Frank Michael Catania

Frank M. Catania died peacefully, surrounded by family and friends on December 3rd.  He was born July 31, 1942 in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.  He is preceded in death by his mother Mary and father Tom Turner. He is survived by Rosemary Ryan, his constant companion and the love of his life; his brother Dr. Robert Catania and his wife Aurora; his sister Geri Stroh and her husband Don along with his nephew Bill Fox, his wife Heather; and, great-nephew Brayden.


Frank touched the lives of so many people throughout his life that there are too many to mention.  He would want to acknowledge all the caregivers and doctors who helped him throughout his life.  Equally important all the people who worked with him in the K-9 world especially with his beloved American Tundra Shepherds.


Frank lived the most incredible life. As a young man he was a cross county running champion. His love of animals was always apparent and he really used his skills when he joined the military.  Frank was in the K-9 corp. during Vietnam and was awarded a Bronze Star for his work with temperament evaluation.  Upon leaving the military he was presented with an opportunity that would change his world and that of many others.  He developed a new breed of dog and is recognized as the founder and developer of the American Tundra Shepherd.  Frank will always be remembered as one of the most knowledgeable and great teachers of all time in the K-9 community.  He will be greatly missed and was loved by many.


A partial list of Frank’s achievements include: Chief Army K-9 Instructor & Veterinary Technician; Awarded a Bronze Star by the US Army for his research & Development of K-9 training methods; VP & State Agent for the Human Societies Inc; Dir of Edwardsville Animal Control; originator of Guard Dog rental Services in Kansas City; Court Pet Expert Witness; Director for the First Canine Explorer Post in the USA: No. 2907 for the Boy Scouts of America; Boy Scout Counselor for Dog Training & Veterinary Technicians; Advisor to the Kansas State Legislature for House Bill 2900, Vicious Dog Act; Founder and President of the Global Kennel Club; Director of the American Mixed Breed Kennel Club; City & County Humane Society Officer; former President of the Humane Society of Greater Kanasas City; Member of the Humane Society of American; Founder and sole developer of the American Tundra Shepherd dog; K-9 Chief Instructor for the Burlington Northern, Santa Fe & Frisco railroads; Trainer of Tracking dogs used by police departments;  Chief Training Instructor of the K-9 Demonstration Teams for the army at Ft. Benning, Georgia; Supervisor of K-9 Demonstration teams; Training Director for Catch-all Animal Control Classes; Trainer of dogs for the Handicapped & Hearing Impaired; Licensed Professional Chief instructor, Show Judge and Breed Warden; Author of the FM20-20 Army War Dog Training Manual, 1967 issue; President of the American Tundra Shepherd Club and President and Founding Member of the Greater Kansas City Working K-9 Club.


Tax deductable donations can be made in Frank’s honor to: American Tundra Shepherd Foundation, 11121 W. 109th Terrace, Overland Park, Kansas 66210.


Visitation and Funeral Service


Visitation will be held Wednesday, December 10th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Amos Family Chapel of Shawnee.  Mass of Christian Burial will be Thursday, December 11th at 10:30 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 11311 Johnson Drive, Shawnee.  After lunch is served a military graveside service will be at Leavenworth National Cemetery in Leavenworth, Kansas. 

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Posted in Obituaries | on Wednesday, Dec. 3rd 2008 | 17 Comments »

17 Comments on “Frank Michael Catania”

  1. Boyd & Sharon Huntington Says:

    Rosemary, Geri, and Don,

    Our prayers are with you. We grieve with you in the loss of Frank. He will always be remembered in our hearts. Frank has done so much for our family, and we will ever be thankful for that.

    Boyd, Sharon, Stanley, Brian, Kevin, and Allison Huntington

  2. Jim & Melisa Branstetter Says:

    Our prayers are with you at this time. During the time I worked for Frank, no one had a greater effect on my life, or had taught me so much. I’ll always remember my days at Midwest Security K-9 Corp. (1975-1980).

