Friends and family members gathered to celebrate the life of Red Deer Second World War veteran Richard Franklin “Frank” Krepps a few weeks after his passing.
The ceremony was held at the Royal Canadian Legion’s Red Deer branch Friday to honour Krepps, who passed away peacefully June 25 at the age of 98.
“Frank was very friendly, very sociable, always positive. … He was a special person,” said Bev Manning, Red Deer branch president.
“I remember when I became president (of the branch) in 2014, I sent a letter out to all of our veteran members, to introduce myself and find out if they’re OK or to see if there’s anything we can do to help them. Frank was the first one who replied. He phoned from B.C., where he was living at that time, and he said he was looking after his wife and they’re doing OK.”
Krepps left Canada to serve overseas in 1941 and fought throughout France, Holland and Germany. He was only 17 years old when he joined up, having lied about his age.
The Saskatchewan-born man was a motorcycle dispatch rider who delivered orders for the Royal Canadian Engineers and landed on D-Day.
In recent years, he became an honorary member of the Mount Sorrel unit of 3 CAV, which is a national veteran-based motorcycle club.
Steve Proudler, Mount Sorral president, said it was an “emotional” time for the many people who knew Krepps.
“Frank was probably one of the most loving and caring men I’ve ever met,” said Proudler.
“He cared about everybody. He cared about his family. He was very passionate about getting kids to know what actually happened in the war, how it affects people and how you can always make it through.”
In 2018, Krepps was awarded a medal by the French National Order, which is equivalent to being knighted, said Proudler.
“Frank wasn’t sure at first the total meaning of it, but once he found out the significance of it, he was truly amazed. He couldn’t believe he was worthy of it. He was a truly humble man,” said Proudler.
In 2019, during the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the central Alberta went back to France, as one of the 36 veterans in the Canadian delegation. For Krepps, D-Day meant remembering all the Canadian soldiers who did not make it back, he had told the Advocate back then.
Krepps, who had two sons and a daughter and was predeceased by his wife Eleanor, will be buried in his birthplace in Brock, Sask. on July 25.