Frank Eicher, long-time Iowa City resident, florist, banker, real estate developer, proud father, and Hawkeye for life, passed away on June 1, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota after several years of declining health.
Born Franklin J. Eicher in Wayland, Iowa to Grace (Swartz) and Jacob Eicher on January 20, 1926, Frank grew up on the family farm in Wayland, Iowa. He followed his brothers Chuck and Dan into the service, and joined the Army Air Corps, training as B-17 ball turret gunner. Although he never saw action, he served in the 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 its 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 WWII he traveled with three of his service mates exploring post war 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, Florida, 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, CA; Charles Eicher of Iowa City, IA; Susan Eicher (spouse Steve Caffey) of Eugene, OR; Janet Eicher (spouse Cameron Johnston) of Seattle, WA; Deborah Eicher (spouse Eric Brown) of London, England; Mary Cross (spouse Richard Thames) of Apex, NC; Richard Eicher (spouse Jessica Schultz) of Seattle, WA; as well as grandchildren Brittany Taylor, Taylor Cross, Victoria Cross, Spencer Eicher, Hannah Merta, and Haley Smith. Great grandchildren are 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, CA; Gary Van Cleve (spouse Nancy) of Minneapolis, MN; Lori Wagner of Highlands Ranch, CO; and Amy Van Cleve (spouse John Gilliam) of Mesa, AZ. Step-grandchildren are Annie Van Cleve, Mark Van Cleve, Maddie Dumas, Jesse Wagner, and Ben Wagner; and step-great-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 memories.lifeweb360.com/franklin-j-eicher
Donations may be made in his memory to the Alzheimer’s Association.