Frank Guerrettaz was born in a small town in Northern Illinois. He was the second youngest of five, with three older brothers and one younger sister. His father, a paratrooper in the Army during WWII, worked on oil rigs, and the family moved frequently as the rigs for the oil fields were pulled and relocated. Frank’s wife, Margo Guerrettaz, recalled, “One year, he was telling me that he went to two different schools within two weeks. This was not a typical upbringing, but Frank’s dad was just trying to put food on the table.” Frank’s family was unique in that they also fostered many children, usually having three at a time in addition to their five children. His mother was a homemaker, and the children all worked hard, doing what they could to help support the family.

Young Frank Guerrettaz

Frank and his brother Dale, both expecting to be drafted due to their low draft numbers, made a choice. Dale joined the Marines, while Frank enlisted in the Coast Guard, which actively participated in the Vietnam War from 1965-1975. Frank, then 19, was stationed in a lighthouse with a small team, managing lighthouse operations for about a year before being given various wartime assignments. During a specific assignment to locate a soldier who had gone AWOL in the Texas Bay Area, Frank coincidentally encountered his brother at the airport after almost two years of not seeing each other. His brother was returning home from deployment overseas. However, Frank could not have prepared for the emotional toll of war when he was entrusted with the difficult responsibility of handling fallen soldiers and personally delivering the tragic news to their families. This was a burden that left a lasting mark on him.


Frank & Margo on their wedding day on August 4th, 1987.

After being honorably discharged from the Coast Guard in 1973, Frank went on a solo motorcycle tour across the country. Later in life, Frank shared stories with his family about the generosity of strangers he met at camps and state parks who welcomed him for home-cooked meals, which he believed wouldn’t happen in today’s world. Following his travels, he went to college, taking on odd jobs like driving a school bus and selling cars to get by while studying. Unfortunately, the prevailing negative attitudes towards Vietnam Veterans at the time led him to leave school just a few credits shy of completing his degree. Following his early departure, Frank set up a business specializing in premium tobacco and elaborately carved smoking pipes just outside Effingham, IL.

Eventually, Frank closed the tobacco shop and started a career at Sentry Insurance. In August 1987, Frank married Margo after more than three years of dating. Before getting married, they drove up to Stockton, IL, to meet her parents. Margo recalled her mother saying, “I don’t know how you found this one, but you better keep him.” They were married in the courthouse ceremony in Saint Charles, MO, where they resided at the time. Later, they relocated to Lake St. Louis, then a countryside area.


The couple faced challenges in starting a family, but they were blessed when their daughter, Kelsey, was born in 1990 when Margo was 37 years old. They initially thought she would be their only child. However, Margo’s unexpected pregnancy at the age of 39 came as a pleasant surprise. When Margo shared the news of another baby by the age of 40, Frank responded enthusiastically, saying, “I don’t care. We should have about four more anyway.” Frank and Margo had their son Phillip in 1992.

Frank with his children, 1992.

Frank and Margo raised their children in Lake Saint Louis. Frank traveled for work with Sentry, overseeing 18 states and being gone most of the week. Margo also had a full-time career at Chase Mortgage for 25 years until they closed, at which point she took a job at US Bank. Kelsey recalled, “Mom would try to keep us structured, but we knew when Dad got home, it was time for fun.”


As Kelsy and Phillip reminisced about their dad growing up, his military background definitely came through. They laughed, thinking about how he taught them to march around the cars and make their bed in the correct form with “smiles out,” meaning the pillowcase opening had to face the outside edge of the bed.

Frank was also one to make sure he was dressed up for any and every occasion. Kelsy recalled, “He was the embarrassing dad at our swim meets, wearing a polo shirt, khaki shorts, and a belt with little golf emblems, who had his camcorder and yelled for us the entire time.” Margo elaborated on how particular he was about his wardrobe, explaining, “He would iron and starch his shirts so heavy they could stand up on their own.”

