Elder Statesman of the Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning Industry,
Loving Father, Science Fiction Fan and Part-time Writer, kind and warm friend,
Earl F. "Frank" Fields, passed away in his sleep Friday, February 20, 1998, at the age of 77.
All evidence suggests he passed away peacefully, without pain. He leaves behind many loving relatives and friends.
Dad looked pretty studly in his business suit, as you can see. But I remember him most in a flannel shirt, droopy old denims, and comfortable shoes, grinding a telescope mirror or otherwise fiddling at the work bench in the garage.
Dad had this funny way of looking over his glasses at you, like he was mad at you for something... but he was just messing with you. Nothing he hated more than having to pull the "Parent Trip"... he was much happier as friend to us kids.
Dad was probably the kindest, gentlest soul I've ever known. He dealt, patiently, with five stubborn, thick-headed, opinionated kids, who didn't always get along well. Dad would then have the unenviable task of negotiator, a task he carried out with flying colors.
...And where did we get this stubbornness from?
My late Mom and Dad in 1968.
Mom never liked the way her smile looked in photographs... it looks fine here!
Mom was a "tough cookie". She gave a lot of herself, but demanded a lot as well. Mom especially wanted a lot from life... some of which she got and some she didn't. She transcended the poverty of her Depression-era childhood in Alberquerque, New Mexico, had a great husband and kids, and lived in some nice homes in Palo Alto.. but she never got the career in science she wanted, feeling shackled, she felt, by sexism and "getting knocked-up with five kids".
Mom consoled herself with palm reading, tarot cards, and Past Life regression. She claimed that, in one past life "she" was a Mayan "king" and Dad was "his wife", who stabbed "him" in the back.
Mom never let Dad live that down!
From Dad I inherited an interest in Science Fiction, from Mom my stubbornness in pursuing my Voice interests, and from both, I like to think I inherited a sense of humor.
The first home I lived in... with add-on by Dad and Cliff
We lived in this house for the first four years of my life... an Eichler in Palo Alto. Like many Eichlers, it's noteworthy for it's open-beam ceilings and center court yard. Dad hated it for being an un-comfortable home, mom loved it for it's beauty.
I include it here to point out the structure on the right, sticking out to the right of the front door. My late Dad, and oldest brother Cliff, built this structure, which has since been torn down, perhaps in the name of Architectural Purity. I, for one, feel it looks quite "Eichler-esque"- fitting in beautifully with the existing structure.
Dad loved to build, a trait my brother Cliff inherited.
I'm the youngest of four surviving kids. Cliff's the oldest, then Pat, then El, then Myself. The oldest sister, Doris, passed away in 1973 of an asthma attack, at the age of 21.
Please enjoy the following sound bites of my Dad and Mom, with cameos by myself, my sister Ellen, and my late Grandma Fields.
Dad and Grandma (607k)
Dad was good to his mom, the late Grandma King, as evidenced in this clip from Christmas '85.
Our late Mom, Elizabeth Fields, also Xmas '85.
Mom & Dad (206k)
Mom and Dad, also Xmas '85. Mom was asking me about a new tape recorder I got. My sister, Ellen, and Dad, comment in the background.