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

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


Condolence & Memory Journal

I am so very sorry for your profound loss. I am the Director of Spiritual Care for University Hospital: Cleveland Medical Center. Please know you are all in my thoughts and prayers. May you find comfort and peace.

Posted by Rev Elizabeth Hewett    September 10, 2021

Frank was a wonderful colleague during my time with him at Kaiser and a calming presence in every situation. His gentle manner and sense of humor were a gift ,and I am so saddened that he has left us. My deepest condolences.
Jane Black

Posted by Jane Black - Work   July 01, 2021

Dear Family of Dr. Opaskar, I was so sad to hear. Dr. Opaskar was my son´s doctor from his birth in `88 up until his teenage years. We loved him so much!! I wished I could have told him my son turned out to
be a Marine!! So very passionate, caring & loving!!
I will treasure his memory forever. May you find comfort in your precious memories. Love & hugs.

Posted by Reba F. Clardy - Friend   July 01, 2021

Dr. Amanda and Mrs. Opaskar, I am so sorry for your loss. I know we haven't spoken in ages, but know that I am thinking of you and am here for you.

Posted by Lisa Margevicius Wapperer - Other   July 01, 2021

My condolences to the entire family. Alice, planning to attend on Fri. See you then.

Posted by Karen Horton Loughridge - Friend   July 01, 2021

Thinking of you at this sad time. Very sorry for your loss. Love to you and Amanda.

Posted by Sandra Wager (Marie´s friend) - Friend   July 01, 2021

Gail, we met at the Dartmouth '66 gathering that took place at the Hollywood Casino here in Toledo, in early 2020. Like a number of the condolence contributors on this page, my connection with Frank was Dartmouth Lightweight Crew...which demands a toughness that people don't always see in the kind hearted people they know who've done that sport. My brother, John, was a class mate of Frank's and a fellow Dartmouth lightweight oarsman. I lost him to pancreatic cancer back in 2019. At his funeral service the eulogies were all about what a kind, loving, genteel person he was: all true. But it fell to me to talk about what a lion heart we was in an eight oared shell. I was the only one there who'd seen that side of him. I'm guessing Frank had that kind of heart as well...and that maybe he and John have found each other in the heavenly regions, and gotten out on some water in a "pair without cox." What a sweet thought that is for me.

God bless you, Gail, and your whole family, as you navigate this tragic loss. We're thinking of you and praying for you.

Posted by Bryce Harbaugh - Toledo, OH - Friend   July 01, 2021

Dear Dear Dr. Amanda and Mom -

You had just been sharing stories recently during my appointment. Having the pleasure of knowing you from Holy Spirit PSR and now in a professional role, I shared your loss as soon as it was in the news. My deepest sympathies to both of you. Cherish your memories.

Posted by Dolores Keberle    June 30, 2021

He was a well-loved member of the Kaiser Pediatric team, always kind, thoughtful, and soft-spoken.

Posted by Joan Delahay - Beachwood, OH - Coworker   June 30, 2021

I only met Frank a few times but he was such a pleasure to meet such a gentle and sweet guy praying for the family

Posted by Lucille Burkhalter - North Olmsted - Coworker   June 30, 2021

Frank was always a pleasure to see and talk with when I would run into he and Gail and Amanda at River Oaks racket club. He made a great contribution to his community and countless families in our area. God rest his soul.

Posted by Terry Novak - Friend   June 30, 2021

I pray whatever comforts you comes swiftly and stays as long as you need. He will be missed dearly

Posted by Deb Fath - Rocky River, OH - Family   June 29, 2021

My condolences to all of the family. Many memories from my youth of the Opaskar family . Boating and family get togethers. RIP Frank Jr.
Skeet Doubrava

Posted by Skeet Doubrava - Friend   June 29, 2021

Deepest sympathy to the Opaskar family! Bill & Vivian Smith

Posted by Vivian Smith - Downers Grove, IL - Friend   June 29, 2021

Our thoughts and prayers are with you all! May our prayers bring you comfort! The Yoho family

Posted by Mark and Traci Yoho - Other   June 29, 2021

Our sincere condolences to Gail, Amanda and family. He will be missed.

Posted by John and Connie Brock - Hudson, OH - Acquaintance   June 29, 2021

Frank was a joy to row with at Dartmouth, and I am not surprised by all that he achieved the rest of his life, he always pulled his weight. He was a mighty good man.

Posted by Thornton Jordan - Columbus, GA - Classmate   June 29, 2021

Fond memories of rowing with Frank. A good soul who will be missed by all who knew him.
Best wishes for his family-Randy Wolfe D'66

Posted by Douglas Wolfe - Sonoma, CA - Classmate   June 28, 2021

To the Family and Loved Ones of Dr. Frank Opaskar:
I was heartbroken to hear of his passing. He became my children's pediatrician with the birth of my son in 1984. What a wonderful pediatrician he was. I could always count on him and trust him with the heath care of my children. My prayers are with all of you. May God comfort you as only He can and bring you Peace.

Posted by Caryn Easter Pierce - Cleveland, OH - acquaintance   June 28, 2021

To the Family and Loved Ones of Dr. Frank Opaskar:
I was heartbroken to hear of his passing. He became my children's pediatrician with the birth of my son in 1984. What a wonderful pediatrician he was. I could always count on him and trust him with the heath care of my children. My prayers are with all of you. May God comfort you as only He can and bring you Peace.

Posted by Caryn Easter Pierce - Cleveland, OH - Acquaintance   June 28, 2021

Family Album

Community Photos

Frank on Dartmouth Lightweight Crew