Frank, born in Washington, lived his early years in the small community of Glencarlyn, across the Potomac River from the Nation's Capital, in Arlington County, Virginia. After his father, Francis I. V. Gardner, died in a construction accident. his mother, Marie Gardner, moved with Frank, age four, and his two sisters, back to Washington, where she went to work as a clerk-typist for the U. S. Government. Frank attended elementary and high school in Washington.
After completing two years of college in 1942, Frank enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps to fight in World War Two. After boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, he was trained as a radio operator in the Naval Training Station on the campus of Texas A. and M. College, College Station, Texas.
He fought in three major Pacific island battles, landing in amphibious assault on Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Saipan. As World War Two ended, Staff Sergeant Gardner was honorably discharged from the Marines in late 1945.
Frank returned to Mount St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Maryland, receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Social Science two years later. In May 1948, he entered the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a special agent, serving that Bureau for thirteen years in five states and the District of Columbia. Along the way, he married Geraldine Donahue of Cleveland, Ohio, in 1951; they had nine children.
In 1962, Frank moved to the U S. Department of State, where he served three years as a security officer. He then entered the Foreign Service and served six years as a U. S. Consul in Mexico at three American consulates.
For the next ten years, he served as an administrative officer for the State Department's Office of International Conferences, with temporary assignments in a variety of overseas stations, one each, in: Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Quito, Ecuador; Belgrade, Yugoslavia; and Castries, Saint Lucia. In addition, Frank had several such assignments in both New York City and Geneva, Switzerland.
His last posting overseas was for two years as an administrative officer at the American Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He retired from the Foreign Service in 1986. They had 9 children,17 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren.