Frank Papay Jr, 92, of New Milford, NJ passed away on February 27, 2021.
Born to Slovak immigrants in Bronx, New York in 1928, Frank and his sister Gladys grew up amidst the depression that plagued the country in the 1930s. His love of military history started young as his father Frank Papay Sr was in the Austro-Hungarian Army during The Great War. Although too young to join the service during the Second World War, Frank’s extensive knowledge of the war captivated the minds of all who talked to him. He joined the National Guard in 1946 at the now defunct Kingsbridge Armory in The Bronx (the largest armory in the world) and was sent to Plattsburgh, NY for his training. His ability to speak not only English and Slovak but German as well afforded him the chance to stay stateside during the Korean War as the personal driver of the colonel. After the service, Frank attended City College where he earned his engineering degree. Fortuitous as it was, when surveying Van Cortlandt Park for a class, a car pulled up and Park Commissioner Robert Moses’ deputy commissioner started to chat with him. That was when he started his work at the New York City Parks Department. Frank grew in the ranks at the department until he became the Director of Parklands and Planning. He was integral at attaining the lands that became Jamaica Bay Park in Queens and Gateway National Park.
He met Vivian Frascello at an ice cream parlor in The Bronx while Frank was working as a soda jerk. They married at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Highbridge, Bronx, NY on February 28, 1953.
Frank, Vivian and their 1-year-old daughter Vivian moved to New Milford in 1959.
Six years later, their son David was born.
Frank retired from the New York City Parks Department in 1986 and went to work for the County of Bergen as an engineer.
He was an avid traveler, reader, and history enthusiast and put his skills to good use as the leader of Boy Scout Troop 291. He was also the president Gloria Dei Lutheran Church’s council.
Frank is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Vivian and Tom, son David, and grandchildren, Sean and Vivian Eileen.
Family and friends are invited to attend visiting hours in the funeral home on Monday from 3 pm to 6 pm. A funeral service will be offered Tuesday morning at 10 am in the Gloria Dei Evangelical Lutheran Church, New Milford. Burial to follow Brick Church Cemetery, Spring Valley, New York
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