Cover photo for Frank Triska's Obituary
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Frank Triska

December 20, 1926 — December 23, 2023

Oklahoma City

Frank Triska

 

Anthony Francis (Frank) Triska, 97, of Oklahoma City, OK, passed peacefully on December 23, 2023, embraced by loved ones as his favorite classical music played softly in the background. A debilitating stroke three weeks prior led to his death. Before this, Frank led a full life while still living at his home that he built in 1966. Frank is preceded in death by his parents Anton and Clara (Imming) Triska, as well as by his two siblings and their respective spouses, Dr. Roland and Anne Triska, and Mary Ann and Albert “Al” Ehly (WWII pilot). Also predating him in death are his lifelong friend and sister-in-law: Sylvester "Tob” and Marilyn (Howes) Doebele. Frank is reunited in death with his beloved wife of 64 years, Maxine (Howes), who passed in 2015. Frank was one extraordinary man who made a difference in the lives of many. He was a man of integrity in all aspects of his life. He was a proud veteran, a dedicated employee, a devout Catholic, and a devoted family man.

 

Frank was born on December 20, 1926, in Hanover, Kansas (population <900). He witnessed more progression in this world than most. We loved listening to his memories and learning about the past and how times have changed. He told us how his father tilled the land by hand with a horse-drawn plow before tractors were commonly available. He spoke about how he and his two older siblings would race home after school to see who could lock in the best placement of one’s ear right up against the speaker to listen to the shows on the furniture-sized radio. My favorite story of Dad’s was about when it snowed in his small town and how the school playground would be snow plowed making a confined boundary around it. Then the local firemen would unleash their hoses to create an impromptu ice-skating rink. The ice would finally become frozen hard enough around midnight, and dad and his friends would not-so-patiently wait in the school’s boiler room across the street as to be the first on the ice with their skates!

 

His life radically changed when he and his classmates were gathered into the school auditorium for the announcement that America had just entered WWII. Due to the men in town leaving for war, at 16 years old, Frank became a “fireman” for the Union Pacific Railroad. His job was shoveling coal into the massive room-sized firebox. It was crucial that he monitored the temperature gauges as he controlled the 1000+ degree heat from the fire in order to prevent explosions in the steam engine of the giant locomotive. After he graduated from high school at age 17, he volunteered to serve his country with permission from his parents. He was originally scheduled to train as a plane gunner for the Air Corps, but the program was discontinued with the war waning. At that point, the military needed “boots on the ground.”

 

Frank proudly served in the U.S. Army. He sailed across the Atlantic Ocean on a Liberty ship and landed in Le Havre, France. I can still hear him mimicking the sound of the ship’s propeller when it roughly jutted out of the water from the extreme rocking of the ship due to the large swells. After arriving in Europe, he rode the train to Germany with other servicemen where he was assigned to a “tank outfit.” There, he supervised the maintenance of M24 tanks. When WWII came to an end, Frank had the privilege of being a temporary observer at the Nuremberg trials, an honor that he did not take lightly! The details he shared were always fascinating, like, how two soldiers stood at “parade rest” on either side of each war criminal, the U.S. soldiers never taking their eyes off the offenders.

 

Upon returning from the war, Frank’s life settled down. He attended Kansas State University and graduated with a degree in Business Administration. He then passed a series of exams making him a certified Associate of the Life Management Institute, something for which he took pride. After college, Frank met his future wife, Maxine, at a dance party in his hometown where neighboring small towns would join the festivities. Following a short courtship, Maxine and Frank married in 1951 and moved to Topeka, Kansas, where they resided for 10 years. There, they welcomed four children: Mark, Bruce, Renae, and Lisa – God bless our parents! Dad worked in Security Benefits while in Topeka. His career then took our family to Oklahoma City where he was employed with Standard Life and Accident Insurance Company from 1965 to 1992. He retired from Standard Life, but he was not done with work-life yet. At 62-years-old, Dad was the President of National Guarantee Insurance Company, and he moved to Arizona to fulfill this obligation. Mom stayed in OKC. This is when my father gained a new appreciation for my mother as he fended for himself with meals and laundry. Dad officially retired at age 65, and he easily took to retirement which gave him plenty of time to do the things he enjoyed most, like playing golf and spending time with his grandkids!

 

More than anything, Dad relished being a grandfather; he was known as Gramps, Gee, or Pa. His cherished grandchildren are Tallie, Addison, Tate, Hayla, Emma, and Dree. Dad was an integral part in his grandchildren’s lives. It is possible that he set a record for attending the most grade school sporting events during those years when his grandchildren were competing. He was also known to be a good-natured model for his grandchildren as they applied make-up and donned him with curlers. We will have endless gratitude for the influential role Dad played as a grandfather! Dad was also proud of his six great-grandsons: Sutton, Maren, Wint, Taye, Connelly, and Cary.

 

Other than his family, Dad valued his Catholic faith. He was a practicing member of Christ the King Parish for nearly 60 years. At a much younger age, dad volunteered as a church usher. He served faithfully for the entirety of his life, only missing Sunday Mass or Holy Days in the extent of an exigency. He never made excuses.

 

Dad was also keen on politics. With his acuity intact, he was always ready to engage in a lively conversation or debate about current events. One of Dad’s mottoes was: Democracy may not be an efficient form of government, but it’s still the best. Dad had a deep appreciation for being an American. He took his civic duties seriously, and he never missed casting his votes on Election Day.

 

Dad was a sports enthusiast, too. His favorite team was his KSU Wildcats! A satisfying day for my dad was simply spent watching games all-day-long. In addition, Dad was an avid golfer; he even made a hole-in-one once! After having open-heart surgery, Dad was back on the course within a month, and he continued playing into his 80’s. He only gave up golf to readily take care of our ailing mother. Furthermore, Dad delighted in sports so much that he often coached his children’s teams at CK School. He even volunteered as the athletic director for Christ the King School. Wow, Dad, lucky us! Your devotion and commitment to our family was boundless.

 

Dad, it is impossible to do you justice within this one writing, but please know how much you are loved and esteemed! I could go on and on about my father’s many attributes, like his endless capacity to be kind and gracious, his unlimited supply of wit and wisdom, and his steadfast strength for remaining stable and dependable - but the best thing about my dad was his understanding and compassion for those in need of some mercy. Thank God for you, Dad. You are the best, and you will be greatly missed. Go in Peace – and we won’t forget to lock the doors!

 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 12pm on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, at Christ the King Parish, 8005 Dorset Drive, OKC, 73120. Viewing for Frank is on Tuesday, January 9 from 10:00am to 6:00pm at Smith and Kernke located at 14624 N. May Ave, OKC 73134. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in the memory of Frank to Catholic Charities.

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Past Services

Viewing

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

10:00am - 6:00 pm (Central time)

May Ave - Smith & Kernke Funeral Homes & Crematory

14624 N May Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73134

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Mass

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Starts at 12:00 pm (Central time)

Christ the King Catholic Church

8005 Dorset Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73116

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