Francis “Frank” Joseph Taphorn

Francis “Frank” Joseph Taphorn, long time resident of Pioneer, California, died on November 2, 2019 at the age of ninety-nine. Frank was born in Reno, Nevada on July 28, 1920, and was adopted in 1924 by Peter W. and Bertha Jane (Howard) Taphorn after his mother passed away. He grew up in Fallon, Nevada, working on the family homestead and on neighboring ranches, and then in the lumber mills of California.

Prior to serving in WW2, Francis worked as a tractor operator at Berry’s Lumber Mill in Amador Co., California where he met Lorraine Betty Barbee who worked in the mill kitchen. They were married on December 20, 1941, and daughter Betty Frances Taphorn was born November 12, 1942, just as he was shipping out with the Army.

Francis was inducted into the US Army on September 8, 1942, serving in the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion, which landed at Oran, and from Tunis, moved through Sicily, Naples, the beach at Anzio, Rome, and into the Rhineland, Southern France and Germany. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant and Platoon Leader and was decorated with many medals, including the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Bronze Arrow Head, the Silver Star, the Distinguished Unit Badge, and the Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters. Francis was Honorably Discharged on October 17, 1945 at Camp Beale, California, and returned home to be reunited with his wife and daughter in Jackson, California. Son, Robert Charles Taphorn, was born the following year on July 31, 1946, and the family settled in Pioneer, California where Frank and Lorraine built the house they lived in for many years.

Returning to his profession of logging after the war, Francis worked for Berry’s, Winton, and American Forest, until he retired in 1985 after overseeing the boiler operation at the mill in Martel, California. Besides felling timber, Frank enjoyed camping, fishing, and taking care of their property in Pioneer, planting many fruit trees and raising chickens, mallard ducks, and other animals. In the community, as his children were growing up, he acted as neighborhood commissioner to the local Boy Scouts, umpired for little league baseball, and served in his local church. 

He was preceded in death by Lorraine, his wife of seventy-two years, his adoptive parents, Peter W. and Bertha (Howard) Taphorn, older brother, Peter Werner (Juanda) Taphorn, older sister, Elizabeth “Beth” Taphorn Baker Ford, and nephew Jess “Arthur” Baker. Francis is survived by daughter, Betty Frances Merriman (Hap), son Robert Charles Taphorn, grandson Steven Joseph (Ivy) Taphorn, great-grandson Noah Joseph Taphorn, and grand-daughters Violet Hardin, Mindy Sanford (Tony), Melody Barnes (Marlon), Crystal Hibberd (Chris), Tina Bauer (John), Pamela Merriman, and Blossom Lewis (J. J.), as well as, thirteen other great grand-children, eight great-great grand-children, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Francis will be buried with military honors next to his wife Lorraine in the Veterans’ section of the Amador Memorial Cemetery in Pioneer, California at 1 p.m., November 25, 2019. Friends and family are invited to attend. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting and signing the guest book.