. He was raised by the Missouri River at the foothills of Van Meter State Park on a farm, which lies next to the Grand Pass Conservation Area, a wildlife reserve since 1979. Hap is the grandson of Marion Frakes, a pioneer of Mercer County, Missouri, and a veteran of the Civil War. Historians have recorded Marion, Aaron and Hap in books: Mercer County Pioneer Traces Volume I, and History of Saline County 2000. Hap's father, Aaron Albert, and his grandfather, Madison Monroe Parsons, moved to Saline County in 1900. They heard from relatives already living in the area that it was the best farm ground around, rich in timber, game and fish. Frakes and Parsons farmed, trapped and started their own logging business. Hap attended Miami schools, and like his Viking ancestors he did not attend church. Hap worked the farm, sawed lumber on his father's old steamer and helped his older brothers build houses for the new settlers in Carroll County. At age 18, he moved to Colorado and rode the rodeo circuit as a bronco buster.
At 25, Hap returned to Saline County, hung up his spurs, and married Anna Lee Wing of Wakenda, Missouri, on July 29, 1940. She is the daughter of John Thomas Ewing and Agnes Helene Antener and the granddaughter of immigrant Justice Robert Ewing of Logan County, Kentucky, 1718-1787. Hap farmed, trapped, fished commercially and served as a guide for duck hunters with his father-in-law. He built his own duck blinds, boats, fishing lures and knitted his commercial fishing nets: hoop and trammel. Hap's wife never worked outside the home all the years of their marriage. However, she did raise flowers and sold them from a greenhouse at their residence. The flood of 1951 destroyed their home in the Waverly bottoms, hence Hap bought a place in Grand Pass, Missouri, where he and Anna Lee raised a family of six children, all formally educated. Hap was always a devoted husband and father. His family and friends will remember him for his festive fish fries, which he served up with a heaping platter of tall fish tales. The catfish, carp and sturgeon he caught, cleaned and deep fried himself in a huge black caldron in his back yard. He mixed his own cornmeal batter and everyone swore: "No one can cook them better than Hap and some of his fish stories are legendary." He will also be remembered for his truckloads of delicious giant black diamond watermelons which he grew in the sandy river bottoms. They were always blue ribbon winners at the county fair. At 46, he survived a near fatal illness and he successfully completed the Blue Valley Rehabilitation Program, which enabled him to wire Peterbilt trucks for White Trucking Company and to work at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City until his retirement. At 65, he returned to his beloved home in Grand Pass, Missouri, where he happily lived out his remaining years. His last days were spent in Warsaw Health and Rehabilitation Center in Warsaw, Missouri, where he joined his former wife, Anna, who was already a resident.
Hap was preceded in death by his parents, and all 12 brothers and sisters: Viola, Lincoln, Lula Lockwood, Bessie Foote, Grant, Willie, Martha Sanderson, Cindia, Ella, Elmer, Rosetta Parks and Jimmy; his stepmother, Hazel Girtha Adams (1906-1947); plus 11 half brothers and sisters, Albert Lee, Girtha Mae, Mary Elizabeth, Cindi Ellen Morrow, Rosa Ella McComber, Della Hazel, Aaron Louis, Charles Tony, Daisy Anne Morrow/Campbell, Dale and Donald.
He is survived by three sons, Charles Herbert, and wife Mary of Merrill, Michigan, Raymond Edward and his wife Dixie of Grandview, Mo., Earl Wayne Sr. and his wife Penny of Kansas City, Mo.; three daughters, Diana Ruth Tyler/Young, (DAR No. 800193) of Kansas City, Mo., Katherine Irene Anderson, of Lee's Summit, Mo., and Barbara Lee, of the state of Wisconsin; a half-sister, Inez Marie Herrin of Algood, Tennessee; 11 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a wealth of nieces and nephews.
Graveside services and interment for Charley "Happy" Frakes will be at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, June 15, 2006, at the Mt. Nebo Cemetery in Grand Pass, Missouri. No visitation. Arrangements under the direction of the Reser Funeral Home, Warsaw. Memorials may be made to the charity of your choice.
Additional information provided per family recompense.