Times owner, publisher Frank Schier passes away at 62

Frank Schier, the longtime owner, publisher and editor of The Rock River Times, has passed away at the age of 62.

Schier was co-founder of the Rockford Area Music Industry awards; the River District Association; and the Rock River National Water Trail.

A former board member at Rockford College, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in English in 1988, Schier was a renowned reader and collector of rare books, and published his own collection of poetry in 1982, Splitting Hairs.

Schier was diagnosed with lung and brain cancer last fall and was receiving treatment at the University of Wisconsin hospital in Madison at the time of his death.


The staff of The Times wants to thank our longtime friend and boss, and wishes to reassure our readers that the paper will continue to fill its role as the Voice of the Community.

–Shane Nicholson, Managing Editor

44 thoughts on “Times owner, publisher Frank Schier passes away at 62

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 1:24 pm
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    Frank, As a reader I can tell you that Rockford will miss your honest pursuit of true journalism, a rarity in these times of overt sensationalism. As a citizen we will miss the vast contributions you gave to environmental causes, the River district, politics and humanistic outreach in general. As your friend I will miss the long nights of conversation, drink and fellowship. Rockford just ain’t gonna be da same. How’s that for grammar? Peace now Frank, just peace.

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 2:13 pm
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    Having known Frank since he returned to Rockford from the Pacific NW, I will miss him in many respects. His larger than life attitude helped make Rockford a better place, especially on the newspaper front. Thanks for everything Frank, I’ll miss you!

    • Jan 18, 2017 at 2:36 pm
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      I owe a debt of gratitude to Frank. He is responsible for the publication of my first chapbook. He also published my poetry regularly in Rock River Times over the years. Together we used to sponsor the Rock River Poetry contest. He also created Rockford Writers’ Theatre, which performed at many venues. Most of all, I will miss his enthusiasm and wild sense of humor.
      Chris Swanberg

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 2:35 pm
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    Frank and I did not always agree – and arguments are simply glorious and expand our minds. He took chances and sometimes unpopular stands – again, bravo – somebody needs to do the hard things! He also was one of the people who would hang at Serrano’s, a much missed place for food and drinks downtown. I’ll miss Frank!

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 2:43 pm
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    This is sad news, I wish I had gotten to know you better. I only knew you through Reiki. Had no idea there were so many sides to you. You will be missed!

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 2:45 pm
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    Frank,
    You will be missed, but you will live on in the heart and soul of Rockford. There is not a part of Rockford that does not have your imprint on it somewhere. Your “make it happen” attitude along with the snarky remarks will be sorely missed. May the wind be at your back as you float down that river to a happy place.

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 2:51 pm
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    He was a true friend, a hero to me, as well as a proud boss and eager student. He was unflappable, persevering and kind. I will miss his wit, his generosity and his strength. He will leave a void not only in the political arena, but also the healing arts community, the martial arts community, the music community, the arts community and so many others. He was loved and respected and truly one of a kind.

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 2:55 pm
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    I loved you always, Frank. You will be missed and never forgotten. So many memories and all the battles we fought together.

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 2:59 pm
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    Frank, you will be missed, my friend. You were a great friend and I enjoyed being a part of The Rock River Times sales staff, several years ago. I especially appreciate your environmental impact that you conveyed to our city; by your involvement in communicating through your paper, being involved with environmental organizations and just your pure passion of a more sustainable lifestyle, for people and planet. Your wealth of knowledge has been a great impact on so many lives.

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 3:09 pm
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    I didn’t know Frank long, but the time I did have planning the Anything That Floats Race with him will not be forgotten. He was a whirlwind of energy and ideas you never thought could be stifled. A real force. His memory will certainly live on with me.

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 3:24 pm
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    I am saddened to hear of Frank’s passing. I was one of those readers at the Rockford Writers’ Theatre that he founded. He will be remembered for his great contribution to the arts. I was fortunate to have personally known him.

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 3:37 pm
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    I met Frank as he was beginning his journey with TRRT. Long were those nights of literally cutting and pasting (with wax) our first editions. In trade Frank published my travel log “A Path With Heart” over ten years. I will be forever grateful to Frank for inspiring me to begin my own journey in writing. Be well Frank. The world is now a lesser place, but know that you have left your mark as few others have. Bon Voyage

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 3:41 pm
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    Rockford lost a bigger than life cheerleader for this city. Frank, u will be missed. Gone to soon. REST IN PARADISE FRANK.