    Jim Branstetter

  3. Kay Shevling Says:

    I first met Frank when he went to a neighbor’s house to retrieve his first wolf, Shanty, who had escaped and was chewing on her goat’s tail. He was leading Shanty, who had a bloody stain on his chest, on a leash, but he stopped to chat awhile. I later took our dog to his group training, and he later offered to train me and give me a job as his first female trainer. He had a profound influence on my life and that of my children. I will miss him and remember him fondly. My condolences to Frank’s family. Kay

  4. Dave Peden Says:

    My condolences to Frank’s Family and Rosemary on the recent loss of a good man we all knew and loved. Whether we called him a family member, friend or comrade in arms a fellow Veteran Frank was one of a kind. His passing has touched us all nevertheless this can never touch our memories of Frank when he was happiest working with his dogs. Though the stars may not seem as bright his legacy will live on through us he has touched in this journey we call life as well as those of us who have owned an American Tundra Shepherd that Frank breed. Goodbye old friend we will meet again.
    Your Friend,
    Dave Peden
    DS3- USN (Ret.)

  5. Linda Marquez Says:

    Although, I know I will see you again someday.. life will never be the same without your smiling face, words of encouragement and onery behavior, which will be missed by all.
    Your friend to eternity….linda marquez

  6. Linda Marquez Says:

    To the family:
    My journey with Frank began in 1981 and my life was forever changed on the day that I met Frank.

    Frank was a man of great integrity, full of life and taught his students not only dog training but lessons in life that made each of us a better person.

    I will never forget these words!!!

    YOU can leave the KENNEL but the KENNEL never leaves YOU!!

    Frank has touched so many lives and will be dearly missed. But mostly he touched my life!!

    My heart is sad today but I can only imagine the smile on his face as he took his first step on the golden streets of Heaven!!!

    I will miss you my friend and will always love you!!
    Your most Greatful Student… linda marquez

  7. Tom and Dianne Davis Says:

    We live in WA state and have two American Tundra Shepherds, both of whom came from the Kansas City/Missouri area. What WONDERFUL animals they are! Although we never met Frank, may his legacy live on through these blessed animals. There’s nothing like his beloved Tundra Shepherd breed!

  8. Sheila Randel Says:

    Rosemary, Geri and Don, Robert, Bill;
    I am deeply saddened by the loss of Frank, my good friend and your companion, sibling and uncle. May you have the strength and vision to know that you will be with him again.
    Frank basically raised me from when I was 18 (since I was slow to mature) until I was 27 and I’ll always treasure those times with him. He was my dog training mentor, teaching me everything I know about canines and used in my fifteen year career. He even taught me to drive! He and Rosemary were also was very generous in allowing the youth group, the Eastern Kansas Young Marines to use the training facility and help us guide the group. My son’s Solomon and Elijah have fond memories of him from those times. He was even a track and field mentor of sorts to my son, Solomon, who is running in college now.
    Frank will always have tremendous meaning and relevance in my life. Each day, while praying, I try to acknowledge those people who have touched my life and passed on, in hopes to see them next time around. I know we’ll meet again.
    Remember, Franks’ life is like a butterfly that lights on a flower, although we have been so happy to see him, it was time for him to be moving on.
    He will always be missed

  9. Vicki Shatto Says:

    I used to live in Bonner Springs and one day answered an ad in the paper; Animal lovers to help care for dogs. I had no idea at the time what it involved. I had no idea I would end up being a dog trainer. I am so glad I answered that ad. It changed my life. I can remember we shared a great love of animals. He had a wealth of knowledge about animals that will probably never be totally discovered. I am so grateful that I was there to share a part of it.

    My trainer, my mentor, Frank Catania.

