Frank Ewing Tuttle, 100, passed away quietly at the Spencer Hospital on December 7, 2017. The son of Randall Marcus Tuttle and Ruth Ewing Tuttle grew up on a farm on the edge of NW Spencer with his 2 brothers, Peter and Thomas, and they spent their summer days at their parents' cottage at Spencer Beach on lake West Okoboji.
The family had a love for music, and his mother had a degree in music pedagogy from Oberlin College, so all of the boys learned piano. Eventually they had quite an orchestra with Ruth on piano, Randall on violin, Tom on Trumpet, Peter on Trombone, and Frank on clarinet or saxophone. They played every Sunday evening.
Frank survived a serious bout with polio as a boy, and this made it difficult for hard physical activities. After attending college at University of Iowa and Iowa State College in Agriculture, he returned to Spencer and engaged in livestock production. He married Ann Parsons on June 10, 1942, and was inducted into the U.S. Army on August 20, 1942, assigned to the coast artillery, and was stationed at Fort H.G. Wright on Fishers Island, until honorably discharged on January 14, 1946. He returned to Spencer and became the plant manager at the RM Tuttle Popcorn Co, in addition to running his livestock business. He lived in the large Tuttle house on 4th Avenue West from 1953 until 1966, when it was sold to Matilda Delaney and subsequently referred to as the Tuttle Mansion.
In 1956, Frank and his brothers started to develop the Tuttle land west of 4th Ave W, with Frank as the Sales Manager. While developing land in Spencer, Frank purchased Babcock's Beach Resort on lake West Okoboji in 1962, and he and Ann ran this resort operation every summer until 1970, when it was sold to become “The Colony” condominiums. He concluded the Tuttle real estate developments in Spencer in 1970, and he moved his brokerage business full time to the lakes area with his company, Iowa Great Lakes Realty. He continued to sell real estate all the way into his 80's, and had a real estate license from 1958 through 1999. Frank was a fixture around the lakes area, and he seemed to know almost everyone who built on West Okoboji from the 1930's into the 2000's.
Frank's life, outside of work, was governed by two things; an appreciation for nature – plants, dogs, birds, fish, water, and an intense love of music. He hunted for ducks and pheasants all around the Spencer and lakes areas, and knew all of the best places. He hunted with his sons, and also with one of his life-long friends, Dave Cuttell. A neighbor, Blanch Phelps, taught him how to fish when he was eleven, and he caught many fish every summer at the lake. When he began fishing in 1928, there were only a few homes around West Okoboji, and virtually no boat motors. Crayfish, clams, turtles, snakes, frogs, and schools of minnows and fish were everywhere.
Music was such an important part of his life that he listened to it every night. He appreciated rock and roll, and blues, but his first love was 1940s jazz from the days of Louie Armstrong, Chick Webb, Count Basie, and many more. Many of them he had heard live, as they toured the dance halls around Iowa, and in New York City, when he was the in Army. He passed on that strong appreciation of music to his children, all of whom are active in music.
Frank never had a bad word to say about anyone he knew, and he knew a lot of people. His memory was almost as good at 100 as it was when he was 20. He was a walking encyclopedia of the developmental history of Spencer and West Okoboji over the past 90 years. Unfortunately, since Marcus Tuttle first came to Iowa in 1855 from New York state, Frank is the last of the Marcus Tuttle legacy in Iowa, as all of his offspring have left the state.
Frank was preceded in death by his wife, Ann Parsons Tuttle (1916-2010), and daughter, Mary Tuttle (1945-2012), and his brothers Thomas Allen Tuttle and Peter Randall Tuttle. He is survived by his children, John Tuttle, Marcia (Richard) Ryon, Mark (Cathy) Tuttle, Bradley (Chan) Tuttle, and his grandchildren Amy (David) Gould, Jessy (Kyle) Sievert, Kari Tuttle, Emily (Alex) Sorensen, Adam (Rebecca) Tuttle, Michael Tuttle, Joseph Tuttle, and his great-grandchildren Lily Gould, Opal Gould, and Grant Sorensen.
Funeral arrangements were made with Warner Funeral Home, and Frank will be interred in the Randall Tuttle plots, in the Spencer Riverside Cemetery. A private ceremony will be held by the family at a later date.
225 West 3rd Street • Spencer, IA 51301 • 712-262-3640 • Fax 712-262-1618