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 4:06 pm
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    Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful is saddened to hear of the community’s loss of this passionate environmental advocate. Personally, I will miss your wry take on about every topic. Keep the rivers clean for us, Frank, and we’ll keep your legacy going here on The Rock!

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 4:27 pm
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    I first met Frank mid-90s on the board of Friends of Howard Colman Library (RU)–a go-ahead idea man. I crashed one of his famous holiday parties and he proudly showed some first editions among his floor-to-ceiling books. He was always on the town! At the old Kiki B’s and Oscar’s we had some fun chats about poetry and local history. I’ll miss running into this interesting and engaging fellow. ♡ This is such a genius photo, I want to add–as quirky as its subject. I burst out laughing when I first saw it on the wall of Rockford Art Museum, enlarged to, like, 10’x5′ for the 2013 “Exposed” photography exhibition. I like to think Frank’s somewhere rocking the boat as was his style. (Photo’s by Nels Akerlund, BTW.)

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 4:27 pm
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    I have a memory of him from nearly thirty years ago that has always stayed with me, and involves a chartered bus trip from Rockford to Jane Addams’ childhood home in Cedarville, IL, in 1989. The trip was part of a Rockford College weekend long symposium to mark Miss Addams’ founding of Hull House 100 years earlier. On the bus, Frank helped distribute box lunches to the participants and regaled them with stories. One he told especially well was about Southern writer Eudora Welty and how often, as a child, she asked her mother, at the most inopportune times, to tell her where babies come from. Frank’s dramatization of the story was very thorough and very amusing. May he rest in peace.

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 5:43 pm
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    RIP Frank. The world just became an emptier place. At least you won’t have to endure Trump.

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 5:57 pm
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    frankie old chap, you were a very live wire, sorry to hear you go..yet i know you still are..going. you were generous and mad! all ways full of something shenanigans and observations. peace out brother!!!

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 6:01 pm
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    Frank, I appreciated the tireless support you provided as a friend and I decided to begin coordinating the Rock River Sweep in Rockton years ago. Your leadership has helped make the Sweep a continuing success. Someone else will undoubtedly cite your faithful support of renewable energy, to the lasting benefit of our whole area.

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 6:10 pm
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    I met Frank many years ago when he returned to Rockford. I will always appreciate how he encouraged my writing endeavors and his wicked sense of humor. We have lost a good and talented man.

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 7:34 pm
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    Frank, our brother and friend. Our lives won’t be the same without you. What a big loss for our community, for our world, for humanity. We will miss you. It has been an honor to have met you. You were an inspiration. We love you. Rest In Peace.

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 7:49 pm
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    The first time I met Frank I was maybe 17 or 18 years old. It was in the neighborhood of 3am above Saturn Studio and Frank was in a tux with an umbrella squawking like the Penguin and making pancakes. I thought he was some bizarre Hunter Thompson sidekick. Over the years I got to know Frank well. He was an ardent live music supporter. He was ALWAYS at every show (even if it was for 5 minutes, you knew your band was good if your show was Frank’s last stop). He always found his way to free food and drink… like a 6th sense. Frank was brash, opinionated, generous, loud, and always gave you a hug while saying “come here you f&*(er”.
    Frank,
    You gave me some deserved verbal ass kicking when I needed it and encouragement when I needed that. You will be missed my friend. You were a true old school gonzo journalist. Love you brother. Your holiday parties were the bomb.

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 8:17 pm
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    So sorry to hear of Frank’s passing. He was a graduate of my department at Rockford University and one of my former students. Thanks, Frank, for your passion for literature and writing, and for your commitment to our community.

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 8:26 pm
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    Sad day for all of Rockford. I knew Frank… geesh… 21 years ago? He gave me a job writing a weekly article, The Bartender’s Spotlight. That was a lot of fun, and started my friendship with most of my Rockford friends.
    Frank was a good man; a man who loved his community and succeeded in making it better than he found it. I know I’m thankful for knowing him. Rest easy, Frank. Thanks for everything.

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 9:00 pm
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    Frank you will be missed. Your involvement with so many community groups and local issues was steadfast. Thank you for all your hard work and for The Rock River Times.

