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Earlier this morning I got a phone call from an old contact of mine in the Constitution Party. As soon as I heard his voice, I knew exactly why he called. Our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Frank W. Creel, passed away from cancer (May 18th). I was on his campaign staff in 2002 when he ran for a seat in the House of Representatives against liberal Republican Tom Davis. I remember vividly traveling around the congressional district in Northern Virginia with the other activists in the Constitution Party, using whatever time off I had to help out with the campaign. I was a freshman in my first semester in college and this was my very first campaign. I’ll never forget it.
Frank was a quiet man, but he had a quick wit and a unique sense of humor. He was a Vietnam veteran, having served in the Army as an infantry officer. His experience in war was the catalyst in the development of his solid pro-life stance. What I admired most about Frank were his unwavering convictions, especially when it came to defending the unborn. Before he went to Vietnam, he was in the Peace Corps for several years, volunteering in Turkey. Frank attended the University of Chicago where he earned a PhD in comparative politics of the Middle East. He spent most of his career as a civil servant, working for the U.S. Department of Commerce in the International Trade Administration.
An avid writer, Frank’s involvement in politics was really sparked when he began writing opinion pieces for our local newspaper, the Potomac News. Other works of his were published in The Washington Times and the New York City Tribune. In the last years of his life, he was a contributor to the Washington Examiner (there’s an online archive of his most recent writings courtesy of Fran Griffin). In the lead up to the Iraq War, Frank had the courage to run for Congress as a conservative, anti-war candidate. While we did not prevail that year, we took satisfaction that our campaign exposed Tom Davis as a liberal establishmentarian.
After the election was over, I got a letter from the campaign with Frank’s reflections on what happened throughout the race in the 11th District. He thanked everyone for their time, money, effort, and perseverance. He gave us an overall picture of the situation and how things could have been different. Reading over this letter again today, I can still sense his profound disappointment that he did not do better at the polls. At the bottom of the letter, Frank personally gave me a handwritten message:
You were a real soldier. I’ll be pulling for you in all your future battles. Many thanks.
I didn’t know Frank as well as I should have. Part of that was his introverted personality and his humble nature. I only wish I could have spent more time getting to know him better. Even so, he was always very fond of me and appreciated all of my efforts during his campaign. He never had raw ambition or a desire to seek power for its own sake. Frank spent most of his life in service to his country and just wanted to do his part to help bring America back to its Constitutional foundations. It was an honor for me to know someone of such character and caliber as Frank Creel. He will be greatly missed.