Francis Xavier Nolan

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 Francis Xavier Nolan, 86 of Prairie du Chien, passed away Friday Oct. 30. Frank lived his long life to the fullest, always savoring new adventures and experiences while remaining ever committed to home and family. 

Frank was born the 4th of 6 children to a local farming family. With four brothers, one sister, and a variety of cousins all attending St. Gabriel’s Catholic school with him, Frank learned the value of family and Catholic traditions. His wanderlust began in his teens, when he hitched rides out to the Dakotas and the west coast, and travelled with the circus to Florida, returning home after each adventure. After graduating high school, he headed out again, this time to New York City, where he spent a winter working a variety of jobs, including as a photographer’s assistant, before coming back to the farm to help his father. Shortly after, he joined the Navy, where he parlayed his New York photography experience into a position as a Navy photographer, spending two years stationed in Hawaii and two years in Washington D.C. He left his military service as a 2nd class petty officer.

After the Navy, Frank returned home again where he met and married his wife of 58 years, Betty Swingle, a registered nurse. He purchased his uncles’ farm adjacent to the farm where he had grown up, and together, he and Betty raised eight children there. While growing and expanding his farming business, he still found time to get away and see the world. He was very proud to share that he had visited all 50 states, and every continent (excepting Antarctica) in his travels. Frank Nolan lived the majority of his life within a mile of the farmhouse where he was born, but experienced the world. He leaves the family farming legacy to his two sons, Patrick and John. 

Frank Nolan is survived by his wife, Betty; and sister, Elizabeth Jahnke (Marshfield). He leaves behind his eight loving children, Kathleen and Curt Baker (Jacksonville, Fla.), Mary and Patrick McGuire (Spokane, Wash.), Nancy and Ken Mergen (Bloomington), Sheila and Mark Franz (St. Louis, Mo.), Jackie and Patrick Rose (Madison), Jane and Lonnie Achenbach (Eastman), Patrick and Tammy Nolan (Prairie du Chien), John and Carrie Nolan (Prairie du Chien); and 25 grandchildren, Nolan and Danny Baker; Sean and Brendan McGuire; Emily and Cari Mergen; McKayla Harding; Victoria and Isabella Rose; Drew, Sarah, Kelsey, Chad, Marie, and Rita Achenbach; Eric, Rachael, Alexis and Lindsey Nolan; Caitlin, Dustin, Prestin, Kristin, Erin, and Ashlin Nolan. He was preceded in death by his parents; four brothers, Joseph, Edward, Paul and Carl; along with four grandchildren, Austin, Justin, James and Bridget.

Your family wishes you safe and happy travels in your new life with Christ, Frank. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be Thursday, Nov. 5, at 11 a.m. at St. Gabriel’s Church of the Holy Family Parish in Prairie du Chien, Rev. James Weighner officiating with burial in the church cemetery. Military honors will be accorded by the Prairie du Chien Honor Guard. Friends may call on Wednesday, Nov. 4, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Garrity Funeral Home in Prairie du Chien where there will be a wake scripture at 7:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Prairie Catholic Schools. 

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