Before He Became a Painter and Writer

Before He Became a Painter and Writer

Another entry in my Labor Day photo series…

Frank Milton Shellabarger was my grandmother’s third husband.  My software’s relationship calculator says that we are not related by blood. I will always know him as Grandpa Frank even though he died when I was 1 year old.

When my grandma met him in the late 1950s, he was painter–of houses and of paintings.  We have one of his landscapes.  He had a small claim to fame as a house painter for Zelinksy and Sons.  Before Phyllis Diller became famous, he painted her house.

I found leaflets and pamphlets that he wrote in the 1950s.  These had to do with being a successful man and marketing yourself. The leaflets lead me to believe he might have given lectures on the topic.  One of the leaflets was titled “The Powder of Success” by F.M. Shellabarger, California Representative of Art Instruction Inc.

As a house painter, he invented a special device to hold paint cans.  I found paperwork that he had filled out where he was going to apply for a patent.  He died in 1965 before he got to pursue that dream.

Frank was born in Mount Pleasant, Iowa in 1908.  Before he set out to do all these things, he found himself working in Yellowstone National Park for the Summer.

I found these two photos in my grandmother’s collection.  They are dated “Summer 1930”.  Frank would have been 22.  Both photos have notes on the back.  The second was in Frank’s handwriting.  The first was not, nor is it my grandmothers.  It may have been his first wife’s writing.

The first has written on the back “Frank feeding the bears in Yellowstone park, Summer 1930.  Note Frank was chef.”

The second one says “Just a friend I made while in Yellowstone Park.”

People found work where they could during the Depression.  For Grandpa Frank it was Yellowstone National Park.


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