New London - Frank Bucko, lover of books, classical music, Broadway shows (especially "Hair"), and humorous situations, passed away on Sunday, May 12, 2013.
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He was born on March 7, 1923, in New London, the sixth and last child of Polish immigrants, Adele (Kupidowski) Bucko and Frank Bucko. He grew up in East New London on Crystal Avenue, and his boyhood haunts were Riverside Park and Camp Wakenah. He attended Winthrop School and graduated from the former Bulkeley School in New London in 1942. Always known for his sense of humor, his classmates wrote, "Bucko is the man who sabotages all gloom at Bulkeley," in his yearbook. Frank remained involved with his fellow "Bulkeley Boys" for the rest of his life.
During World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, traveling to Casablanca and Sicily. He fought in the Allied invasion of Italy and earned a purple heart in the Battle of Salerno. While on active duty in Ithaca, N.Y., his older brother, PFC Charles F. Bucko, was lost at sea in a convoy accident.
After the war, he returned to New London and married Eleanor Elizabeth Cummings. They had three children, Charlie, Janice, and Joan. He was the kind of father who would build a snowman that was two stories high, climb to the eye of the Statue of Liberty, and spend an entire day looking for the best sounding laughing box, and, sometimes, he even did what his kids wanted to do.
He worked as a letter carrier for the U.S. Post Office, first in Navy Heights, Groton, and later in New London. He also worked as a courier for the Connecticut Bank and Trust and the ABC Photo Processing Lab in Mystic. The people he worked with, his friends, family, and acquaintances, liked his warm nature and sense of comedic timing.
Frank enjoyed a long retirement and visited many beautiful places in the U.S. with his wife, Eleanor, but for him there was only one beach, Napatree Point at Watch Hill, and only one garden, Harkness Park in Waterford, and only one city, New London. New London with its clashing mix of people, art, and history, he had walked, talked, coffeed, and smoked through every inch of it and had never tired of it, because like his city, Frank Bucko was "a perfect mix of imperfection."
His wife, Eleanor Bucko, survives him along with his daughters, Janice Bucko Petri of Providence, and Joan Bucko of New London; his grandsons, Colin LaBrie of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Shea Ferace of Providence; as well as his granddaughter-in-law, Gina Parisi; and his great-granddaughters, Gianna and Nora Ferace of Providence.
His son, Charles Bucko of Gloucester Mass., predeceased Frank during the blizzard of 1978.
The family will receive relatives and friends from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Home, 12 Ocean Ave., New London. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday at the funeral home. Burial will follow in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Broad St., New London.
Donations may be made to The Bulkeley Alumni Foundation, c/o Arkava Foundation, PO Box 1, New London, CT 06320.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.neilanfuneralhome.com
Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Home
12 Ocean Avenue New London, CT 06320
Published in The Day on May 15, 2013