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Murphy Funeral Homes

OBITUARY

Frank Rainer Prautzsch

July 23, 1954July 15, 2021
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Frank Rainer Prautzsch was a devoted husband and father who touched many lives. He was born in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, on July 23, 1954, and passed away on July 15, 2021. Frank was the first American citizen in his family. His family arrived through Ellis Island with a small trunk, $50 in cash, and four train tickets to Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

He grew up operating a struggling dairy farm that his family purchased. Between his daily chores beginning at 4 am, no weekends, no holidays, and a full school course load, his entire childhood was shaped by that dairy farm. This instilled Frank’s strong family values and work ethics, frugality, and a strong will to be successful and a proud American.

In his family's eyes he was a hero because he did the unexpected, at the right time, and whether asked or not, he accomplished things greater than himself. He dedicated his life to serving his country and family, making great sacrifices to provide for their physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs.

Frank attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, and graduated with a B.S. in General Engineering in 1977 and completed the Command and General Staff College.

Frank attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, and graduated with an M.S. in Systems Technology in 1986. Over his military career he served in a variety of technical and operational capacities on numerous global missions, and focused his expertise on establishing satellite communications and the space domain as critical military enablers. He retired as Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Army in 1997 and was awarded the Military Legion of Merit.

In his civilian life, Frank served as the Director of Army Requirements, Hughes Space and Communications/Boeing Satellite Systems. Next he served as Director of the Rapid Initiatives Group and Director of Business Development for Communications Systems and attended Raytheon Executive Management School at the University of Chicago. While at Raytheon, he was awarded a U.S. patent for a “system and technique for situational awareness”. After Raytheon, Frank became the Senior Vice President for ORBCOMM. His last role was Chief Executive Officer of Birmingham Technologies (BT) and President of Velocity Technology Partners, LLC. Frank was recognized internationally as a leader in satellite communications, IT, energy, and climate change initiatives, and space systems.

Frank was passionate about supporting veterans. He was one of the founders of the Academy of US Veterans, an organization that raises funds to support veteran suicide prevention. He was most recently honored with a Vetty Award on July 3, 2021, for Philanthropy. The Academy has now made this award a lifetime achievement award as a tribute to him beginning in Jan. 2022.

He leaves behind his wife Linda, his daughter, Kristin, his son, Alex, a brother, Detlev, and a sister, Dagmar.

The Prautzsch family thanks all of you for your prayers, support, and friendship.

There will be open viewing hours at Murphy Funeral Home, 4510 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203 on Thursday, July 22, 2021 from 4:00 - 8:00 PM ET.

Interment will take place at West Point on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021 at 10am.

Services

24 August

Graveside Service

10:00 am - 11:00 am

West Point Cemetery

329 Washington Road
West Point, NY 10996

24 August

Graveside Service

10:00 am - 11:00 am

West Point Cemetery

329 Washington Rd
West Point, NY 10996

PREVIOUS SERVICES:

  • Visitation

    Thursday, July 22, 2021

  • Visitation

    Thursday, July 22, 2021

Memories

Frank Rainer Prautzsch

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Kevin & Suzanne Scherrer

July 24, 2021

While I didn’t know Frank well at USMA, we linked up decades later in Northern Virginia. Frank and Linda joined Suzanne and me at our Alexandria home for a small Christmas party. Frank’s warmth, energy, and humor dominated the room, and we were blessed to have him with us. The Army and the Nation are much better for his service and his life. God bless you, Frank - well done!

Andrew R. Manuele

July 21, 2021

I was deeply saddened to hear of Frank’s passing. We were classmates at West Point, and though we weren’t in the same companies, we shared several classes together during our years there, as well as a number of mutual friends. I shall remember Frank as a big-hearted man who never got rattled when things were toughest. During our days as cadets, Frank always greeted me with warmth and camaraderie. My career in the Army after graduation was not as rich as it would have been had we been able to serve together. A wonderful man and a true gentleman, I shall pray for him and his family.

MICHAEL HODGES

July 20, 2021

Kristin,

Please know that you And your family are in our hearts and our prayers. Rest assured in this hardest of times that your dad was loved and loved many in return.

I first met your dad when we as plebes during Plēbe summer both auditioned for the football team at West Point. After a tough pounding, I took on one of those one-on-one drills by your dad; he reached over with his big head and a big smile and pulled me up to my feet with the words “welcome to college football.”

Later, when we were in the same company D-1 as Plebes, we found out that we both grew up on dairy farms and had many conversations about those experiences that our classmates did not understand.

Additionally, we played on the company football team One year -- both at the request of our company tack office captain Lopresti. As the quarterback, I relished that my left guard was Frank, who always protected my butt. On defense, we were always on the left side together, Frank on the line and I as his linebacker.

