OBITUARY

Frank Stanley Kiewra

July 30, 1927March 5, 2019

Tribute to Dad

My Dad was strong. He was a Sargent in the United States Army. He operated a giant bulldozer for goodness sake, carving new roadways into Long Island earth on blistering summer afternoons and frigid winter mornings. But, the man knew how to pack a cooler or thermos to keep things running smoothly.

His strength was challenged by a knee operation around 1960, but he met that with a regiment of grueling knee extensions with me perched on his ankle and sweat pouring off his face.

Long before the running boom exploded, Dad went to the field across Clay Pitts Road and ran laps along the perimeter wearing street clothes and sneakers. We asked why, and he said it made him healthy. He is the first runner I knew and the inspiration for my 40-years of running. Some of my fondest memories were our runs and races together on Long Island.

Dad took some of his strength from the sea. He loved being on or near the water. There was that wooden cabin cruiser he and Uncle Eddie shared churning up the Great South Bay. He later bought a boat he trailered to the Northport shore, often with brother Al. Yeah, they caught a lot of big blues, but the trips were really about salt air and kinship, okay…beer too.

Sunken Meadow is a glorious park along the North Shore; there, Dad would swim a mile on summer evenings into the setting sun. It was a strengthening and peaceful diversion from the big machines he rode all day. He also cherished his runs there along the boardwalk, to the golf course, and into the woods where he took on two of Long Island’s most defiant hills: Snake and Cardiac. Yes, he was strong. Of course, Sunken Meadow would later become his special place, where he and the Beach Bums—guys like Joe Reese and Frank Bell—would meet each morning for a group run, and later walk, followed by a couple hours of coffee drinking and story-telling.

Strong men are generous, and Dad sure was that. He visited his mother, Nama, every weekend and always squeezed something into her hand. The man never sold a car in his life, always preferring to give them to family members. When his brothers needed something done, he was there to help and vice versa. When I was raising Keaton, he retired early from his job so he and Mom could road-trip it to Utah or Nebraska for a few weeks at a time to help out. And, I know his grandchildren and great grandchildren would say that Pop wrapped them with smiles and love. He had a way about him that made you feel special.

Strong men stay the course; they go the distance. Ninety-one years. Twenty with prostate cancer, with never a knock down. How about 60 years on Clay Pitts Road? I’m so glad I could share that home for so long with Chris, Keaton, Anna, and Sam on our summer pilgrimages from Nebraska. Now they are forever fans of Fire Island, Northport, Sunken Meadow, and real pizza. And, how about 68 years of marriage to my mother, Winnie? That’s a lifetime. And, Dad’s strength certainly rubbed off on her. In the declining times, she was his rock.

Finally, I must admit that I NEVER took my Dad down in arm wrestling, even when he allowed me to try two-handed. And, for that and all his other strengths, I’m truly grateful and proud to be his son.

Kenneth Kiewra

Services

  • Graveside Service Friday, March 22, 2019
REMEMBERING

Frank Stanley Kiewra

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Frank Bell

March 22, 2019

Frank and I were friends for many, many years. We ran at Sunken Meadows, then in later years ,walked instead.
We used to go fishing a lot on chartered boats, spend time together with family and friends BBQ's, backyard get togethers, and dinner dances at the clubs.
We especially enjoyed the camaraderie shared at the clubs. Frank, Joe Reese and I joined many organizations together. We were active with the Moose Lodge, the Elks, the Polish American club and the American Legion; in which we served as part of the Color Guard.
Any gathering was pretty much an excuse to have a beer or two or more! We had FUN. sharing stories, solving the worlds problems or just having a good laugh.
I am proud to say that it was an honor and privilege to have known Frank Kiewra. I will always miss my dear friend.
Frank Bell

Ginnie Kiewra

March 15, 2019

A Farewell Salute to Uncle Anky

Anna Kiewra

March 10, 2019

Papa was one hell of a grandfather. From our yearly summer trips out to Long Island, to Nonnon and Papa driving all the way out to Nebraska to spend time with me and my bothers, and then more recent times relaxing in the condo in Florida...I have so many cherished memories with him. As so many have mentioned, he was wise, strong, and loving. I learned so much from him. Here's a few:

