Frank Harty went home on March 11, 2018 first to his Eastside, then to join his family and friends with the Lord.

Faith, family and football sustained him for 91 years.

Frank was named after his uncle, a beat cop and boxing manager who cut a broad swath on Des Moines’ old Eastside. Frank attended Visitation church and school. He was a star athlete at Dowling Catholic High School where he led the city in scoring in 1944 as an all-state fullback. Frank's ability to play football and his unwavering work ethic helped change the course of his life. He was the first of his clan to attend college and the first Dowling graduate to be given a football scholarship to Notre Dame.

He was one of Leahy’s Lads at Notre Dame. Frank was also a champion weight lifter and heavyweight wrestler for the Fighting Irish. He graduated from Notre Dame in 1949 and then married the love of his life, Leona Mae “Dutchie” Boyd in 1951. He was drafted during the Korean War and proudly served his country…by playing football for Camp Carson in Colorado.

Frank was a professor, philosopher and social activist, equipped only with a playbook and whistle. He helped shape the lives of thousands of young men as a coach and physical education teacher. He loved every day of his 35 years with the Des Moines Public Schools. During the summers Frank supported his teaching habit as an Ironworker and Teamster. Frank and Dutchie enjoyed nearly 67 years together, all of which was spent living in the Des Moines area.

Preceded in death by his parents and three brothers, Frank is survived by Dutchie; daughters, Judy (Tom) Kozlik, Jeannie (Bill) Nielsen; and sons, Frank (Mary Jo) and Pat (Buddy and LaKota); eleven grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

Family meant everything to Frank. Being an educator, Frank inspired his daughters, Judy and Jeannie to excel in the classroom and they taught those values to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, many of whom have advanced degrees.

Frank taught his oldest son and namesake the value of hard work and setting goals. He was ahead of his time in that he knew the benefits of lifting weights when few others did in the early 1970s. He spent countless hours in the basement of their Beaverdale home helping his son lift weights. His guidance and dedication helped his son Frank earn a football scholarship to the University of Iowa.

Frank taught his youngest son how to shoot a basketball before he could walk and how to throw a curveball when he felt that his arm could take the strain. He spent hours seated on a slab of firewood in the front yard playing catch with Pat and warning him not to hit the central air conditioning unit that was just a few feet away.

The Harty’s always kept mongrels to control table scraps. Frank loved these pets. He was especially fond of Fred, a foul smelling, morbidly obese, basset hound. Frank and Fred worked out every evening at the Hoover track. As Frank ran his daily two miles Fred would sit in the middle of infield, vigorously turning her head to watch Frank.

Frank and Dutchie attended Holy Trinity and later Saint Francis Parishes. Frank received countless honors and awards and belonged to numerous organizations and unions. Frank’s deep faith guided him through an incredible life that touched so many people.
Bishop Richard Pates will preside over funeral services at St. Francis in West Des Moines at 10:00 a.m., Friday, March 16, 2018. Visitation will be Thursday evening at Hamilton’s on Westown Parkway from 4 to 6 p.m. with a rosary at 4:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to Polycystic Kidney Disease or Taylor House Hospice. Online condolence may be expressed at

Service Details

Thursday, March 15, 2018
4:00 to 6:00 pm
Rosary at 4:00 pm
Hamilton's on Westown Parkway
3601 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
Friday, March 16, 2018
10:00 am
Mass of Christian Burial
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
7075 Ashworth Road
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
Glendale Cemetery
Des Moines, Iowa
Hamilton's on Westown Parkway
3601 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
(515) 224-0078

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