Empowering Communities, Celebrating Minnesota Locally

Frankie Cyr

The youngest and last of the Cyr boys, Frankie Joseph, passed away on April 29, 2024 at the McIntosh Senior Living Center.  He was born June 16, 1932 in Crookston, MN to parents Frank and Lottie (Beaudin) Cyr.  Frankie’s older brothers were Harold, Bradford, and Lloyd.  He lived most of his life in Oklee except for the 15 months when he was in the Army stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Frankie’s love for trucking began as a little boy.  He would play with trucks in a gravel pile behind his parents’ hardware store.  Art Melby saw him playing and declared to Frankie, “you are going to be a truck driver one day!”  He began Cyr Truck Line in the summer of 1949 between his junior and senior years of high school hauling gravel for farmers in his dump truck.  Frankie even drove the school bus while he was still a student.  He took pride in having the longest route for the Oklee School District, heading all the way up to the Red Lake Indian Reservation.  In 1950, he graduated from Oklee High School.  After that, he purchased a semi tractor and trailer and started hauling livestock to the stockyards in West Fargo.  While he was in the Army from 1951-1953, his brother, Harold, kept the business running for him.  In 1955, he started hauling livestock to South St. Paul, always returning with a load of lumber and freight.  He even hauled the wine for the Catholic Church in Oklee! Frankie loved being a member of the cattle haulers’ Shipper’s Club where he met and spent time with fellow truckers who became lifelong friends. Frankie always looked forward to visiting with his fellow cattle haulers at the annual truckers reunion in Park Rapids each spring.

Frankie met Shirley (Edwards) Lee at square dance lessons held at the (old) Oklee Hall in the winter of 1962-1963.  Frankie didn’t have a partner, and Shirley was there helping her friends who were the callers.  Guess who became Frankie’s partner?   They were married June 6, 1964!  Shirley had lost her husband in 1961 and had two very small boys that Frankie immediately took under his wing.  They then had a son together, Brian, in 1967 and a daughter, Jennifer, in 1969.

In 1987, Frankie sold his livestock trailer and changed to a dry van, hauling a variety of cargo including Old Dutch potato chips and American Crystal sugar, always returning with freight for local businesses.  During this time, Frankie and Shirley visited many of their snowbird friends in Las Vegas and Apache Junction.  His final load was hauling bottled water to Minot, ND at 81 years old.  Some of his most memorable trips during his career were moving a herd of 12 buffalo from Crookston to Bemidji and hauling show cattle to the Minnesota State Fair each year.

Sundays were always a day of rest for Frankie.  After Mass, he and Shirley would travel near and far to find a lutefisk church dinner (which is kind of funny being that Frankie was 100% French Canadian). Sometimes they would spend the afternoon on a little drive through the country with a stop in Trail for some music.  The night never ended without a drive by the truck garage to make sure everything was okay.

Blessed be the memory of Frankie Cyr and remember to “Keep on Truckin’!”

Frankie is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Shirley L. Cyr; his children Brian (& Trini) Cyr, Jennifer Cyr Revering, Jerry (& Loretta) Lee, and Ernie (& Nancy) Lee; his nine grandchildren: Jedre (& Kaitlyn) Cyr, Jaret Cyr, Jocylin Cyr, Jaeger Cyr, Gretchen Revering (fiancé David Morrow), Paige Revering, Meghan Lee, Lance (& Maddie) Lee, and Jackie Lee.