Like a shadow disappearing into sunset, Frank stepped from this life into his next journey on Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011. He is reunited with his mother, Stella (Sirakowski) and father, Frank Popowitch, his beloved Aunt Anna (Harmon), many other aunts, uncles, cousins, and Bucky, Clover, Misty, Humbug, Harley and numerous other four-legged friends.
Born in Brooklyn, NY on June 2, 1941, Frank grew up in East Meadow on Long Island. His father worked at Meadowbrook Polo Fields and Frank’s first job as a teenager was exercising the ponies, companions he enjoyed for most of his life. He spent summers as a youth upstate with his Aunt Anna and family on their farm in Dryden, nurturing his lifelong love of the land and the woods. He loved critters and often told stories about his job at a pet store, and his travels cross-country with “Mr. Hardy”, training and showing dogs. As a young man, he landed a job with Asplundh Tree Company and rose to foreman of his own tree crew.
After his marriage and the birth of his daughter, Frank decided to raise his family upstate and bought a piece of land in Halsey Valley near Spencer. Shortly thereafter, his son was born and they eventually settled on a small farm in Trumansburg where he shared his love of animals, hunting and the outdoors with children and became Troop Leader for T-burg Boy Scout Troop 13. He was proud of his troop – they camped 12 months of the year!
In the 70s, Frank briefly took a job with the DOT, then later at Buttermilk Falls State Park. He worked as a plumber, electrician, stone mason and was the first “scaler” in NYS. He continued to be a tree man, tackling any tree work that needed to be done, even though some of the trees bit back! Buttermilk was absorbed into Treman State Park, where he worked until his retirement in 2002.
Frank loved the shooting sports. He helped build the Trumansburg Rod & Gun Club and the Land of the Senecas – a black powder shooting club near Mecklenburg. He enjoyed traveling to rendezvous, living in a teepee, and was proficient in throwing the hawk and knife. An expert craftsman, Frank made blackpowder guns including several 50 caliber Hawkens and a flintlock Kentucky Rifle. He carved in wood and stone, making many treasured pieces for family and friends.
In 1980, Frank and his son moved to the woods of Hector. He loved the rural life with horses, Harleys, his dogs and hunting. Deer season was the “High Holy Days” of the year. He shared his skills and love of the sport with his children, niece and nephew and grandchildren. Friends and family from downstate gathered every year for the event. Frank had amazing stories to tell and he treasured every minute of this annual time together.
In 1994, he met his wife Jean. Together they created a little piece of heaven with a cabin, critters and gardens. They enjoyed both the rev of a Harley engine and the quiet beauty of a chickadee from the view of a treestand. Their wonderful neighbors, family and friends helped make it possible for Frank to continue to enjoy the activities he loved in spite of the health challenges that came with a life well-lived.
Frank’s love lives on in his wife, Jean Freese-Popowitch; the mother of his children, Joanne Molino (and Barry Hayes); son and daughter-in-law Frank Jr and Sigrid Popowitch; daughter and son-in-law Stephanie and David Herrick; precious grandchildren, Lauren and Michael Herrick, and Frank and Nicholas Popowitch; his sister and brother-in-law, Pauline and Kenneth Gertzen, nephew Scott Gertzen (of Pearl River, NY) and niece Alison Humenetskyj and her husband Alex (Squaw Valley, CA); numerous cousins including Liz Acurto, the Harmons – Eugene, Bennett (and Nancy), Jane and Eileen; and many dear friends, including Alice Garey, James and Michelle Edwards, Kenny and Jo-Ann Carson, Harry and Karla Ferguson, and Dan and Carol Kershner, to name a few.
The world will never be the same because of the beautiful difference one man made. Those who are gone are never really gone when we keep their love in our hearts. Frank is with us forever in the ripple on the smooth surface of the pond, the rustle of the summer leaves, and the buck grazing on the twinkling dewy grass at early morning.
Join us on Saturday, April 30th for a celebration of Frank’s life at the Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South Street in Trumansburg from 2:00-4:00pm. If you have a favorite photo or a story about Frank, please bring it to share and leave with his family to include in a Memory Book. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to Boy Scout Troop 13, c/o Matt Ness, 5174 Jacksonville Road, Trumansburg, NY 14886, or to the Tompkins County SPCA, 1640 Hanshaw Road, Ithaca, NY 14850.