Frank A. Pajkurich, Sr.

(Oct 3, 1922 to Apr 26, 2010)

It’s been said that you cannot cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. Frank’s voyage through life embodies this sentiment. Born in Yugoslavia, he took to the seas at age 12, when his father found him a job aboard a vessel. By WWII, the sea would lead him to the Merchant Marines. And while he was on three separate ships that were sunk, it never dulled his spirit. When given the chance to join the US Army transporting troops, he signed right up. After the war he moved to Delran, and became a dredge boat captain. With a seemingly endless supply of energy, the long days at sea were not enough to wear him out. As such, he took it upon himself to borrow the dredging equipment, and excavate the area to make Lake Lonnie and Swedes Run Lake. Likewise, he could usually be found in his garden, where his own fertilizing recipe always produced the finest tomatoes and egg plants. And everyone was invited to enjoy. His home was so filled on Christmas Eve he would usually turn the Feast of the Seven Fishes into the Feast of the 700 Fishes. rnWhile attending a dance in the late 1940s, Frank met a young woman named Aurelia (nee Mahnich). He was able to win her over with his smile, and it would not be long until their 54 year marriage would begin. Before her passing in 1999, their lives were blessed by their son Frank, Jr. (Susan) of Erial, and their grandchildren: Daniel, Frank and Stacey. He is also survived by his nephew Tony, nieces Carol and Linda, and great-nephews Alex and Alan. rnCome celebrate 87 energetic years (10/3/1922-4/26/2010) Thursday from 10 AM at the Sweeney Funeral Home, Riverside, where the service will be at 11. Interment St. Peter’s Cemetery, Riverside. In lieu of flowers memorial gifts may be made to Burlington County Veteran’s Services, PO Box 6000 Mt. Holly, NJ 08060-6000. rn

4 thoughts on “Frank A. Pajkurich, Sr.

  1. Carole Mrak Howey

    Stri? (Uncle) was one-of-a-kind. He told the best stories. At every age, I loved sitting at his kitchen table eating a bowl of his incomparable bouilliabaise, or whatever other wonderful dish he’d cooked, listening to his amazing tales. His accounts of his seafaring adventures when he was little more than a child, including his survival of shipwrecks, never ceased to fascinate me. Stories of his mother beating him when he came home from school because she thought he’d been smoking, then when he came home from the sea, buying him cigarettes because he was a sailor and all the sailors smoked and it just didn’t look right that he wasn’t smoking. (He never smoked a day in his life.)rnrnHe played, beautifully, both the accordion and buttonbox, and when I was younger I loved playing my clarinet with him while he played every song he knew (by heart), superbly. rnrnHe was joyful at his best. He loved to laugh, and he made sure he stayed in practice. In fact, it was his laugh that first attracted my aunt. They met at the Adriatic Club in Port Richmond (Philly). She and my mother were selling chances to two handsome young men recently separated from the service after WWII (one of those men later became my father!). The men invited them to sit and join them. Aunt Realie tried to play hard-to-get, but she surreptitiously kicked my mother under the table and muttered to her, “I want the little one that laughs!”rnrnUncle Frank.rnrnHe was a tough old nut, but he had a soft side. One time while I was visiting him, he invited me to come down to the lake and meet his “new friend.” He pointed to speck in the water about three-quarters of the way across the lake, and hollered in his big voice, “Hey! Dummy!” Then he whistled. Suddenly the speck rose up from the water and spread its wings, flying toward us just above the water’s surface. As it drew near, I realized it was enormous, with a wingspan of about 8 feet. Suddenly it flapped its feet on the water, slowed down and came to rest about 10 feet away from the pier. It was a magnificent white trumpeter swan. I never knew a swan would come when called. Well — it came when Uncle Frank called.rnrnI remember him clearing snow off of the ice on the lake so we could ice skate. I remember him fastening me into a life jacket so he could take me out on the lake in the rowboat. I remember him buying me Cokes at the Castle. I remember him chasing me around the back yard with a cicada, me screaming like a maniac. I remember him baiting my hook as we fished off the pier behind his house. I remember him dancing with me and showing me off to the band at Jadran when I was a young and pretty thing. I remember him inviting me to have a glass of wine at 10:30 in the morning, and accepting one so that he could enjoy one as well. I remember how happy he was when he stood as my sister’s Godfather. I remember — I remember so very many more things, small things, simple things, grand things, things he probably never gave a second thought that made deep, lasting impressions on me, things I’ll carry with me and treasure until my last breath. rnrnWhen Aunt Realie passed 11 years ago, he said to me, speaking of the afterlife, “It must be pretty good there, Sis, because nobody ever comes back.” I know they’ll have good food, good music, laughter and a lifetime of good stories now that he’s there.

  2. Tom Stypinski

    Frankie, Sorry to hear that your Dad has died. Both of our families got along so well when we lived in Cambridge.rnrnTom Stypinskirn54 Barnes Pt RdrnHarpswell, ME 04079rnrn207-729-3172

  3. Lois Cherepon

    Frankie, rnI was so sorry to hear about your Dad passing away. We loved visiting with him and he kept a watchful eye on the neighborhood, especially after Elci passed away. He was a great guy, a great gardener, and a wonderful neighbor. He loved stopping by when my sister Marie and nephew Noah and I were down for a visit to the Lake. We enjoyed the labors of his garden every summer, especially the tomatoes. He frequently talked about his neighbors and friends, Elci and Stanley, and the good times they had. We couldn’t have a better neighbor. Frank, or “Pan Frank” as we called him, was an excellent cook as well, making great soup. He told us wonderful stories of how the lake was created and of his many trips around the world as a sailor, and of Yugoslavia. He will be missed. Your Dad will be remembered fondly by all of our family. Please accept my sincere sympathy.

  4. Joe & Cathy Cherepon and Family

    Dear Frank, Sue and Family,rnrnPlease accept my condolences on the loss of your father, Frank. “Pan Frank”, as knew him for over 50 years, was a great guy, and we have many good memories of him from our visits to my Aunt Eleanor’s house next door. We will keep him in our memories and will keep you in our thoughts.rnrnJoe & Cathy and Family

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