Frank Laurence Uhler
June 29, 1937-Aug. 30, 2023
Submitted by Kurt Uhler and Dana Uhler Pluck
Longtime Pleasanton resident, and Amador Valley High School teacher, Frank Uhler passed away on Wednesday August 30th, 2023. Surrounded by his loving family, Frank passed in the Pleasanton home where he raised his family since 1967. He is survived by his wife Sharon Uhler, daughter Dana Pluck, son Kurt Uhler, grandchildren Trevor Pluck and Madeleine Pluck, his sisters Barb Lenmark and Pam Redstone and Brother-in-Law Jim Redstone.
Frank was born and raised in Bakersfield, California to Frank R. and Dorothy A. Uhler. He graduated from East Bakersfield High School where he excelled in academics, played clarinet in the marching band, and competed on the varsity swim team. After high school, Frank attended Bakersfield College, graduating in 1957. He spent the summer of 1956 as a volunteer fire fighter in Tehachapi. He then went on to Fresno where he worked in his Uncle Jim Rosetta’s hardware store, Fresno Ag, while attending Fresno State University. Graduating in 1959, he received a degree in Industrial Arts, with the plan of teaching his passions. His first years teaching were at Mt. Whitney High School in Visalia. The move to Visalia was fortuitous. Not only was the school the name of his favorite place to spend his free time - in the High Sierras, but Visalia was also where he met Sharon, his wife of 60 years.
His career path brought him to Hayward where he taught Shop at Sunset High School. His time serving honorably in the Air National Guard brought him to Fresno and back to Visalia where he continued his courtship of Sharon. They were married in August of 1963. In 1967, unable to afford a home in Hayward they ultimately moved "way out" to Pleasanton, a town with only one stop light. Frank left Sunset High to teach in the Pleasanton Unified School District, initially at Dublin High School, opening Foothill High School and finally retiring while at Amador Valley High School in 1997.
Although he was born in 1937 he always said he felt he grew up during the Depression and was known to repurpose and value everything. The "original recycler" he would find second and third lives for most anything. He "reclaimed, repurposed, and recycled" long before the rest of the world became environmentally conscious. He had an unsuspecting eye for art, found beauty in everyday items, and rarely found a problem too impossible to solve. These traits were perfect for educating future wood shop, metal shop, auto shop, drafting, electronics, small engines, drivers education, math, and California history students.
To say he had hobbies, is an understatement. So much of life interested him. Frank was an avid back packer who loved the high country of the Sierra Nevadas. He was proud to have grown up in Kern County with easy access to Sequoia National Park, Yosemite National Park, and the Eastern side of the Sierras. He fished the streams and rivers as he hiked. He was a private pilot and aviation enthusiast, bragging to his son he actually heard history (sonic booms) as a kid. He loved to learn about history and could not be dragged out of a museum or hardware store. He helped his son restore a classic Mustang. He invented "take your daughter to work day" and claimed to be the first to throw a frisbee and have the family dog catch it. And through it all, his love for photography documented it all.
While Frank has left many people mourning his passing, we are all celebrating his contributions to our lives. As a father he was ALWAYS a teacher. He wouldn't answer a question straight away but show you how to find the answer. As a family man, his relatives enjoyed his taco tray invention, or napkin holders. As a teacher he would always teach you "the right way" to do it, to not cut corners, to be patient, to take your time. He had a gift for passing on knowledge and was humble about accepting the credit. When moving about town, he would often run into former students, and they would say, "I still have that dust-pan I made in metal shop". Recently, a former student wrote him, stating:
"Mr. Uhler, I have no words sufficient to thank you for your contributions to my life. I am telling you your contributions are carried forward to persons, companies, government agencies, and are in fact on Mars, the Moon, and in deep space. No one ever knows what the effects of our teachings are. I want to make sure you understand what you have done for me, and I suspect hundreds of others....I have considered it a privilege to have known you Mr. Uhler."
A memorial inviting all who knew him and would like to share memories of Frank's life will be held on October 14th at 1:00 pm at Valley Community Church located at 4455 Del Valle Parkway in Pleasanton.