In Memory of Francis J. Bogner
Francis (Fran) Joseph Bogner, 87, passed away suddenly at his beautiful home on Gilmore Lake in Minong, Wisconsin, May 19, 2022.
Fran was born to Frank Joseph and Kathryn Dassinger Bogner of Gladstone, N.D., on November 3, 1934.
Fran was he seventh child of a family of 11 children (eight sons and three daughters). Fran was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Marlease Beaudoin Bogner.
Fran grew up on the Gladstone family farm and graduated from his high school of nine graduates, then attended St. John’s University to play basketball. His college days of becoming a star basketball player at St. John’s University were short-lived because he fell in love and married Marlease in 1955. They had six children, five daughters and one son.
Fran’s sole career of selling farm implement equipment started in his early twenties. He asked his Uncle Phil for a job who owned Bogner Implement in Dickinson. In 1962 and with their fourth child on the way, Fran & Marlease left North Dakota and headed to Wisconsin. Fran saw opportunity in the farm states east of the Mississippi to grow his business. Fran and Mar were from large families and both were the first siblings from their respective families to leave North Dakota.
Fran worked for Farm Hand Inc, but shortly after arriving in Wisconsin he started his own implement business called Farm Products Incorporated. He pioneered the entrepreneurial spirit in the early 70’s by owning the first car cell phone, bought an airport and a plane so he could travel faster, triple his sales and get back to his family for supper.
In 1970 Fran signed on with a new company called Steiger Tractor where he took on a manufacturer rep position with the company. For the next fifteen years Fran was the company’s top salesman. He also helped as a marketing consultant in establishing Steiger’s largest overseas subsidiary in Australia, which led him to purchase a farm in Australia with close friends. Throughout Fran’s life he saw opportunities to purchase various businesses which led him to Herter’s, the largest mail-order sporting goods store, where he grew the company and sold it to Cabela’s. Fran would say his best investment was in his children (6), grandchildren (18), and his great grandchildren (3).
In 1976 he purchased Wayne’s Lane Resort on Gilmore Lake which became “The Cabin” to his family and friends. In 1992, the cabin became a year-round home to him and Marlease where they continued to host many family reunions, weddings, and the best cherished memories by all who came to the cabin.
While growing his business and throughout his life he accumulated nicknames, such as; “Fran the Man,” “The Legend,” “Bronc Buster Bogner,” “The Dragon Slayer,” “The God Father,” “St. Francis,” “Pope Francis,” “King of the Lake,” “Watch Dog” on the lake, to his most recent nick name “The Old Man on the Lake.”
He was a wholehearted and loyal friend to many, of all ages and all walks of life. Truly selfless, the entirety of his life was devoted to putting others’ needs before his own. Fran had an empathetic heart and was always finding ways of helping others find success. He loved bartering and getting the best “deal.” He was a financial supporter and advisor to those graduating from college, beginning their careers, starting new businesses, and those in financial need. In turn, he was deeply admired, loved, and will be remembered by his signature laugh.
Fran continued to winter in Port Isabell, Texas and would return to his cabin in the early spring where he would begin his garden, help his neighbors and friends by loaning his tools and tractors to begin the springtime harvest, which was the root of Fran’s farming passion. He always found time to check in with his lifelong friends, and family members with weekly phone calls. The art of letters has been lost, but Fran continued to remember birthdays and special occasions with sending a heartfelt handwritten card through the mail. He was still playing golf, investing in the stock market, praying the rosary daily, and attending Sunday mass. Fran loved having his evening cocktail hour while admiring the majestic sunsets over the lake reflecting on his day’s accomplishments, of all his blessings, the fruit of his labor, his family, friends, and the cabin.
Fran had a very competitive spirit in life and with sports. Fran had so many stories and was an amazing storyteller. He loved his Green Bay Packers, the Bucks, and the Milwaukee Brewers. He would love to attend his children’s, grandchildren’s, nephew’s, niece’s, and friend’s children’s sporting events as well. He was a life coach and everyone’s biggest fan.
He was a devoted husband, a loving and inspirational father and grandfather. He has left a legacy not only to his family but to numerous friends he has met throughout his life. He worked hard and knew his blessings came from God. When he was greeted by his Heavenly Father, we are confident God said, “Good work my faithful servant…you have fought the fight, you have finished the race, you have kept the faith. Join the many who have waited for your arrival! Marlease is playing your favorite song on the piano for you, How Great Thou Art.”
He is preceded in death by his wife Marlease (Beaudoin) Bogner, daughter Roxanne (Bogner Birney, grandson Preston Bogner. Surviving: Kevin Birney (son in law), Florida; Suzi Bogner Talaric, (daughter) Colorado; Jayme(son) & Michele Bogner, Wisconsin; Joanie Bogner Neel (daughter) North Carolina; Shelly(daughter) & Anthony Bianchi, Texas; and Leslie Brown (daughter) Wisconsin. Grandchildren (17) James Birney & Anne Birney (wife), Johannah Birney Pop & Alex Pop (husband); Travis & Anna (wife) Talaric; Casey Talaric, Quinlan Talaric; Nico Bianchi, Julia Bianchi, Zach Bianchi, Matteo Bianchi, Jayden Bogner, Carson Bogner, Dakota & Chris(husband) Bonner, Harrison Neel, Dalton Neel, Kaya Bogner, Kristina Brown and Daniel Brown. Great Grandchildren Weslie Talaric, Margot Talaric and Scottie Bonner. Fran’s surviving siblings include: Dale & Ellen(wife) Bogner; Kathy & Jerry (husband) Sullivan. Fran was met in heaven by his mom & dad, Frank & Kathryn Dassinger Bogner, siblings include: Victor, Walter, Bill, Rosemary Fordahl, Marcine Shelton, Robert, Eugene and Gerald.
A mass of Christian service will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on July 11, 2022, in Minong with Father James Kinney officiating. A Visitation with family and friends 11am, Mass 12pm, followed by a “Celebration of Life” at the cabin immediately following the services. In lieu of flowers donations may be directed to: Gilmore Lake Association, PO BOX 188, Minong, WI 54859. The Village of Minong First Responders, Police Dept. or Fire Dept. 123 5th Ave, Minong, WI 54859. St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 506 Main St., Minong, WI 54859.