No matter what the situation, your Dad always was having fun and made others have fun, which made being around him so enjoyable.

May the Holy Spirit comfort you and yours during this time, and I hope to meet you at West Point on 24 August.

God Bless

Mike Hodges, D-1, 77’

Lance Gatling

July 20, 2021

Linda, my sincere condolences to you and your family.

Frank was my classmate in the West Point class of 1977.

We were casually acquainted at West Point but later Frank and Linda lived above me in a small, four apartment building at US Naval Postgraduate School, Monterrey, CA in 1985-1986 where we became dinner and afternoon beer buds. After retirement, we both worked at Hughes Space and Communications, which was bought by Raytheon, and we met time to time over many years at various events despite the distance.

I was always impressed with his generosity, intellect and enthusiasm. I was a newcomer to satellite communications and his broad expertise and experience were very welcome. One of the last times we met he described a high frequency radio technical development project he was leading, and his knowledge and leadership were still apparent and infectious.

Rest in peace, my friend.

Sincerely,

Lance Gatling
Tokyo

Phyllis Ogelby

July 19, 2021

Linda, Kristin and Alex,
Please accept my deepest sympathy. My heart breaks for you all.
I am praying that the Lord will wrap His loving arms around you all and give you comfort. I know that the Lord will walk beside you and help you through the difficult days ahead.
With love, Cousin Phyllis Ogelby

Brett Lewis

July 19, 2021

This is very sad news,,, Frank and I were roommates during "Beast" - Our first summer and indoctrination at West Point. BIG guy with an even bigger heart. He helped me through it tremendously. Always encouraging. Always a great attitude ... and he REALLY showed me how to shine shoes!! ... His always looked like glass!
I added a photo I'd had for years. That's me - 2nd from the left - first row, and you can see Frank 2 rows up directly behind me.
My goodness... we were so young... I'd spoken to Frank sparingly over the years. But I never called him Frank... It was "roomie". Well Done roomie... Be Thou At Peace. My sincere condolences to his family. He will be missed.

R. Mark Brown

July 19, 2021

Condolences and prayers to Linda, Kristin, Alex, Detlev and Dagmar. I first met big Frank in 1973 when we entered the USMA Prep School together and we graduated West Point and served together until Frank’s retirement. It was an honor to call him a classmate, fellow officer and friend. He was always among the best of us. Upbeat, friendly, hardworking, humorous and honorable are all words that describe Frank. I well remember many times together in class, on the athletic fields and in the Army. I always admired him for the way he conducted himself at all times. He was always the perfect embodiment of a West Pointer and Army officer. Frank is gone too soon, but had a life well lived by any measure. “Well done” Frank, “Be thou at peace.”

Michael Johnson

July 19, 2021

Frank and I were in the same squad during “Beast Barracks” the Summer of 1973. Everyone in our squad was 6’3” or taller except Jose’ Figures from Costa Rica. Jose’ went on to become the President of Costa Rica.
Coming out of Nebraska, Frank was football material. I recall Frank lost so much weight during Beast Barracks that all of his uniforms had to be taken in significantly. We survived Beast Barracks and were both assigned to Company D-1. Frank was a lot smarter than me so, we didn’t have academic classes together. Frank was always ranked towards the top of our Class and played everything by the book.
During the Summer of 1976, going into our Senior Year, I met a beautiful young lady (Linda Danisi) at West Point’s Delafield Pond. Linda and I dated frequently during Senior Year. Frank and I were roommates when I called Linda to ask her out for Ring Weekend. Linda said, “Frank already asked me.” I looked across the room and gave Frank the meanest look I could muster! Frank started dating Linda through the rest of our Senior Year and of course they got married.
It was always nice to see Frank and Linda at our West Point reunions. Frank has been a regular on our D-1 Company Zoom calls. I am shocked by his passing. My prayers and thoughts are with Linda and the entire family. I know everyone was proud of Frank as a professional and most importantly a person.
“Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21 🙏

Pat Rayermann

July 19, 2021

Frank was a valued colleague and a good friend. We were both Army SATCOMers and collaborated on many different topics during the years after he retired from the Army. Frank was an innovative thinker and an effective advocate for change and the evolution of capability. He was consistently full of energy and could always be counted on to be thinking about "how do we make this--whatever "this" was--better. Our friendship develop through a shared desire to improve SATCOM support for U.S. military forces.
May you rest peacefully; your life was well-lived and made a tremendous constructive difference to satellite communications. You were a good friend and a valued mentor. Thank you and rest well.

Ed Black

July 19, 2021

Our fondest memory of Frank was him giving our son horseback rides when we were stationed together in Karlsruhe. The world is a lesser place without his presence.

FROM THE FAMILY