    Your student
    Vicki Rae Shatto

  10. linda (oakes] gregory Says:

    dear geri,bob,mary.tom.

    i’m so sorry that one of my favorite persons in the whole world has past. frank will always be in my heart. as you know me and frank wanted to get married when i was in the 1st grade and up. lol since we both had german shepard dogs. we wanted to raise the dogs into a large business.well, it never happened. but it was in our hearts. i know that someday i’ll see frank again. i’ve prayed to GOD to send me to animal heaven to be with all of my animals, and i know thats where frank went. Frank Catania will always be my HERO. Mary, Tom,Bob, and geri mt prays are for you.
    Love Always Linda [ Oakes] Gregory

  11. Susan Hanzlicek Says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I met Frank in the early 1970s and because of his charisma, integrity, and love of life, he had a major impact on my life. Even though I haven’t seen him in many, many years, he is often in my thoughts. He was a man of great courage and the earth is lessoned by his move to Heaven.

  12. Jeanna Osborn Says:

    Frank trained me to become the K-9 trainer I am today. I will always be eternally grateful for his passion for the sport and his professional integrity. He was a man of significance in my life.
    Thanks much to him and his staff at Midwest K-9 Training Center, I am an Animal Assisted Therapy Program Director for a live-in adolescent treatment facility for troubled youth. I now train at risk youth to handle and train K-9s as therapy. I love my life. Thank you Frank and your loyal, loving staff. I will never forget you, even though you kicked my ass! 🙂

  13. Laurie Near-Shockley Says:

    Frank, I know you are taking guardian for the long walks that are overdue. Frank and I had a bond so strong that I knew something was wrong sometimes, I would call and he was weak or got locked out of the house. He had gotten sick one day, I got out the little tv and a blanket and layed on the floor beside his bed while he slept having nightmares, I stayed at his side. He treated me like his daughter. He loved my daughter Bettina, they shared the loved of dog training and the tundras. I personally have had 2 tundras( my black one that frank gave me and my black & tan .

    I will miss u!!

  14. Jesus (Jay) Roig Says:

    The first time I met Frank was at Ft. Benning, GA when I joined the 48th Infantry Platoon Scout Dog (IPSD). We were too busy training in different areas to have any time to become friends, but that changed in Vietnam. It was there that we had our long discussions about the real love of his life – his dogs.
    Frank was our Veternarian Technician, the best in all Vietnam, and when it came to dogs – his word was law. We never questioned it – we just did it.
    In time we became close friends. Even after I became his Platoon Sergeant, Frank was Frank and he continued to let me know it. His advice on dog training was invaluable, always “right on.” I never doubted him.
    I often recall the great demonstrations he and I would put on for the newly arrived troops, where my dog “Royal” was used to flush him out of his hiding place. He loved his work and taught me to love it too.
    After our tour in Vietnam, I returned to my Army career and Frank to civilian life. I continued to use his teachings to provide Scout Dog orientations for field grade officers at the Command and General Staff College at Ft Leavenworth, KS. While we eventually went on to live separate lives and running our different businesses, I regret not staying closer to him, and I especially regret not taking his offers to join him at the K-9 Estates.
    Like brothers we argued and disagreed on a lot of things, but we always had our love of Scout Dogs and respect for each other that brought us back together. We were family back then.
    After many years of traveling, sending emails and leaving phone messages, I finally talked to one of Frank’s former trainers in KS. It was heartbreaking to get the news of Frank’s death. I let you down Frank. I miss our long talks and the fun we had while on leave in Bangkok and Saigon. See you soon my brother, see you soon.

  15. Laura Near-shockley Says:

    Frank, I siy and cry when I think of you. I wish that I had your words of wisdom right now. I wish that you were here, but I think that I knew that you were sick, I tried and tried to call you but no answer. I wished that someone would have called me so I could be at your side like I was before. I miss you terribly. Please god help me for not being there in the end.

    I loved you.

    I hope that you and guardian are having fun.

  16. Vicki Shatto Says:

    I just wanted to thank you for the greatest years of learning and the great things I have accomplished in my life because of them. I still look in from time to time. Memories are still heartfelt. RIP –

    Recent consultant

  17. Victoria Sirak Says:

    Frank touched my life with these wonderful dogs, American Tundra Shepards! I bred and showed them with his help. I miss him.God bless you Frank.

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