Saturday, May 24, 2014

Fred Lark's salute to Frank Bass, the Flying Auctioneer

The phrase and the chant became the signature of one of the most unique and successful auctioneers in the Rocky Montana West …’Montana’s Flying Auctioneer’, FRANK BASS

A courageous man that did not and would not let any physical challenges that confronted him stop his passion and purpose….Auctioneering and Aviation-Flying his own Mooney aircraft.

The phrase "TAKE IT AWAY FRANK" was the familiar start of any FRANK BASS AUCTION,  “the chant” like no other auctioneer  gained everyone’s attention .….the public was always anxious to participate and be entertained at the same time.

Simply stated, a World Class Auctioneer, Aircraft Owner and Pilot, a successful business man.  A loyal friend, great Dad,  loving and caring husband and one of the most positive minded men that would not allow any barriers to get his way.

FRANK’S auction chant will continue to echo though out the territory and you can rest assured he will continue to have FRANK BASS AUCTIONS in the heavens above…….

And, the words will continue to ring in spirit…..

Frank E. Bass

Frank E. Bass 
(July 30, 1931 - May 21, 2014)
Frank E. Bass, “Montana’s Flying Auctioneer” born July 30, 1931 in Tolley North Dakota passed away on May 21, 2014 after a battle with cancer.

Frank was raised and worked on his parents Fred and Lillian Bass’s farm. At the age of 16 he began his life-long passion for flying airplanes, which could have been cut short by an airplane accident that cost him both his legs below his knees. While most would have not ventured back into a plane, Frank learned how to fly again and learned mechanics at Wahpeton School of Science and then logged over 16,000 hours and countless awards in the aviation industry. A charter member of both the Great Falls Hangar and the Central Montana Hangar, a member of the Montana Pilot’s Association since 1958, the recipient of the Master Pilot Award in 2006 for recognition of 50 years of non-incident flying. Most recently he was acknowledge by the Montana Pilots Association for the Bill Mathews award for successful flying while overcoming a handicap, although Frank would never accept the fact that he had a handicap.

His flying involved many mercy missions for medical patients, always willing to provide a ride. He loved to share his passion for flying with anyone and everyone. He was always willing to provide air taxi service to anyone needing a ride and has flown such notables as entertainer Red Foley and his wife.

Frank moved to Central Montana in 1958 and attended the Western School of Auctioneering and started Bass Auction Company in Lewistown in that year. Frank worked hard to develop the company into the largest auction business in the State of Montana, often times logging over 100 auctions a year. The auction business was a family affair with Colie and Curt joining Frank behind the microphone and Deedee running tickets and helped in the business office. No family member was left out as the rest of the family all pitched in where needed. A local favorite was the Thursday night auctions at the Bass Auction Barn where a packed house would bring “merchandise” to buy and sell, much like the modern day e-bay. Bass Auction was very active in the community and performed countless benefit auctions including the annual 4th of July cake auction where it is legend that one year Frank sold a cake for $750.00. Auctioneering was Frank’s passion and even into retirement, it would not take much coaxing to get him to demonstrate his auction chant.

In 1964 Frank started the Bass Mooney Aircraft company selling “the best airplane – Mooney”. He sold the FBO in 1971 and it operates to this day.

Frank moved to the Beacon Star Ranch on the Crystal Lake road in 1975, and transformed 160 acres into 3 runways, a hanger to house over 6 airplanes. Life at Beacon Star offered a special gathering spot with fellow flyers dropping in for impromptu visits and fly-in’s featuring airplanes of every vintage and style. Annual Father’s Day fly-ins drew hundreds of visitors including the years Governor Judy Marks helped flip pancakes for the hungry crowds.

Frank was a mechanical artist. He found broken down piles of yesterday’s tractors and brought them back to life with the knowledge, experience, and passion of an artist.

Frank was never at a loss for words and talked proudly of his belief in Country, his love for Patty, his fondness for John Deere, Merle Haggard, John Wayne and anything conservative.

Frank was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Lillian Bass, his brother, LaVern (Rose) and a grandson, Joey Wyatt.

Frank leaves behind his wife of 20 years, Pat; his children Barbara (Jerry), Colie (Dorinda), Curt (Michelle), Jeff and Tyler Bass and his blended family to include Steve, Matt and Mark Buck, their sister Diane (Deedee) and Jody d’Autremont (John), Jay Gordon, Jon Gordon (Roxanne) plus many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Frank is truly now the Flying Auctioneer.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held Saturday, May 24, 11:00 a.m. at Zion Lutheran Church. Inurnment follows at Lewistown City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Hospice of Central Montana, 408 Wendell Ave., Lewistown, MT 59457.

Frank’s family and friends may express condolences at Service and cremation arrangements are under the care of Creel Funeral Home.

1 comment:

  1. I knew Frank as a youngster...We lived in Lewistown and all over Montana on the east side and also on the west side of the Rocky Mountain divide. I was raised in North Dakota, Rolette to be specific. He stopped by our house on an occasion or two. He had what we called back then wooden legs. It seemed that nothing stopped him. I was between 8 and 12 years old as I recall. I am not 71. My parents were Alfred and Betty La Croix. There are some things children to not forget. Frank was roughly four years younger than my mother and father. Okay....conservatism was a lot different back in those days. Audios....