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 Frank Omstead

 Rest in Everlasting Peace

"It is again, with great sadness, that I'm reporting on the passing of a very good friend, and major contributor to the Puget Sound Knappers. Frank Omstead. After the passing of Greg Greger in March of 2015, Frank assumed the lead role for the Tri-Cities Clan of the Puget Sound Knappers, continuing the legacy left by Greg and furthering the goal of the PSK - Promoting and Sharing the Ancient Art of Flintknapping.


Frank B. Omstead, age 98, passed away peacefully at Chaplaincy Hospice House, in Kennewick, Washington on January 17, 2023.

Frank was born in Ellensburg, Washington on April 10, 1924 to Marion and Jesse (Scotton) Omstead. Frank was the youngest of 4 children. Frank grew up on a family farm raising Registered Jersey Breeding Stock and cattle feed products, in Ellensburg, Washington.

Frank attended Central Washington State College, majoring in Pre-Veterinarian, then WWII was in progress. During WWII, Frank helped train U.S. Army Flight Cadets in Ellensburg. Frank also was one of the Petrified Wood identifiers at the Ginkgo Petrified Forest at the Wanapum Recreation Area at Vantage, Washington.

On Memorial Day, 1945, when water first came to the Roza Irrigation Project, Frank purchased land on the Project between Grandview and Prosser. On September 18, 1945, he married Mary Lou Peach. They were married for 77 years. Frank and Mary Lou took their land out of sagebrush and cacti. They resided on the Roza Project for a total of 65 years, until they retired and moved to Kennewick, Washington in 2010. They raised Certified Ranger Alfalfa seed, beans, peas, corn, oats, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, mint, onions, Certified Gaines wheat seed, tree fruit nursery, cherries, apples, plums, prunes, cattle and pigs. They also raised Certified Virus Free Wine and juice Grape plants by propagation from softwood and hardwood cuttings in three greenhouses. Frank was one of the original Washington State Certified Virus Free Viticulture Nurserymen. Frank has been on the Board of Directors for FHA, Blue Ribbon Growers and Snokist Growers fruit Cooperatives.

Frank worked very close with the Washington State University Experiment Station in Prosser and Pullman in the viticulture and tree fruit programs Frank was always very interested in Petrified Wood and all types of other rocks. Frank and MaryLou were very active in and Life Members of the Lakeside Gem and Mineral Club. Frank was an active member of Puget Sound Knappers, Washington State Horticulture Society , Washington State Grape Society, and Prosser Masonic Lodge. After his retirement, Frank learned to do Obsidian Flint Knapping. Frank and Mary Lou also would open their workshop to the Gem & Mineral Club members to work on their personal projects. He enjoyed having the Boy Scout Troops of Kennewick and club members come to their workshop to learn how to work on their Flint Knapping projects.

One of Frank's other avid pleasures was fishing on the Yakima River and in the Potholes Reservoir with Mary Lou, and the Columbia River with Kevin Newcomb. Frank's dry sense of humor was apparent and very active until 2 weeks before his passing.

Frank is survived by his wife Mary Lou Omstead of Kennewick, son Frank Eugene Omstead, (Catherine Omstead) of Alexander, North Dakota, daughters Kathryn McClure (Don McClure) of Pasco Washington, Elizabeth Griswold (Tom Bromley) of Kennewick, Washington and two Grandchildren, Jason Omstead of Fairbanks, Alaska & Ginger Garverick (Brian Garverick) of Anchorage, Alaska. Frank was preceded in death by his sister Jean McLean of Florida, brothers Charles Omstead of Vancouver, Washington and Jack Omstead of Detroit, Michigan and Grandson Donald George McClure of Smyrna, Delaware.

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