Dr. Frank Alan Opaskar

  • Born: August 20, 1944
  • Died: June 23, 2021
  • Location: Avon Lake, Ohio

Busch Funeral and Crematory Services

163 Avon Belden Road
Avon Lake, OH 44012

caring@buschcares.com
Tel. (440) 933-3202

Tribute & Message From The Family


Loving Husband, Father, Brother, Uncle, Cousin and Friend

Frank Alan Opaskar, MD, age 76, passed away on Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Born August 20, 1944, son of Frank Victor Opaskar and Alice A. Opaskar (Bradac) in Cleveland, and brother of Dr. Alice O. Martin (Opaskar).

The family moved early on to University Heights, OH, where Frank attended Gesu Elementary and Chanel High School. He was very active in the boy scouts, instilling in him a lifelong love of traveling and the outdoors. He also loved sports, playing on football and track teams in high school. He also played the flute.

The family's leisure time has always revolved around their cabin cruiser docked at CLYC, with frequent trips to Vermillion, Mentor, Put-In-Bay, Sandusky and as far as Detroit. Frank has always been very close with his sister, and their mutual deep love of boating has been a cornerstone for both of their lives. Frank also worked as a lifeguard for the City of Cleveland during summers from high school through college.

Frank attended Dartmouth College (BA 1966), majoring in Philosophy. During his local interview for Dartmouth admissions, the alumni interviewer asked, "Do you know anything about where Dartmouth is?" "Sure," said Frank, "It's in New Jersey, right?" Frank laughed and said, "I guess they thought I was kidding and let me in any anyway. At least I got the 'New' right!"

He was an avid member of the lightweight crew team. The crowds would cheer his boat on yelling, "Row Faster, Opaskar!" His connection with his crew mates persisted and attending reunions where the alumni team would suit up and row was an ongoing joy throughout his life.

Frank initially wanted to become a Crew Coach and Philosophy Professor at a small college, but his father talked him into considering medical school. He proceeded to the University of Michigan Medical School (MD 1970), including clinical work in downtown Detroit. This move began a lifelong vocation of caring for children, in both his professional and personal life.

Frank returned to Cleveland to serve his internship at Metro General Hospital, followed by a combined residency in pediatrics through Case Western University Hospital/Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and Metro General.

Upon completion of formal training and becoming Board-Certified, he was proud to be a founding Pediatrician at the McCafferty Clinic for the City of Cleveland Dept. of Health. Later, he returned to Metro General, then transitioned to Kaiser Permanente in 1984, where he worked until retiring in 2011.

Frank met Gail Soinski, a teacher and administrator in the Cleveland Metro Schools, in 1981 through a mutual friend. Although their personalities were quite different ("I was the feisty one, he was the calm one," says Gail), they realized that they shared common core values and, in fact, perfectly balanced and completed each other. Frank and Gail married in 1985.

With the passing of Frank's father in 1975, he inherited the family's boat, and then in 1988 Frank and Gail together purchased a new cabin cruiser. Frank also had a Mirror sailing dinghy that he had built by hand, and he would row Gail up and down the Chagrin River near CLYC, regaling her with tales of his experiences rowing for Dartmouth.

They lived in Gail's house in West Park until 1989, then moved to their current residence in Avon Lake, just prior to the birth of their daughter Dr. Amanda Marie Opaskar on October 18, 1989. Frank and Gail loved Avon Lake, settling into the community in Lorain County and becoming members of the local Holy Spirit Parish.

Frank was a devoted son to his mother, driving an hour each way to the east side to care for her in her advancing years. A vacancy in Avon Lake enabled her to move next door to Frank, Gail and Amanda. Not only did this facilitate more frequent care, but also meant that Frank could bring Amanda along with him to care for Grandma – a memorable bonding experience for Amanda with her dad, and also a key reason Amanda later decided to pursue medicine herself.

Frank was wonderful with children, not the least as a devoted father to Amanda. He never missed a gymnastic or swim meet or violin performance. He loved playing games with her and her friends as a child, no matter how tired he was, especially "Monster" He was proud when she beat him at Memory as a two-year-old. He and Gail did not believe in dictating behaviors to children (or anyone), preferring to give them choices and help them learn how to make their own decisions.

He was thrilled when Amanda elected to attend the University of Michigan for college, and then ecstatic when she was accepted to U of M Medical School as well. A proud highlight for him was her white coat ceremony, as she entered medical school, when he himself got to put the coat on Amanda.

When Amanda was doing clinical activity at Michigan, a doctor saw the name on her lab coat. "Are you by chance related to Frank Opaskar?" It turned out the doctor had been a medical student with Frank. He told her how they used to play basketball together – they called Frank "the Big O."

Frank and Gail loved to travel together, with their first major trip, an African safari, being a standout memory. The family skied every year in Colorado or Utah. Boating in summers remained a core family activity, as Frank and Gail passed on the love of being on the water to their daughter. Frank's and his sister's families also routinely gathered in Ann Arbor for Michigan Homecoming weekend.

He generously supported many organizations, particularly around Dartmouth, rowing, and virtually every nature and wildlife organization in existence. Frank was also a lifelong fan of science- and fantasy-fiction. He was a storyteller, loved books and visited the library weekly to keep himself and Gail well stocked.

Animals seemed to know how much he cared. He was known by the entire neighborhood for appearing each day with the family's elderly dog – "There goes Coconut, walking Frank." When the apple trees in the yard ceased producing apples that the local deer loved to eat, Frank would buy cheap apples from the store and throw them into the woods for the deer to eat. When his landscaper scolded him for throwing apples on the ground, Frank laughed, saying, "It's the woods!"

Frank was extremely kind, gentle, understanding, and considerate. He never complained or said anything that would make someone feel bad. He could not do enough for his family and friends. He made huge efforts to attend events that he knew were important to other people.

His family and friends will keep alive the memory of his wry, dry, constant sense of humor and the perpetual grin that lit up his face.

Frank is survived by his beloved wife and daughter, his sister, and many cherished nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Memorial contributions may be made to Friends of Dartmouth Rowing http://www.dartmouthrowing.org/contribute/annual-giving

Family and friends may call for visitation Thursday, July 1, 5:00-9:00pm at the Busch Funeral Home, 163 Avon-Belden Road, Avon Lake, Ohio 44012. Funeral mass will be held Friday, July 2, 10:00am at Holy Spirit Parish, 410 Lear Rd, Avon Lake, OH 44012, with interment following at St Joseph Cemetery, 32789 Detroit Rd, Avon, OH 44011.
For those who wish to attend online, please visit https://my.gather.app/remember/frank-opaskar to watch online. Live stream to begin approximately ten minutes before the start of mass.

440-933-3202 www.buschcares.com