Frank RadonMarch 9, 1922 ~ October 26, 2017 (age 95)
HOLYOKE: Francizek “Frank” Radon died on a rainy morning at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke at the age of 95 on October 26, 2017. He was born in Holyoke on March 9, 1922 to Peter and Aniela (Blecharczyk) Radon. Frank was a depression era child. He grew up in a household where food and other amenities were lacking and as such spent much of his time scrounging for some of the basic goods. He would take his father’s row boat onto the Connecticut River to get as much driftwood as he could salvage and climb railroad cars to help himself to the coal to help heat his parent’s house. He went from house to house where milk was delivered and helped himself because he was hungry, and at times, went to local orchards to pick pears and apples to bring back to the house. His interests did not include school and as a result, he quit school but eventually returned to attend trade school. Throughout the years of his childhood, he spent some of his time fishing at various places and hopping freight trains with friends for a round trip to Hatfield and back. But much of his time was spent walking from his Ward 4 home on Walnut street to make his way on the tracks along the Connecticut River to reach his destination of Mt. Tom and the nearby reservoir to set traps for muskrats for money. Luck was with him once when he caught two minks, so as a surprise to his older sister, he made a fur collar. The war came and he and his brothers were drafted. While his brothers Edwin and Freddie experienced the horrors of war, Frank was instead stationed in Africa and Italy as part of a supply depot, and did his job so well he made Sergeant. When his brother Freddie had been injured at Anzio, one of Frankie’s most memorable characteristics rose to prominence. It was his sense of family and friendship which persisted throughout his life that allowed him to threaten to go AWOL in order to see his brother, because he and Freddie were not only brothers, but best friends. Frankie lived the rest of his life on his own terms. He was not one to look down on his lack of education or job status because he realized the importance of all tasks. He was a quick learner which stood him in good stead when he worked at General Electric as a machinist and later for the city of Holyoke, first in the recreation department, and later as a custodian at city hall. He also spent many weekends fishing and hunting with his brother Freddie and friends. But most importantly, he was always there if anyone needed help. Frank was predeceased by his parents, Peter and Aniela, brothers Fred and Edwin, and sisters Stella Bashista and Helen Borowski. He will be missed by his sister, Irene Tetlow of South Hadley, and a brother Joseph, of New York City. He also leaves many nieces and nephews and his friend Dan Kirkpatrick. His family is extremely grateful to Maura of the recreation department who always made sure Frank attended all of the musical events; to the staff of 3 West who regarded Frankie as family (and as such he rewarded them by serenading them throughout the day and night) and made his last years and days as comfortable and dignified as possible; to everyone at hospice who added a quality of life during his last two years of life; to Diane and Clarissa who always brought him down to play Bingo in the Canteen; and to Danny and his moments of merriment when telling his tall tales of fishing with Frankie. Committal with Military Honors will be held on Thursday November 2 at the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 1390 Main Street in Agawam at 10:00am. There are no calling hours. The Barry J. Farrell Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. Memorial contributions may be made in memory of Frank to the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Recreation Fund, 110 Cherry St. Holyoke, MA 01040.