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 9:16 pm
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    I have known Frank since we were 16. My mom worked for his aunt. So our paths crossed many times over the years. I saw him most during my years working for the Waterfront festival and helping with the Rami’s. I will miss you dear friend. I’m sure you’re already writing an editorial about your new gig. My deepest condolences to your family. Carol Wright

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 9:33 pm
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    I will miss Frank so much!! He hired me to work at the RRTimes when my life was going through a tough time, and then even tougher when my husband Gerry died, but Frank was there with his unique humor and kindness. He supported me when I left RRTimes for a full time position in Janesville and we joked that I was at least still on the Rock River! I saw him at the Greenwich Village Art Fair in September and was able to share a hug an catch up. I had no idea about what trouble was ahead for him!! I’m so sad and will miss him terribly but will always remember him as a tireless supporter of the Arts, the Rock River Trail, and the Rockford Community!!❤

  • Jan 18, 2017 at 10:18 pm
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    We will miss you at the rockford karate club

  • Jan 19, 2017 at 12:15 am
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    Frank, I owe you a debt of gratitude, from exposing the Sheffield debacle to printing my political opinions word for word. Rockford is a better place because of you. I’m glad I had a chance to know you and to tell you “thanks for everything, always.” Peace

  • Jan 19, 2017 at 12:37 am
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    I am so, so sorry to hear of Frank’s passing. He was a truly independent journalist and a free spirit whose heart was totally centered on his work and whose life was totally devoted to the people he served. The silencing of his voice in our community calls to mind a line from Markham’s poem, “And when he fell, he went down as when a lordly cedar goes down with a great shout upon the hills and leaves a lonesome place against the sky.” May the angels lead you into paradise, my friend, may choirs of angels receive you, and may you have eternal rest. Thank you for all you have done for our community.

  • Jan 19, 2017 at 2:11 am
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    An open letter to The Rock River Times readers:

    Frank Schier was a fierce defender of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing the right to the freedoms of an independent press and speech. He proved this each and every week the paper was published and posted. This is Frank’s greatest lasting legacy. The Rockford community is much better because of his avocation.

    Frank was like all of us in that he had his character strengths and weaknesses, but at the end of the day his virtues far outshined any vices. Each week I worked with him at the paper from 2002 to 2006, we would vehemently argue about what should and should not be in a given news article. However, by the time the paper was published, the disagreements and hard feelings were set aside with some pizza and beer. It was hard work for everyone, but Frank never lost his passion for the paper.

    Together, we endured many trials in the pursuit of public service to the Rockford community. This included an alleged libel lawsuit that was quite justly and swiftly thrown out of court. We also managed to shed much-needed light on corruption and mismanagement by various local government agencies. Frank backed these efforts as much as an investigative news reporter could have hoped. For this teamwork, the paper received a richly-deserved award from the Illinois Press Association in 2004. For that, I am very grateful to Frank.

    But I am more grateful that Frank will also be known as a tireless advocate for the Rockford area. His work promoting the Rock River, sustainable energy, Rockford River District, local music performers, public radio, and various artists should not be forgotten. I greatly appreciate the many positive contributions he made to the community.

    Thank you, Frank. Rest in peace.

    Sincerely,
    Jeff Havens
    Former TRRT staff writer
    Helena, MT

    • Jan 19, 2017 at 3:13 am
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      That is so very Frank and so very beautiful.😢

  • Jan 19, 2017 at 6:13 am
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    I didn’t know Frank well, but I had spoken with him a few times over the past several years. The first time was when I was running for the Winnebago County Board in 2012. We were having a general discussion that turned into an interview of sorts, which led to an endorsement for that run. I felt he was very gracious then and since and was certainly willing to give both positive advice yet dish out constructive criticism. It really is a shame the RRTimes doesn’t get into the hands of every single person in the region. But for those who have read this fine weekly, I do believe it is in the capable hands of the staff Frank surrounded himself with.

    David Soll

  • Jan 19, 2017 at 7:29 am
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    Thanks, Frank, for being a friend and advocate. Fiercely loyal, passionate about corruption in politics, willing to risk while others protected their gains. At the same time full of humor and generosity.
    Grateful for your life and friendship.

  • Jan 19, 2017 at 2:10 pm
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    Frank was a candle that burned very bright indeed. Like the archangels behind his desk, he saw himself as a warrior for the under served, the downtrodden, the little guy. He was a larger than life person, often crass and silly while being brilliant with a dazzling intellect. He never backed down from a fight when someone was in trouble. I am sure Frank and his work someway saved many of the RRT’s fans. He was an amazing man and one of the last remaining true journalists. I knew Frank for more than 25 years. He was my boss, a friend, a colleague and I was his biggest fan. He stood by me and my husband when we were in trouble and never once expected anything in return but a good story, maybe a drink, and that chance to knock the bad guys around. I will always picture Frank sitting at the end of his rooftop office, behind that oversized desk with the angels above him, surrounded by his books, his flowing silver hair resting on his shoulders and that boyish contagious laugh. I will love him forever. Farewell my dear friend and my white knight. Your gift was words and being so good with the pen that you never needed a sword . . . but right now words just do not seem to do you justice. Peace to you! XXX Chrissie and Steve

  • Jan 19, 2017 at 2:35 pm
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    Years ago I had the pleasure of working at the RRT with frank,Joe,Susan,Karen,Charlie,Jacky. He gave me my first job as a writer. Frank was a good man and will be sorely missed.

