STRUTHERS - Prayers will be held Tuesday at 9:45 a.m. at the Higgins-Reardon Funeral Homes, Poland Chapel, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at Christ Our Savior, St. Nicholas Church, at 10:30 a.m. for Frank J. Sybelnik Sr., 95, who passed away peacefully early Sunday morning at home , surrounded by his family.
Frank was born Sept. 11, 1923, in Youngstown, the only son of six children of the late John F. and Anna (Bodnar) Sybelnik.
Frank inherited a strong work ethic from his immigrant parents who weathered the depression. His first job was at the age of six as a paperboy for his Nebo neighborhood in Struthers.
He was a 1941 graduate of Struthers High School. After graduation, Frank worked at the Youngstown Sheet and Tube before entering the U.S. Navy and serving during World War II as a gunner on a series of Liberty Ships in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
He attended the New Castle School of Trades on the GI Bill, and with the skills he obtained, he was able to build his own home, along with numerous other homes, with contractor Steve Biroschak Builders. He also purchased and renovated homes throughout the Struthers community and was always willing to lend a hand with any type of project for family and friends.
Frank began his law enforcement career as a police officer with the Struthers Police Department in 1952 under the administration of Mayor Harold L. Milligan Sr. He was promoted to the rank of Captain in 1963 and retired after 29 years of service. Frank was appointed Safety Service Director by Mayor Daniel J. Hurite in 1981. He went on to become the Struthers and Campbell Development Coordinator from 1982-1994, part of the Federal HUD Program, where he assessed and recommended home improvements for those in need.
Mr. Sybelnik was an active member of the Struthers F.O.P. 41 and the Sgt. Louis J. Campbell VFW Post 3538 for over 70 years, holding various positions. He enjoyed participating in various fundraising events including preparing and serving bi-monthly Thursday night spaghetti dinners.
Frank loved boating and water skiing and introduced the sport to many family and friends throughout the years. He had a natural musical talent and was self-taught on the harmonica, organ and accordion. He was a lifelong lover of polka music and dancing. After retiring, he enjoyed golfing with his friends in the Struthers VFW Golf League, going on casino trips and cooking ethnic foods for his family.
Frank is survived by his daughter, Victoria (Francis Henkels) Sybelnik of Westport, Conn.; a son, Daniel (Tammie) Sybelnik of Callahan, Fla.; a daughter-in-law, Denise Sybelnik of Austintown, four grandchildren, Traci (Travis) Roe, Frank J. (Amanda) Sybelnik III, Matthew Sybelnik, and Sophia Henkels; six great-grandchildren, Gavin, Shane, Lilah, Adele, Alana, and Annie; his former wife, Claire (Zajac) Sybelnik; three sisters, Helen Bux o f Wadsworth, Sophie Arp of Albuquerque, N.M., and Pauline (Ted) Williamson of Tampa, Fla.; and a dear loving friend for over 40 years, Elizabeth Speziale.
Frank was also preceded in death by his son, Frank J. Sybelnik Jr., daughter-in-law, Maria Sybelnik; and two sisters, Alice Gartman and Josephine Kinkela.
Family and friends may call today, Monday, April 15, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the funeral home.
Military honors will take place at Poland Riverside Cemetery, where he will be laid to rest next to his son.
In lieu of flowers, donation tributes to Frank can be made to the VFW Post 3538, 157 Lowellville Road, Struthers, OH 44471.