Frank Roman Pitol

  • "Coach Pitol was my basketball coach when I was an 8th..."
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  • "Dear Stan, Scott and Susan. You and I grew up together. I..."
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  • "I knew your father from reffing Collinsville High soccer..."
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  • "I am saddened at the passing of Coach Pitol. He was a..."
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Pitol, Frank Roman was born on November 10, 1929, in Collinsville, Illinois, and died on August 22, 2009, in Collinsville, Illinois. He was a teacher for nearly 40 years, including 30 years in Collinsville as teacher, coach and athletic director. His teaching and coaching career began in 1954 at Mascoutah, Illinois, in the junior high and elementary schools. He retired from the Collinsville Unit 10 School District in 1992. From 1943-1947 Frank attended Collinsville Township High School (now Collinsville High School), where he was a talented all-around athlete, lettering in football, baseball, and basketball. At CTHS he played on some of Coach Vergil Fletcher's first Collinsville basketball teams. After graduating from CTHS, Frank attended Eastern Illinois University from 1947-1951, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and a Master of Arts degree in Secondary Education. At EIU, he excelled in athletics as a member of the football, basketball, and track teams. He was selected for two years as IIAC All-Conference in football, as guard and end. He led EIU to their 1948 IIAC Title and Corn Bowl appearances. At EIU he lettered as a center in basketball and as a discus/javelin thrower in track. He was a place winner in conference track championships. Frank was also selected to try out for the Los Angeles Rams pro football team but was simultaneously drafted into the army during the Korean war. (He often said that he chose the army because they offered him a two-year guaranteed contract.) Although he missed the opportunity with the Rams, he always served his country proudly. In later years, Frank returned to school and earned a second Master of Arts degree in Secondary School Administration from SIU-Edwardsville, Illinois. He was baptized in the United Church of Christ in Mascoutah, Illinois on December 25, 1954. Frank was a member of the Collinsville History Museum Board, and he was instrumental in the creation of the new museum building. He was a member of the American Legion Post #365 and of the Illinois Retired Teachers Association. While in Mascoutah he was a member of the Lions Club and served as their president for one year. Frank was a founder and organizer of the Holiday Basketball Tournament in Collinsville, which began in 1984. He used his gifts and insight to make the tournament one of the best in the state. Evidence of some of Frank's other talents are visible inside the Vergil Fletcher Gymnasium, wherein he built the trophy cases and the scorer's table, among other things. In addition he was instrumental in designing the CHS Athletic field, for which he also built the ticket booth. Frank was a man who was dedicated to doing everything he could to bring about the best in Collinsville Athletics. He also authored The Wonderful World of Collinsville Basketball, a complete history of CHS basketball from 1907 to 1976. He and his son Scott created and maintained the complementary website which provides history and current information about Kahok basketball. Frank received numerous awards and recognition for his dedication to high school athletics. He was named Illinois Athletic Director of the Year in 1987 and 1990. He was inducted into the Illinois Athletic Director's Association Hall of Fame in 1993. He was also inducted as a Friend into the Illinois Basketball Coaches' Hall of Fame. Frank also enjoyed the honor of being inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at Eastern Illinois University. One of Frank's favorite jobs during his retirement was working as a member of Field Security for all St. Louis Rams home football games. His position was behind the end zone in one corner of the Edward Jones Dome, where it was his responsibility to keep the fans, press, and photographers in line, although he maintained that his foremost duty was to protect the nearby Rams cheerleaders while they performed for the crowd. He often said, Everybody wants this job! Frank is survived by two sons, Stanley Pitol of Collinsville, IL, and Scott Pitol (wife Christy) of Aurora, IL; one daughter, Susan Pitol Stucco (husband Guido) of St. Louis, MO; one grandson, Aurelio Stucco; three step-grandchildren, Giuliana Stucco, Michela Stucco, and Vittorio Stucco; sister, Elsie Obernuefemann of Collinsville, IL; brother-in-law, Palmer Stanley, of Centennial Colorado; numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and the many friends, coaches and students who were touched by his life and who loved and appreciated him. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Roman and Anna Pitol (nee Bursich); his wife of 52 years, Patricia (nee Stanley); infant sister, Albina Pitol; brother-in-law, Clarence Obernuefemann; sister-in-law, Edna Stanley. Services: Visitation service will be held on Friday, August 28, 2009 from 4:00 to 8:00 pm at Herr Funeral Home in Collinsville, IL. The Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, August 29, 2009, at 11:00 at The Son-Life Church in Collinsville, IL (formerly the CHS gymnasium, in which Frank began his career in Collinsville Basketball and later served as High School Coach). Frank's daughter, Susan Pitol Stucco, will be officiating the service. Interment will be at St. John's Cemetery in Collinsville, IL, immediately following the funeral service. Memorials may be made to the Frank R. and Patricia J. Pitol Athletic and Music Scholarship Fund (in care of Herr Funeral Home) which will be awarded annually to two high school seniors who demonstrate the values and dedication to athletics and music which were so important to Frank and Pat Pitol.

Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Aug. 27, 2009
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