  • Jan 19, 2017 at 3:12 pm
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    I met Frank when we both worked at MSII Graphics (formally Wilson-Hall Printing) in the mid-80’s. Over the years I would bump into him at various watering holes in downtown Rockford. He was always willing to share a story and provide an opinion. He will be missed and I’ll raise a glass in his memory this evening. RIP Frank – Rockford will miss you.

  • Jan 19, 2017 at 4:38 pm
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    Frank was a friendly and colorful guy, a proven nature lover, a community supporter, and creator of good things.
    Sorry to see him go.
    Rick Freiman – Wild Ones Native Plants

  • Jan 19, 2017 at 10:54 pm
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    O Frankie. YOU were Transform Rockford before Transform Rockford. Every single time we were on a project together, some dumb bell – outta the blue – thing would happen @the 11th hour to dash us into a crisis. Good thing a ” brainiac ” was right there to save the day. Who will be there now ? Love you always . . . Mare the Gardener

  • Jan 20, 2017 at 8:29 am
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    On behalf of EL TIEMPO SPANISH NEWSPAPER let me pass our deepest condolences on the recent passing of our COLLEAGUE, MENTOR AND DEAR AMIGO FRANK SCHIER. To say FRANKIE was a larger than life character would be an understatement. He will always be remembered as a great FRIEND and JOURNALIST verified by his many awards.
    To FRANKIE Friends and Family Our Deepest Sympathy and May God surround you with loving care, always and forever.
    May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
    AMIGO FRANKIE TE EXTRAÑAREMOS SIEMPRE

  • Jan 20, 2017 at 3:19 pm
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    It’s hard to remember a time before I knew you. You’ve always been there at the most unexpected times, through good and not so good. A smile when you see me, always ready for a good laugh and/or a rousing debate. We earthlings will miss you terribly, but the smile on your Mom’s and Lil’s face…pure love & joy.

  • Jan 20, 2017 at 11:39 pm
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    I am saddened to hear of Frank’s passing. Frank hired me in 2013 to work on his buildings Frank could be harsh at times as well as kind. I remember when my Tammy past away Frank told me to take as long as I needed to recover and morn Tammy’s passing. I told Frank I would just as well work and stay busy. I told him I didn’t think I could go back to Tammy’s and my apartment since that’s where I had found Tammy had passed while I slept. Frank offered me one of his apartments. Frank told me not to worry he had plenty of work for me. And he kept his word. Frank and I had some deep intense times as Frank was Frank lol. Frank appreciated my artist abilities and would always introduce me as his friends and brag about my skills as an artist and building maintenance knowledge. Frank was a person you could love and hate at the same time but at the end of the day you would appreciate his wisdom and knowledge. Frank had a passion for life in remembrance of Frank I will keep my promise to continue creating art that will keep the viewer in awe. Frank I will miss you and your friendship. Rockford lost a very important lover of our Rock River and our city Rockford. Sail on my friend…

  • Jan 21, 2017 at 10:06 am
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    Did you know Frank was an energy healer? Did you know he spent most of his Wednesday nights performing healing work on others and teaching us all about what he knew? Did you know Frank was writing a book on Black Hawk? I didn’t know any of these things about Frank until last Summer when our paths crossed in an unlikely place. What I did know before was that Frank has ALWAYS been supportive of me as an artist and a person. He was respectful and supportive of Jim, John, Scott, Rick, PHO, Deb, Matt, another John, Greg, and the slew of us who were a community of artist friends 25 years ago. We didn’t have money to buy advertising, but Frank wrote articles about what we were doing and put images of our work in his paper time and time again. He came to our openings and was a friend. Thanks for that Frank. I will always treasure these last few months when you came back into my life. There are reasons for everything. You have things to do where you now are and we have things to do over on this side for the time being. Thanks for the book you gave me a couple of weeks ago, I still consider it a loan. 😉
    Love and light to you.

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