IN LOVING MEMORY

<< (Back) In Memory of Frank

A View from The Middle

TIM JOHNSON

He Led with A Smile

The first time I met Frank Giamartino, I'd agreed to become part of the old Green Mountain Rotisserie Baseball league. Several of us sat around the table on draft day, including this diminutive wild man who seemed obsessed with the New York Mets. He was loud, opinionated, but had a good sense of humor and was genuinely friendly.

As I got to know the man, I soon learned he, and his wife Mary, ran the local pharmacy. He was the kind of guy you could joke with, and know he always had a joke or two up his sleeve. I'd always gotten a kick out of coming into the pharmacy, and with a loud voice, asking if my drugs were ready. He'd respond in kind, and we both got a good laugh.

Frank was the kind of guy who helped those in need, and as a journalist, I got a real charge out of hearing him talk about how insurance companies, and their paperwork, made it really tough for the mom and pop pharmacy to survive. Still, if someone had no other place to turn, Frank was there.

Frank believed in his community, in downtown, and even converted a former church, to serve as the pharmacy. The community, in turn, supported him.

In recent years, I got a kick out of Frank umpiring baseball games. I don't know how he saw over the catcher's shoulder, and I thought he must have kept a small footstool around to stand on, so he could call the balls and strikes.

Frank also taught me something about tragedy. After the loss of his son, you would have expected him to be bitter, to lose some of that spark. Not him. As I recall, he told me about the need to enjoy life, of how bad things will happen, but you've got to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and lead with a smile.

He was a lot better at that than many of us.

I was stunned to hear of Frank's passing. Our community has been dealt a major blow. Still, he'd want us to smile about our memories of him, to cherish our own loved ones, and to keep enjoying the things he loved. With that in mind, I see the Mets are in first place. No doubt, Frank will be watching.

"Go Mets"