Frank Doll: Caught between love and war |

Frank Doll: Caught between love and war

Shirley WelchVail, CO Colorado

In April of 1939, Frank and his family left La Jolla. When Frank climbed in the car and looked over his shoulder for the last time to catch a glimpse of the ocean, he decided there wasn’t anything he didn’t know about avocados, oranges, grapefruits, lemon, limes, fishing in the ocean, and sunburns. That winter Frank also learned that anyone could get a job if they wanted one, and he learned that he would be rewarded for doing a good job.So with Morton on the mend and springtime in the air, the family headed for home. For a detour, they drove north and visited the Worlds Fair in San Francisco. The family spent two days there, wandering the exhibits and trying all sorts of different food. Then they piled in the car and headed for Colorado.

That following summer was a time of reflection for Frank, about where he was headed and what he would do with himself. That boy who had attended the School of Mines and found himself uncomfortable in new settings and in a city situation had changed: California had changed him. He was a confident young man now, sure of himself and aware he could manage new tasks. Because he was sure he did not want to return to the Colorado School of Mines, Frank enrolled in Colorado A&M in Fort Collins. While he had decided he would like to study to become a vet, his mother didn’t see much use for the profession and her objections held. Thus Frank majored in animal sciences with a minor in chemistry. Although Frank never lost his love of geology, he found he liked math and especially was fond of the lab courses he needed to take, such as bacteriology. Growing things in cultures seemed a fun thing to do and to this day Frank admits he knows how people get sick. Besides his classes, Frank immersed himself in extracurricular activities that would help form his future life. He loved anything to do with sports, and while not inclined size wise to excel in college sports, he became the sports editor of the school newspaper and also was the assistant editor of the school yearbook, two jobs that would help form his ability to put words on paper.

Also, during his years at A&M, Frank went through ROTC and in the summer attended ROTC camps. As his education drew to a close, WWII was in full swing. It had certain impacts of all young men at the time, and Frank was disappointed that the ROTC camp during the summer of 1942 was canceled due to the war.War played heavily on all Americans minds. At the height of the war, some 12 million Americans were involved with the war effort. Here was Frank about to graduate from college and was enlisted in ROTC. He had no idea what his future held. For most men of his age, especially those with ROTC training, it meant going to war and many of those men did not come home. It made Frank give serious reflection to his life. In October of 1942 a friend introduced him to a pretty nurse who worked at the Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins. She became smitten with Frank and he with her.Thoughts of war were on his mind. Frank Doll was in love and wanted a wife waiting for him when he came home from the war.E-mail comments about this story to

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