Frank W. Orme

March 29, 1932 - March 11, 2015
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Frank was born in Los Angeles and was raised there and in Walnut Creek, graduating from Acalanes High (as a shy track star!) in 1950. He received a BA and PhD in Physiology from UC Berkeley where he did research for more than 15 years. He later taught Human Anatomy and Physiology, Biology and Ecology at Laney, Merritt and Chabot colleges. His advanced degree was only one expression of his lifetime love of learning. An avid reader and polymath, he studied a wide range of topics including photography, mountain medicine, chemistry, literature, history, botany and Scottish country dancing.

While at UC Berkeley, he met the love of his life, the lovely Ann Ohlander, to whom he was married for close to 55 years and with whom he hiked, backpacked, and skied in the High Sierras. They raised their 3 children (Christine, Lynnette and Stephan) by reading to them, taking them into the wilderness, and every day making manifest a great sense of curiosity, joy, and love.

His family formed a tribe with the Sholtz and Jackson families in the 1960s and enjoyed more than 50 years of Christmas cabins, backpacking trips, bridge and board games, plays in Ashland, visits to Point Reyes, weaving ourselves together through various tribulations and celebrations.

Later it gave him immense joy to be a grandfather to Janine, Katy, and Lexy; he was their biggest fan and they were a source of much joy. When hearing that a granddaughter was on the way, he declared, “Now I will have someone to play with”. He did all the things with them that his own children remember – reading out loud, setting up scavenger hunts, snowball fights, and tickle-fests. He shared photography classes and pie- making lessons and showed up for track meets, dance shows, music concerts, and graduations.

He was most truly himself in the mountains and delighted in sharing his love of nature, taking his children backpacking even as toddlers. At 71, he walked the entire John Muir Trail – mostly solo. He enjoyed snow camping and twice skied across the Sierras.

Always kind, and often silly, Frank delighted in the absurd and was a patron of puns, poetry and pie. He was fond of hot springs and cold beer and particularly enjoyed the hot springs in Kern Canyon – roughly 20 miles into the wilderness.

He was an inspired photographer, teacher and botanist, combining these loves as a docent for the UC botanical gardens for 23 years. He particularly enjoyed teaching kids and had a special rapport with them.

Besides his immediate family, Frank is survived by two sisters, Donna Jarvis and Carol Stice, as well as his siblings’ extended families. He was dearly loved by his family and friends and will be greatly missed.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Pacific Crest Trail Association.

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Born: March 29, 1932
Died: March 11, 2015

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