Frank Fotorny – a father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend to so very many passed peacefully into eternal life on November 20, 2020 at the Richard A. Anderson Veterans Home, Houston, TX. Frank was born in Endicott, NY, January 1, 1926 to Russian immigrants Ksenofont and Tatiana Fotorny, the youngest of six brothers and two sisters. Frank attended public schools in Endicott and enlisted with his brothers for two tours in World War II. Frank was a corporal in the U.S. Army Air Corps 7th Air Tactical Communications Squadron, serving as a radio operator and controller. He served bravely in the Pacific theater – Luzon Northern Solomons Southern Philippines. He was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Philippines Liberation Ribbon and World War II Victory Medal and the Airforce Meritorious Achievement Medal. Miraculously, Frank and all six brothers returned home to the states safely. Frank maintained a close kinship with his squadron and enjoyed their annual reunions across the country; hosting the group in Galveston TX in 1984.
Frank began his flying career in Longview, TX as a crop duster. The opportunities of the oil patch soon landed him in Houston where he began a career flying with Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Corporation (Transco) as a pipeline inspector. Frank flew his entire career for Transco. The planes evolved over the years as did Frank and he retired proudly in the left seat, flying their Falcon jet.
Frank met his wife Darling in his early years at Transco and he was an amazing dedicated Dad to three children: Kevin Frank, Darlyce Dawn, and Rhonda Renee. Frank was an avid outdoorsman and never missed a chance to hunt or fish. He embraced the concepts of conservation and encouraged his kids to do the same. Many long lazy days were spent together in Galveston Bay fishing and crabbing on the Bolivar Peninsula. He was a scoutmaster and never missed an opportunity to instill the tenets of the scout oath to the young men in his charge. Frank was blessed with five grandchildren and Grandpa Frank put a rod and reel in each of their hands and passed on his doctrine of conservation and preservation of species early on. He shared his skills, life lessons, humor and wisdom with each of them.
In retirement, Frank spent many splendid years flying and fishing with his good buddy and dear friend, Bud Moore. Their endless adventures were legendary – The Poco, Port O’Connor, and the Seven Passes in Mexico. Frank especially loved to hook a trout or red and started a small tackle business to produce the perfect “bucktail” to keep his stringers full. As much as he loved to be out on the water fishing, he became a Master PADI Diver, photographer and spearfishermen to get a look into their world. His dive trips throughout the Caribbean were many and again he made sure we gained an appreciation for the world down under. Frank was a life member of the Coastal Conservation Association and the National Rifle Association.
Frank never met a stranger and helped family, friends and others whenever and wherever he could. He never asked for anything in return or recognition; having satisfaction that someone was better off. As much as he loved travel and the outdoors, he was drawn to do more in his community. He became a volunteer, then substitute teacher and eventually a teacher aid in the Bryan Independent School District. He learned sign language and beginners Spanish. “Mr. Paco,” as he was known, spent several years in the special education department, the alternative school and the child development center. Frank loved these children and this special opportunity well into his eighties.
Frank was preceded in death by his parents Ksenofont and Tatiana Fotorny; brothers, Bill, Al, Harry, Leo, Sam, and John; sisters, Mildred and Sophie; wife, Darling; and son, Kevin. He is survived by daughters, Rhonda Gregg Hirsch (Steve) and Darlyce Fender (David); grandchildren: Russell Gregg II (Stacey), Rebecca Gregg Cantrell (Shane), Matthew Bennett (Samantha Robertson), Aaron Bennett (Carolyn) and Kevin Bennett; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Frank’s family wishes to extend special thanks to Anchor HOSPICE for their compassionate care of our dad.
Frank was humble, loved unconditionally, lived his life completely and fully, and left this life with a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. He was a faithful, dedicated servant of our Lord. Matthew 4:19 “Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
A memorial service celebrating Frank’s life is to be conducted Sunday, December 6th at 1:30 pm, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Galveston TX. In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions in memory of Mr. Frank Fotorny may be directed to The Galveston Bay Foundation, 1725 Highway 146, Kemah, TX 77565 or the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, 2914 Swiss Avenue, Dallas, TX 75204.
Tight lines and full stringers, Daddy!