When the Lord took Frank to heaven on October 15, 2019 at Vitas Hospice in Lecanto, after a lengthy illness, his wife and family were by his side. Frank was born on November 6, 1939 in Omaha, Nebraska to Dr. Frank Wais and Helen Hrbek Wais. After his father was commissioned into the Navy during WW2, the family moved and lived in many locations. They resided in Bethesda, Maryland while the Doctor was stationed at Annapolis serving as a Navy dentist, as well as engaging in tours at sea. They also had the opportunity to live in Trinidad for a time, and Long Beach, California.
Frank graduated from North Chicago High School while they were stationed at Great Lakes, Illinois. He then attended Creighton University. It was while at Great Lakes that he met his wife Mary Ellen Stark of Lake Forest, Illinois. They were married on June 18, 1960. Frank went to work for R.R. Donnelley and Sons in Chicago, the largest printing company in the world at that time. He worked on such magazines as Time, Life, Look, People, etc. He later transferred to the department that printed the Sears catalogs. It was there the men in his crew became lifelong friends and have stayed in touch all these years. He was highly regarded by all who worked with him. When Sears stopped the catalog business and his department was closed, he was forced to retire short of his pension age. After 31 years with the company, he went on to join a group of men who drove people to and from the airport and a group of women form Lake Forest into Chicago for the symphony etc. He referred to it as Driving Miss Daisy. Possibly the most famous person to ride with Frank was former vice-president Dan Quayle. He had the gift of gab and a great sense of humor, always talking about something which made him quite popular with his riders.
He was very involved with his two daughters. He was an umpire and coach for his older daughter's softball league and became involved with his second daughter by joining his wife as a co-leader for her Girl Scout troop, going on camping trips and all. The girls in the troop were so special to him, he referred to the girl scouts as his added daughters. The girls loved his support for all they did and his jolly sense of humor. Many responded to his passing on facebook with how he had impacted their lives. Frank, known to his five grandchildren as Papa, was equally involved with each one, taking his oldest granddaughter on her first plane trip to St. Louis to see the Cubs play the Cardinals, his oldest grandson to Minnesota on a fishing trip, and many other trips with everyone. Every one of his grandkids' first words entering his house was "Where's Papa?" He cared so much for every one of them, and supported them in their endeavors, spending lots of fun weekends watching softball, soccer games, gymnastic competitions, and up to near his end, baseball games. Not only was he a good talker but was always ready to listen and support. He loved to boast about various things, but never about his untiring giving to whoever had needs, especially the homeless. He was private about his ongoing generosity, buying meals, taking food to their camps, buying tents and bicycles where needed. He and another gentleman collected old bikes and took them to the Nature Coast Ministries where they were repaired and sold at their thrift store to make money to help start their free dental clinic. He was always ready to help even after he became disabled himself. He always said what he did was only between him and God. Frank especially enjoyed travel. Fun family vacations or trips to meet up with friends came often, and he explored all over. He stepped foot in 49 of our 50 states, missing only Hawaii. He also had the opportunity to visit Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, Amsterdam, Greece, Malta, Sicily, Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica. Seagull Lake and the Sea Island Lodge on the Gunflint Trail in Minnesota held a special place in his heart. The family vacationed here regularly, and many life-long friendships were formed. Frank and Mary purchased land overlooking Cupid Lake. It is there up "The Trail" he wishes his ashes to be scattered.
Preceded in death are his parents and a brother, Douglas Wais. Surviving are his wife of 59 years, Mary Ellen, three brothers, Bill Wais (Dale), Richard Wais, and Jim Wais (Alice), and sister Pat Wais Casson. Two daughters, Sheri Brabec (Frank), and Kari Jones (Matthew). Five Grandchildren Lori Brabec-Pusateri (Tom), Frank Donald Brabec, Maggie Brabec, Alyssa Jones, and Seth Jones. Donations can be made to the Nature Coast Free Dental Clinic of Citrus County.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the First United Methodist Church, 8831 W. Bradshaw Street, Homosassa Florida, on Saturday, January 4, 2020 at 2:00 in the afternoon, a reception will follow.
Published in Citrus County Chronicle on Nov. 6, 2019.