To love the ocean, but to watch out for rip tides.
To eat an entire New York pizza by myself, and be proud of it.
To drink a beer, or three.
All about a boy named Sue.
Always wear a hat outside.
Wear your seat belt.
Never let your tank get below half full.
You really CAN walk uphill to school both ways.
How to tell a story.
You can be real tough with a real big heart, too. Being a beach bum is an ultimate life goal.

Sam…boy that kid can really eat.
How much a grandpa can love all his grandkids…it’s A LOT.
That love can really last an entire lifetime when you’ve got as great of a pair as Nonnon and Papa.

Thanks for all of the life lessons, love, and laughs. Love and miss you always Pops.

KEATON KIEWRA

March 9, 2019

I have so many wonderful memories of Pop that I don't even know where to begin. He was such a kind, loving, and strong grandfather that I always looked up to in so many ways. He and Nonnon would always come to visit our family all throughout my childhood, and I relished so much our annual trip to visit them in East Northport every summer. These 2 weeks were packed with beach time, fun in the sun, amazing food, and love. I've heard that traits often skip a generation, and I think this is definitely true: I take after Pop in a lot of ways, not the least of which is a healthy affinity for beer. Pop gave me my first sip, I won't say at what age ;) I remember coming to visit during a summer vacation from college, sitting in the back yard with Pop and my dad having a beer and eating raw clams with butter sauce, enjoying the nice Long Island summer evenings. It didn't get much better than that. Love you Pop!

Tom Bardenhagen

March 9, 2019

Miss you Frank. It was an honor to call you my father-in-law. Just remember, it's 5 o'clock somewhere.
Tom

Lillian Scurti

March 9, 2019

Loving brother giving away the bride

Christopher Stagg

March 8, 2019

I will always remember when I was little being so excited to come over to sit on grandpa’s lap and hear one of his scary stories, the most memorable of which is still so vivid to me some thirty years later – a couple of kids wondering the woods coming across a haunted house and getting trapped inside. “thump…thump…thump” grandpa would say dramatically, building up the suspense as the scary tale unfolds and as the unseen monster would approach. I couldn’t get enough of it.

And I’ll always remember grandpa marching in the Northport parades, proud of his service, and leading the twenty-one-gun salute by the harbor (for which I would rush, along with other boys my young age, for the shells). How happy and very social he always was at family parties, family reunions, and American Legion events. That time he was over to visit and mowed the rest of the yard because I was being a brat. The days and months after my father’s passing, where he and grandma would spend quality time with me on weekends, going to grab a pizza and making sure I was doing okay. And the many times playing pool in the basement, occasionally even letting me “win” every so often, and all the times spending Christmas eve together with the whole family.

All of this is to say, as Uncle Ken already said it best, grandpa wrapped his grandchildren in smiles and love. (Also like my Uncle Ken, I could never beat grandpa at arm wrestling either.)

Melissa Leischner

March 8, 2019

These two together at a dinner table always led to a good time! Such funny stories and memories when these two were together. My favorite is Pop Pop watching and shaking his head as uncle Al stuck a whole apple in his mouth because if you’re dared by a six year old, ya gotta do it. And boy did he! Pretty sure we dared him repeatedly in years to come and he never disappointed. Pop pop also shook his head when I watched meet me in st. louis with uncle Al and Aunt Sonya and uncle Al made sure to repeatedly sing and I sang along to “I was drunk last night dear mother.” I was probably eight. Of all the songs in that Judy Garland musical:) Catchy tune though! Miss you Uncle Al and Pop-Pop.

Melissa Leischner

March 8, 2019

Sunken meadow circa early 80s

Melissa Leischner

March 8, 2019

Pretty sure he was wearing the hat that has lights on it. Such a cool, easy going, fun grandfather.

FROM THE FAMILY