Gerald was also known as , "Frank" or "Lucky." Frank stood six foot one and a half inches tall, and had blue eyes and dark brown hair. Truck driver and steeple-jack were among his many professions, (not to mention, a darn good cook). He loved life, honky tonk music and classic cars, and was a Navy man during the Viet Nam war era. Frank was 26 when he died in a tractor-trailer crash outside San Angelo, Texas in 1971.
Frank and Beverly had three sons, Jody (step son), Thomas and Stephen. Jody now lives in Tennessee, and Thomas and Stephen both live in Texas.
The photo below was taken in 1969 I believe. Beverly died a short time ago back in December 1999.
Photo of Frank & Bev
Courtesy: Stephen Ray Derry
Photo of Frank & T.J. Hogue (Bev's Dad)
Corpus Christi, Texas
Below, is a letter that was written to Frank & Beverly's son, Thomas and his family, from Guy, my brother. The letter is about Guy's memories of Frank (Lucky). Though I was much younger than Guy and Frank, I remember Frank well, and I remember the truck stop & restaurant in Alamogordo.
D. Doc Derry
Just thought I'd send ya some info on the old man.
Chocolate. That was his favorite of sweets. He once drank a can of, I think it was about 12 ounces, Hershey's chocolate syrup, all at one setting, within about five or ten minutes and for the next three or four days his body smelled like chocolate. It was seeping through the pores of his skin.
He loved picking on me until on day he had his head in my belly and I laid down and flipped him over my head and hen got him in a leg lock that he could not break. That ended his tormenting.
From then on he and I became good friends and had a lot of laughs and went places together.
I don't know where he learned to be a dinner cook but he was doing it when he was 18 that I know for a fact because he was running a truck stop restaurant in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
It belonged to a guy named Dwight Smith and Lucky (Frank at that time) started with the night shift and made it start paying for the first time. There was also a service station and garage and that's where Dwight was making the money. He had the restaurant only for a place for the truckers to hang out while they filled up and had their rigs worked on. It was called the North Bay Service Station and Truck stop.
James "Guy" (L) & Frank in Alamogordo, New Mexico
The owner had another one at the other end of town called the PDNX Truck Stop. It was the last one on the way out of town and the first one on the way into town from the military base and White Sands Missile Range.
The guy that had the lease on it from Dwight was losing his butt on it and Lucky talked the guy into letting him sublease it for three months and then if he made good he would continue the lease.
Lucky got me a job with a couple of men that had a portable concrete mixer on White Sands Missile Range. They would give bids for pouring sidewalks to Nike Zeus missile pads. My job was to mix the sand, gravel cement and water to the correct specification. They gave me the specs. Then I would load it into the transport trucks and deliver it. I also had to go to El Paso and pick up the cement bags, gravel and sand in a drag-line end dump on a thirty-five foot trailer. I was 16. Fake ID made me old enough.
The boss picked me up at about 5:30 AM and dropped me off about 5:30 in the evening. I'd be covered with cement from head to food and I'd be whipped. I'd take a shower and in the back of the service station there was a place to bunk and shower for truckers, but we partitioned it for two bedrooms and shared the rather large shower. I'd take a nap for an hour or two and he'd wake me. I'd then help out any way I could, waiting tables, cleaning them, talking to the GIs and we'd always have quarters, painted red, to match anyone that wanted to play the Juke Box, Pin Ball Machine or play Pool. These are the things that made the rent. The rest was the profit. Lucky had his girlfriend as a waitress and a couple of her friends. They had been waitresses for some time so it wasn't like it was something new to them. There was a three bedroom two bath mobile home on the lot and the waitresses shared it at no cost to them, so the got room and board plus wages and tips. It was the best paying job for waitresses in town. Others were ready to sign on if there were any vacancies. There weren't. Then it would start over again the next day. Lucky would take a nap during the slow time, usually about 2-5 in the afternoon when his girlfriend would do the cooking.
He was a damned good cook then at 18, and he got even better later.
Frank(L) & Dad in Alamogordo, New Mexico
James (left) & Frank in Seneca, IL
circa - 1952