Frank E. Ciszek, longtime resident of Grand Island and the first head custodian at Huth Road elementary School, passed away at home on Sunday, March 27, 2016, at the age of 91.
Born in Niagara Falls, Sept. 14, 1924, to Frank and Mary (Kaczor) Ciszek, he was predeceased by his wife of 54 years, Bernice (Mietlowski) Ciszek, and three brothers, Joseph, Henry and Eugene Ciszek. He is survived by his sister, Helen (Ciszek) Bogal of Niagara Falls, and his four children: Melanie (Ciszek) Magee of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Christopher J. Ciszek and Stephen F. Ciszek of Grand Island, and Ian Patrick Ciszek of Lutz, Florida, as well as his grandson Ryan S. Magee and his great-granddaughter, Caroline J. Magee, of Medway, Massachusetts. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Emily (Mietlowski) Kajfasz, and many nieces and nephews and their children.
Mr. Ciszek was a veteran of World War II, participating in the Normandy Invasion and serving in France for over two years. He married Bernice in 1948, and in 1952 they moved to the house on Grand Island where he lived the remainder of his life.
He was employed as the head custodian of Huth Road Elementary School when it opened in 1958, the first custodian for the school, working as the building was being built. As such, he was involved in all details of the building and grounds.
He planted every single tree on the school property. He maintained the school courtyard as if it was his own garden, and for the 30 years that he was head custodian, the floors gleamed and the windows sparkled.
He worked there until his retirement in 1987, but returned frequently as a classroom volunteer, often to the first-grade classrooms listening to the children read.
He was a founding member of the Grand Island Credit Union and served on its loan committee and enjoyed a number of volunteer activities as a Friend of the Grand Island Public Library and also in various roles at St. Stephen R.C. Church.
In earlier years, he was noted for raising farm animals, including goats, a cow, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks and geese, as well as growing a comprehensive vegetable garden, and was fond of reporting that everything on the dinner table, with the exception of the coffee, came from his own property.
He was also an excellent family and community historian, and could be relied upon to recall colorful details of events from long ago, both those that he personally witnessed and those that he heard about from older friends and relatives. He was a great storyteller and will be remembered for his extremely kind nature and charitable disposition, and will be greatly missed by his family and his numerous friends.
Visitation was held March 31 at the Kaiser Funeral Home. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated April 1 at St. Stephen R.C. Church. Memorials may be made to a charity of choice.