With sadness, we announce that Michael Howard Frimpter passed away on April 17th 2021. Diagnosed with a rapidly progressing pancreatic cancer on Friday April 9th, he asked for no extraordinary measures and was moved to Avow Hospice where he spent time with his wife Ali and daughters, Kathy and Carolyn in the week before he died. He was 86.
Mike Frimpter, 12/10/1934-4/19/2021 was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, cousin, friend and mentor. He was the youngest of two sons born to Kathryn “Kay” McCabe Frimpter and George Anton Frimpter of Haverstraw, New York. His father George worked in banking and real estate in New York City. Kay was an artist and a teacher. Kay was the oldest of seven siblings. Many cousins in the extended McCabe clan remember Mike fondly for his kindness and humor.
Mike attended Haverstraw High School and enjoyed a brief moment of fame when he helped the team win a football game. He went on to Williams College and then to Boston University where he earned a PhD in Geology. Between undergraduate and graduate school, he served in the army and was stationed in South Korea after the truce.
At Boston University, he met geology student Bonnie Jean Hubler, when he was the teaching assistant in her minerology lab. They married in 1962. The couple raised their three children Carolyn Jean (1964), Timothy Clark (1965-1983) and Kathryn Reta (1968), in Bedford, Massachusetts, a beautiful area, rich in history. They were active members of the Trinitarian Congregational Church in Concord, Massachusetts.
Mike had a quiet sense of humor which delighted those around him. He put googly eyes on the family telephone so that the receiver looked like a face and left it there for family members to find. On Sundays, he would often make breakfast of scrambled eggs for the family, but he would usually not eat them himself due to concerns about cholesterol. His children would put small broken items on his dresser and they would be returned to their dressers, repaired without comment.
In 1983, Timothy died tragically at age 18 to the shock and deep sadness of the whole family. It took a while for Mike and the whole family to recover from this loss. Timmy will forever be in our hearts.
After a divorce, Mike met Alice (Ali) Ulrich, a musician and teacher. The couple married in 1987 and Mike became the beloved stepfather to Scott, Kristen and J Lapham.
Mike was a hydrogeologist who dedicated his life work to public service. He worked for the Water Resources Division of the US Geological Survey from 1963-66 in New York. He taught geology at the University of Wisconsin from 66-71, and then in 1971 he joined the US Geological Survey’s Boston office, where he served as Chief until his retirement from government service. Throughout his career, he worked diligently to safeguard public drinking water and the environment. His daughter remembers him sitting at the kitchen table on a weekend, carefully handwriting a response to someone who had contacted the Geological Survey with basic questions about groundwater. Mike was serious about his work but could be lighthearted as well. He enjoyed science fiction and was known to slip Star Trek aliens into professional slide shows, saying “Whoops, wrong planet!”
After retiring from the USGS, he moved to Cape Cod and worked for Horsley and Witten, an environmental science consulting firm that assisted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Native American Tribes and others manage their water resources. Mike developed a water resources protection plan for the island of Molokai (Hawaii). Colleagues remember him as “Mr. Water Resources” in Massachusetts. With a colleague he invented a method of estimating ground water levels now known as “The Frimpter Method” which is still taught and used today.
Mike mentored young geologists who remember him fondly. He shared his knowledge with children and grandchildren who never tired of bringing rocks to him for identification. He had many rock specimens, including some that would fluoresce spectacularly under ultraviolet light.
Mike and Ali moved to Cape Cod and to Naples Florida to enjoy their retirement. Mike was a quiet man and he benefited from his wife Ali‘s outgoing nature and sense of fun. In retirement, Mike took up painting in earnest and developed a precise, bold style. His work was exhibited and some pieces were sold. He also kept carnivorous plants and orchids and would often send photos of their blooms to his children and friends. They were active in the Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church where Ali sang in the choir and played the trumpet and Mike ran the sound systems for many years.
Mike is predeceased by his beloved son Timothy Frimpter and his brother General George “Skippy” Frimpter and Lee Frimpter, George’s wife. He leaves his wife Ali Frimpter, his daughters Carolyn Frimpter and Kathryn Frimpter Dee and their spouses Kathy Hannemann and Mark Dee. He also leaves his step children, Scott Lapham, Kristen Lapham and J Lapham and J’s wife Melissa. Mike had many grandchildren: Bradley Grace (2002) Kay Frimpter and Mica Frimpter (2003) Alexander Timothy Grace (2004), Ian Lapham (2009) Finn Lapham (2013) and Aaron Lapham (2015).
Mike Frimpter was well loved. He made a difference in the world. He was a gentle soul who let people be who they are, and he will be greatly missed.
Memorial donations can be made to:
The Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church, Capital Campaign: vpcnaples.org 1225 Piper Boulevard Naples FL 34110
The Association to Preserve Cape Cod: apcc.org 482 Main St, Dennis, MA 02638, Mike was very involved in the protection of water resources on Cape Cod and this organization continues this important science-based work.
Avow Hospice Avowcares.org 3905 Radio Rd Naples FL 34104
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