April 26, 2011
This past week our family was drawn together to help one another grieve and celebrate the crowning achievement of complete living by our patriarch Frank Staniforth. Frank was born on September 5th, 1927 living fully for 83 years before passing today 4/26/11 from natural causes. His quick decline, this past Easter (Frank’s favorite time of year), seemed perfectly timed as we were all planning a weekend together for the holiday. Amongst the egg hunts, lamb dinner, board games, and waiting, together we remembered and discovered anew how he affected our lives.
Frank, to us, was a father of five (2 by birth), Granddad to nine, devoted husband to Joy for 26 years, and friend to anyone that could take a joke or share a pint, a scotch, or a proper cuppa tea. He was a child of the Great Depression, born between the two World Wars, and was one of the best living examples of one who understood the value of hard work and the art of the bargain, while still knowing how to appreciate life’s luxuries. Though we joked about his thrift (two words: air conditioning), we reveled in his generosity not only to his family, but to meaningful causes. Each year at Christmas Frank insisted on doing his own shopping for gifts. Whereas many a husband would expect his wife to pick out a gift from both of them, Frank would insist on us having a gift just from Frank. But if there was one thing Frank/Granddad/Dad was not generous with, it was chocolate. If you gave him a box of chocolates, he would eat it all himself, or hide it away so that we couldn’t find it!
Frank was born in Leicester, England at a very tumultuous time in history. After coming of age in the depression, he bravely lied about his age and at 16 joined the British Merchant Navy to help the Allies’ cause against the Germans. To the end of his life, Frank cherished his time with his shipmates and remained in touch with them. And from this experience, he developed a love of boating and the water that never ceased.
After the Navy, Frank made a life for himself in the shipping industry facilitating trades via importing and exporting. Still in England, Frank married and had two sons Jimmy and Richard; both of whom have grown into successful and life-loving men not unlike their dad. Frank never shied from adventure or opportunities, so when the chance presented itself, Frank emigrated with his family to the U.S. to work in the big leagues of Manhattan.
Frank came into our lives forever in the 1980’s when he pursued dating our Joy. We remember him then as the dapper (not proper!) businessman working in the World Trade Center. During that time, he took us all to NYC one day and spoiled us with lunch at Windows on the World, a Radio City Christmas show, followed by dinner at Tavern on the Greene. After the wedding, instead of sweeping just our mum off on a honeymoon, he offered to take us all to Antigua together. For most of us, this was our first experience in the islands and it was epic. Through the years, Frank would have many opportunities to travel with our mum as a couple. Together, they traversed the globe to places such as Thailand, Egypt, Mexico, cruising the Amazon, the United Kingdom via the QE2, and Guatemala.
But despite all the travels and adventures, Frank enjoyed the simplicities of life as well. He loved gatherings of family and friends, intimate moments sitting on the porch with Joy, creating his own greeting cards and hand-writing letters in his calligraphy-like print. He was energetic and creative and his renowned English gardens provided an outlet for his abundant vigor (as Joy will concur!). Frank had a way of creating a spontaneity in his gardens. Though they were meticulously cared for, a playfulness existed there that was the essence of his personality. The fishpond that he single-handedly constructed was meant for frogs, fish, rocks, lilies…..(and muddy grandkids as long as they cleaned up before coming in his house!). He built a village of bird houses all nailed to the same old tree, and a children’s playhouse was a requirement for his garden to accommodate the growing number of visiting grandchildren: Sarah, Sean, Jack, Evan, Ricky, Michael, Corinna and Daniel. Frank loved the outdoors and being on the water. Perhaps this was why he was such a fun Granddad!
Though Frank was a man of many talents, you did not want him on your team if you were playing Charades or Pictionary. We’ll just leave it at that! But Frank was a world class gardener, a war veteran, a jokester, a laborer, a businessman, a world traveler, a sailor, a devoted father, grandfather, husband, and friend. Our lives are so much richer from having loved him and we are so thankful to have been a part of his exciting world.
Instead of formal funeral services, and in keeping with Frank’s wishes, friends and family are invited to gather at their Cambridge home to celebrate his life and share memories on Thursday May 5 anytime between 4 and 8 pm.
In lieu of flowers, memorial offerings may be made in Frank’s memory to the Coastal Hospice and Palliative Care, P.O. Box 1733, Salisbury, MD 21802-1733 or for a secure on-line donation: http://www.coastalhospice.org/make-a-gift Coastal Hospice provided Frank and his family with a peaceful place for Frank to rest peacefully in the end, surrounded by loved ones and professional care.
Cremation entrusted to Mid Shore Cremation Center by Colleen Curran-Bromwell, P.A., Cambridge. To view online condolences, please visit www.curran-bromwell.com
Florists ~ please do not send any floral tributes here ... kindly send them to Joy's house.