Sakschek, Frank "Opa" J.
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Frank (Franz) Sakschek passed away on July 20th -just shy of his 90th birthday. The family extends their gratitude to the Parkview Health Center staff for the support and accommodations during their short rally with him there. Franz was of German descent and was born in Croatia, the son of Johann and Theresa (Leimbeck) Sakschek. His family relocated to Austria to avoid conflict with Serbia. At the age of 17 he joined the German Army and was sent to Finland to fight against Russia in extremely cold and harsh conditions. Franz witnessed many dreadful, front-line experiences, and was severely injured by a tank shell. With 18 wounds and three missing toes, he was told that he would never walk. However, after spending over a year with intense rehabilitation in a German hospital, he returned to service. His injuries were bothersome for the rest of his life. He was later captured by the Allied Forces and spent the last months of the War in an American Prisoner of War Camp in Germany. When the war ended, Franz's parents attempted to travel back to their home. Franz too began his journey home but learned that his parents were seized and left outdoors to starve in a Serbian concentration camp. He carried this tremendous grief throughout his life and rarely discussed it. Franz met Josefine Angerer while living in Austria where they were married in 1946. Together they enjoyed the beauty of the Austrian outdoors, the Alps, and glaciers. In search of prosperity, they left everything they owned, and everyone they knew, and relocated with their 6-month old child to the United States in 1952—settling in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. There he and his wife Josie attended night school to better learn the English language and both became U.S. Citizens. Through schooling and war experiences, Franz was very educated. His knowledge of geography and world affairs impressed everyone. He learned to speak various dialects of German, Yugoslavian, Portuguese, Hungarian, and English. On several occasions he was asked to publically speak about the war effort and his experiences—he was a gifted historian. He was also very creative and talented with his hands, and built his home where he would raise his family and live out his life. Franz illustrated his heritage in the many crafts, kites, toys, birdhouses and such that he built with intricate detail. His yard was a manicured wonder-world of gardens and fruit trees for everyone's pleasure to see. In 2008, he received the Garden Club's Garden of the Month award.
As a devoted father to three boys, he fostered their upbringing by combining his outdoor, military, and survival experiences and becoming a distinctive leader of the Boy Scouts of America. Across 25 years of voluntary work, Franz made several trips to National Scouting Jamborees; he earned the Order of The Arrow, Wood Badge, and was awarded the "Silver Beaver" - the highest possible award for a Scout Leader. His leadership impacted hundreds—perhaps thousands of scouts and parents.
In early years in the states, Franz enjoyed playing soccer with fellow Europeans in a local amateur league. Franz was a member of the Kiwanis Club in Oshkosh. He bonded and cherished the kindness from faithful friends, golfing buddies, bowling partners, and pool table companions/rivals. As an outdoorsman, he loved fishing, turkey hunting, and deer hunting with his sons and grandchildren. A fishing trophy in his name is in the Oshkosh Museum. He was extremely generous with his cooking, baking, and garden fruits and vegetables. Franz was especially fond of his neighbors, and colleagues at the Oshkosh Senior Center.
Franz retired as an Inspector from Leach Company in 1985 after 28 years of service of which he was proud to cite that he never called in sick. He was a faithful member of St. John's Catholic Church where he always sat in the second pew. Franz was preceded in death by his wife Josefine on June 29, 2004. He was also preceded in death by his parents, and his sister Annika.
Survivors include his three sons, Helmut (Shirley) of Neenah, Karl (Collette) of Prescott, and John (Kathy) of Oshkosh. Grandchildren Tanya, Ben, Andrew, Miranda, and Franki. Great Grandchildren Wyatt, and Pierce. Also survived is his good friend Mary with whom he enjoyed dancing and companionship.
Visitation for Franz will be held on Friday, July 26th at St. Jude the Apostle Parish-St. Vincent Church (216 W South Park Ave) from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. A funeral service will be held at 12:00 pm with a luncheon immediately following the service at St. Jude the Apostle.
Published in Oshkosh Northwestern from July 24 to July 26, 2013