The Guerrettaz family

Frank was deeply passionate about golf. He and Margo loved to play and joined the Lake Forest Golf & Country Club in 1991. He loved nothing more than getting out on a golf course. Given the opportunity, Frank would play daily and ultimately built a house on the course to indulge in his favorite pastime. Phillip stated, “He played anywhere and everywhere he could. It was a passion that followed him.”


After 25 years of working for Sentry, Frank decided to retire in 2005 and a year later started his own insurance company, Midwest Agency Benefit Planners. The company sold employee benefits and financial services. His daughter joined the company in 2008. Kelsy laughed as she remembered, “The company spent a lot of money at the golf course to build client relations.” Frank was a natural-born leader who never met a stranger. He had a talent for identifying and nurturing exceptional employees. In today’s business world, people are taught how to engage with employees and earn leadership certificates, but Frank was ahead of his time as all that came naturally to him. He would identify potential employees everywhere they went, wanted to get to know them, and cared about what they had to say. Phillip explained, “He really was a good leader. He was a committed lifelong learner who wanted to get to know everybody. He would ask what motivated them and was just really present in those conversations.”


Frank was known for many things, like being a diehard Cubs fan in Cardinals nation, loving a nice glass of scotch, and many “Frankisms,” which are one-liners he quickly came up with and said often. Frank was also known for his commitment to his community. He served as an Ambassador of the Lake St. Louis community and was involved in the Finance and Planning-Zoning Committees.

Frank & Margo Guerrettaz

At the age of 50, Frank had his first heart attack. Kelsey explained that after that, he seemed to experience heart issues every other year and had multiple stents put in. Heart issues ran in the family, as his mother was one of the first females in the country to have open-heart surgery. However, in June 2014, the family received the news that Frank had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Frank, who only owned one pair of jeans, would even show up to his chemotherapy appointments in dress pants. Unfortunately, after many rounds of chemotherapy, the cancer returned in April of 2016 as stage 4 Large B Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Frank then underwent stem cell replacement and spent 90 days in the hospital. Kelsey recalled, “There was only a handful of times that you would know he didn’t feel good. You never knew he was sick. Every day in the hospital, he would get up, put on his clothes, and walk on the treadmill. He did not lie in bed.” Phillip, who took a three-month leave of absence from work to spend time with his father, added, “He was just, in general, such a positive spirit, and maybe if he were being a little nasty because he didn’t feel good, he would call himself out on it.” Phillip continued saying, “He was extremely witty, very intelligent, and he was just a great dad.”


After undergoing a stem cell replacement in 2016, Frank was finally cancer-free. After successfully overcoming cancer, he started working from home and enjoyed spending time with his family and playing plenty of golf as he moved closer to full retirement. Sadly, Frank passed away unexpectedly due to heart issues on January 21, 2020.


The Guerrettaz family and friends established the 1st Frankie G Golf Tournament in honor of their late father. The inaugural tournament took place on August 28, 2021, which would have been Frank’s 69th birthday. From 2021 to 2023, the tournament raised over $38,000.00. All the proceeds benefitted St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The family explained that when Frank was in the hospital, he would visit the children’s floor as often as he could, and he hated to see any child suffer.

One of the last photos of Frank taken at his daughter’s 30th birthday party the weekend before he passed.

This year, the tournament merged with the Lake Forest Charity Classic to form the Frankie G Charity Classic. This year’s golf tournament will take place on July 20th, with all proceeds supporting The St. Louis Crisis Nursery Center. The center provides a safe haven for nearly 4,000 children a year, ages birth through 12, whose families face emergencies such as illness, homelessness, domestic violence, or overwhelming parental stress.


The Guerrettaz family was asked how they thought their father would react to the tournament. Phillip quickly responded, “He would be jealous that he is not here to play with everybody, but I know he would love it.” With one of his Frankisms being “The only way I could be better is to be with you,” I am confident he would love it.


Veterans Care Coordination is proud to recognize Frank Guerrettaz for his service to our country. We are privileged to have the opportunity to share the stories of our nation’s heroes. Thank you for your service, Frank, and welcome home.



Here is the link to Frankie G Charity Classic, where you can register to participate in or donate to this year’s fundraiser.