The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

May 10, 2013

A Don McCormack column: Another good guy will be missed

For the Star Beacon

Paying a visit to the variety store...

Tough loss

Yours truly was saddened to hear of the passing of Frank Miklacic a week ago today at age 68.

Anyone who has ever been to Jefferson Lanes in the past three and a half decades knows who Frank was... you couldn’t help it. He was ever-present, along with his engaging personality and friendly smile.

Small communities are full of wonderful, generous people such as Frank. He was a big man, with an even bigger heart.

Name the organization, name the fundraiser, and Frank was always one of the go-to guys in terms of being hit up. Sure, it was a “donation,” but you can bet Frank spent a tone of money on candy bars, Girl Scout cookies, etc. that he would end up giving away.

I can remember as a kid, a bunch of us went bowling one night because in that era, Jefferson Lanes was pretty much the only place a kid could go at night to hang out. And, as I was want to do, it didn’t take long before I was up to something.

Sticking a tack on a piece of gum, then putting it in the thumb hole of a buddy provoked a humorous reaction, and didn’t get me in any trouble.

But when another pal released a shot down a lane and I hit the reset button, well, that wasn’t taken too well, and understandably so. As the ball rolled toward the pins, the gate came down... and the ball went right through the gate, splitting it in half.


It didn’t take long for Frank to head down to the by-the-wall lane. Apparently, for some reason, he was keeping an eye on us. So when he saw the ball split the gate in half, he marched right over.

He took my arm, not forcefully, but firm, and said, “grab your coat, Don. Time to go.”

He walked me to the front door and said, “now go home. You may think that was funny, but I don’t appreciate it.”

As I hung my head in shame and headed for the parking lot, I heard his voice from behind me.

“See you tomorrow, Don,” Frank hollered, then smiled and waved.

And I did... and he welcomed me with a hug.

That was Frank Miklacic, in a nutshell. A big guy, with a kind, generous and forgiving soul.

Communities, and their citizens, don’t replace people like him... it’s not possible.

All we can do is remember their wonderful dispositions and honor them by trying to treat people as they did.

Sincere condolences to Frank’s wife of 44 years, Joan, his five grandchildren and the rest of his family.

He won’t be missed... he is, already.

Well done!

Congratulations go out to Pymatuning Valley senior Grant Nowakowski.

The Laker multisport start was honored recently as a Scholar-Athlete award recipient at the 25th annual Northeastern Ohio Chapter of the National Football Foundation awards banquet in Westlake.

Nominated by his football coach, Neal Croston, the son of Andy and Melody Nowakowski was one of 29 student-athletes from a 15-county region. He carries a 3.9 grade-point average, is student council president and a member of the National Honor Society.

A three-year letterman in football, Nowakowski shares the Ohio state record by hauling in a 99-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tim Cross last season.

He will be attending the University of Akron, majoring in accounting, with plans to join the FBI to work in forensic accounting.


Kudos to Jim Sanchez, longtime boys track at Edgewood High School.

Now in his 15th season at the helm, the Ohio State University graduate earned the 100th victory of his successful tenure last week.

A social-studies teacher at Edgewood, Sanchez, entered this season with a career record of 89-18.

He is assisted this spring by Joe Gerics and Paul Blum.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at