‘American Pickers’: Frank Fritz’s Stepdad Died Just Days Before His Stroke

by Taylor Cunningham

Just over a week before former American Pickers host, Frank Fritz, suffered a stroke, his stepfather, Richard Zirbes, passed away. And his last will and testament left Fritz out of an inheritance.

As The Sun reports, Zirbes died on July 5, 2022. The cause of death was not revealed. However, the publication obtained the court papers and revealed that Zirbes named his “friend,” Diann Bankson as the executor of his will.

Bankson is Frank Fritz’s ex-finance. The couple had an on-again-off-again relationship for years before they finally split for good in 2020 after both accused the other of infidelity.

In the writing, Zirbes noted that his intended executor, his biological son, passed away years before. So he gave all of his earthy possessions to Fritz’s ex.

“I give all my tangible personal property and household effects not otherwise effectively disposed of, such as jewelry, clothing, automobiles, furniture, furnishings, gold and silver, books and pictures, including policies of insurance to Diann Bankson,” he ordered.

Had Bankson passed first, her daughter would have become the sole heiress.

Zirbes does have a surviving daughter. However, he explicitly wrote that he did not wish for her or her children to gain anything upon his death.

“Since she has had little or no contact with me in recent years and lives in California and does not visit me, it is my expressed intention, desire, and direction that neither [my daughter] nor any of her descendants shall be entitled to any part whatsoever of my estate or any proceeds and/or assets of my estate,” he instructed.

“I sincerely wish them a happy life,” he added. “I just wish they had taken the time to remain in contact with me.”

Zirbes married Frank Fritz’s mother, Susan, in 1974, but he failed to mention his stepson in the will. Susan remained married to Zirbes until her death in 2013.

‘American Pickers’ Star Frank Fritz Remains in The Hospital

Meanwhile, the American Pickers star remains in the hospital as he fights for his life following a massive stroke.

Frank Fritz was found inside his Iowa home on July 14th. According to 911 records, a friend had gone to check on him and walked into him having an apparent seizure.

“I just showed up at my friend’s house here. And he was sprawled out on his floor,” the friend told dispatchers. “He can’t speak to me. He might be seizuring (sic) I’m not sure.” 

His former American Pickers co-star broke the news on Instagram a week later. And he asked for prayers as his estranged friend struggles to survive.

“I have been very private in the past year in regards to Frank’s life and the journey he’s been on,” he wrote. “There has been lots of opinions in regards to mine and Frank’s friendship and the show but now is not the time to set the record straight. Now is the time to pray for my friend.”