John Robert Frates was born in Yakima, Washington in 1947. After seven months in the state, the family returned to Brule, Nebraska with his two siblings (Jean and Jim) and his father (Mason) who owned a barber shop and his mother (LaVon) who was an elementary school teacher. He attended elementary and high school in Brule and attended Kearney State College (now University of Nebraska at Kearney). After his graduation from college in 1969 he came back to Brule as a science teacher, coach, bus driver, and later counselor, principal and eventually superintendent. John married Deborah Langmacher in 1970 and they had three children; Niki, Anne and Mike. John and Deb celebrated their forty sixth anniversary last November.
John was instrumental in the consolidation of the Brule and Big Springs schools and in 1995 became superintendent of the newly combined district, South Platte Public Schools. He retired in 2002 and then was asked to come to the Arthur County Schools as superintendent, which he did for six more years. He was active in the Nebraska Association of School Administrators as well as the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association, serving on many committees throughout his many years in education.
After retiring, John wrote his first book, “Goose Pit Hash”, an accumulation of short stories covering many of his hunting, fishing and other adventures in life. It was self published, mainly at the insistence of his sister, Jean Lambert, who felt these stories needed to be passed on to the family and grandchildren. A few years later additional stories were added to the first book and published by Creativia under the name of “Goose Pit Hash, Second Helping”. The book contains a myriad of short stories about John, his friends, and some characters he associated with during his life. These stories all contain threads of truth, with embellishments, and should provide you with a wealth of impertinent information and indefinite laughs.
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