Murphy Funeral Homes


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.

Frank was also active in advocating for special needs persons of all ages. He coached several Special Olympics athletic teams, dedicating the little of the free time he had to making sure athletes with disabilities had a fulfilling, healthy life.

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.


  • Visitation

    Thursday, July 22, 2021

  • Visitation

    Thursday, July 22, 2021

  • Graveside Service

    Tuesday, August 24, 2021

  • Graveside Service

    Tuesday, August 24, 2021


Frank Rainer Prautzsch

have a memory or condolence to add?

Larry Dowdle

September 13, 2021

Frank was my sponsor when I went to Karlsruhe, Germany, 72nd Signal Battalion in 1979. My wife and I arrived with twins about 8 months old. Frank had a nice apartment all ready for us, including furniture and food in the refrigerator. What a great blessing for tired travelers. I remember his 280Z sports car that he let me drive for a week while he was stateside. Great man and friend!

Mark Coe

August 12, 2021

I had the unique pleasure of growing up with Frank. We started kindergarten together and had many of the same classes clear through high school. We played the same games in elementary school, and Frank was the only one in the building who could kick a soccer ball the entire length of the playground, about 80 yards. Naturally, everyone wanted him on their team. Later on Frank and I played on the same side of the line in football, and he often made me look better than I was because he played so well.
We were all a bit surprised when he went into the military, but with his innate talents it was a great fit for him and I know his parents were quite justifiably proud of his accomplishments, as were his classmates.
I often shared Frank's story with my students as an example of the American Dream coming true. He and his family were inspirational people, and I am proud to say I knew them and that he was my friend.

Shauna Libsack

August 12, 2021

My most sincere condolences to Linda and family and Dagmar and Detlif. I was a classmate of Frank’s - Mitchell High School class of 1972. Frank was the gentle giant that we all found to be such a pillar of strength and voice of reason. I was looking forward to seeing him next summer at our 50th reunion. He will definitely be missed. May he Rest In Peace and memories be a blessing to you all.

Bruce Jones

August 12, 2021

As a member of the 1970 class at Mitchell High School, Frank was a couple years behind me, but he played on the Varsity Basketball Team w me when he was a sophomore. Even then, his personal drive, compassion & signs of Leadership were evident. I followed Frank’s career over the years with admiration.

My heart is with the family during this time of mourning. Frank has left behind a footprint, professionally & personally, that will never be filled. May you take comfort in his memories and his love of family & zest for life.

R.I.P. Frank. God Bless you & your family.

Chris Meeker

August 11, 2021

I am so sorry for Frank's passing and I send my deepest condolences to all of his family and friends. I attended Mitchell High School with Frank (and Frank's father delivered eggs to my grandmother). Frank was highly respected because of his kind and gentle spirit, along with his strong work ethic. The world would be a better place if we had more people like Frank. With deep sympathy.

Jack Carlson

August 11, 2021

I moved just before High School and lost touch, but when I thought of my friends in Mitchell I always thought of Frank as the nicest and most decent person I knew. Now to find out how accomplished he was I am not surprised in the least. I was privileged to have been his friend.

Jack Carlson

Sandra (Strauch)Gabel

August 11, 2021

My thoughts and prayers are with you! I just learned today of Frank’s passing. I am so sorry! I was a high school classmate! I remember Frank playing basketball and football. He was an all around super guy. I didn’t keep up well with his progress at West Point and in his military career! I knew it would be great. He was always the kind and considerate one.
Great job Frank!
Sandy Gabel
Sandra K Strauch Class of 1972 Mitchell Nebraska

Ed Smith

August 7, 2021

On behalf of the Class of 1977 of West Point, New York, and the West Point Association of Graduates, please accept our condolences for the loss of Frank. We share in your loss. The Class of 1977 has sent a $77 donation in Frank's name to the Recovery Project of the Academy of US Veterans. Respectfully, Ed Smith, Treasurer, Class of 1977.

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.