The day Michael Frame graduated from Carleton College in Northfield in June 1962, he waited on tables at a college eatery, then raced home to finish mowing hay on his family's farm. That day, he also caught a flight to Washington to begin training in the Peace Corps.
Frame, 67, who later would spend summers in Minnesota and much of the rest of the year in Nepal running his hotel and two restaurants, died of multiple myeloma May 23 at his family farm in Northfield.
He served two hitches as a Peace Corps volunteer and later as a staffer with the Peace Corps and the U.S. Agency for International Development, helping the Nepalese to farm smarter.
"He learned a lot about farming when he was growing up, and he was kind of adventurous," said his sister, Mary Ellen Frame of Northfield.
He was a "quiet guy" and a "good listener," making him a successful teacher and adviser to the Nepalese and Peace Corps volunteers, his sister said. "His skills were wide-ranging and mostly self-taught," whether farming, cooking, or building, she said.
Frame and a Carleton classmate, Jim Fisher of Northfield, roomed together while training to become members of the first group of Peace Corps volunteers to serve in Nepal only months after the Peace Corps was founded.
"He just loved Nepal," said Fisher, now a Carleton anthropology professor with a specialty in Nepal. "He loved the people; he loved the food. Most of us were affected by the warmth and friendliness of the people, and the beauty of the country."
Nepal was untouched by the West in those days and "we reveled in it," Fisher said.
Most decades, Frame called Nepal home, but from 1969 to 1971, he did graduate work in agriculture economics at the University of Minnesota, and from 1971 to 1980, he and others operated a cooperative farm near Menominee, Wis.
In 1988, Frame and his Nepali co-owners opened Mike's Breakfast in Kathmandu. It became a landmark and haven for visitors as much for its dependable hygiene as its good food. Over the years, the business grew with the addition of the Hotel Fewa and Mike's Restaurant in Pokhara.
"He found his life there," Fisher said.
He taught employees what attracted tourists and served as a mentor to budding entrepreneurs, said his sister.
He was also a very good cook and wrote a cookbook and memoir called "Mike's Breakfast: Cooking in Nepal and Then Some."
When asked why he lived in Nepal, he kidded that "once he had learned the Nepalese language, he couldn't really use it anyplace else," she said.
He received the Distinguished Achievement Award from Carleton College in 2007 for his work in Nepal.
In addition to his sister, he is survived by two brothers, William Frame of Pine Island, Minn., and David of Albert Lea, Minn.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at the First United Church of Christ, 300 Union St., Northfield. A memorial gathering also will take place today at Mike's Breakfast in Kathmandu.