Frank Maxwell GaffkeJanuary 18, 2015
Frank Maxwell Gaffke, Colonel, United States Army - Retired, age 94, of Bolivia, North Carolina, passed away peacefully on Thursday, January 15, 2015. He was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, on February 8, 1920, the son of Frank and Gertrude Ann Williams Gaffke. He attended Immaculate Conception Elementary School and graduated from Jefferson City Senior High School. Upon graduation, he was employed by the Works Project Association (WPA). He was inducted into active military service on October 10, 1940 as a private. He attended Officer Candidate School and in 1941 was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Artillery. In subsequent years, he attended the Infantry Officer Basic Course, the Advanced Artillery Course, the Command and General Staff College, and the Nuclear Weapons Assembly and Employment Course. During his 38 years of service, Colonel Gaffke commanded a Nike-Hercules Air Defense Battalion in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was designated the Artillery Officer for the 8th Army in South Korea. Additional assignments included the Combat Developments Command and the Test and Evaluations Command. His overseas assignments included Iceland Base Command, 1st U.S. Army and the invasion of Normandy. At the end of World War II, he was assigned to the 9th U.S. Army of Occupation in Germany. Colonel Gaffke's commendations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters and the Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster. Campaign ribbons include American Theater of Operations, prior service of Pearl Harbor and the European Theater of Operations with six combat stars, Battle of the Bulge, Battle of the German Rhineland, and Closure with the Russian Forces at the end of World War II. He retired with the rank of Colonel in 1976. He is survived by his four children - Marieanne Young (Bill) of Bolivia, North Carolina; Gretchen West (Mac) of Sunset Beach, North Carolina; Stephanie Crigger (Terry) of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Mark Gaffke of Summerville, South Carolina; his eight grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Colonel Gaffke was pre-deceased by his beloved wife of 58 years, Frances Laird, of McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Inurnment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery. In memory of the Colonel, contributions can be sent to Lower Cape Fear Hospice and Life Care Center, 955 Mercy Lane SE, Bolivia, NC 28422 (www.lcfh.org).