It is with great sadness that we announce Frank J. Klecha of West Caldwell NJ, and formerly of Pequannock NJ, died Sunday March 22, 2020 at the age of 87.
Born and raised in Garfield NJ, Frank graduated from Garfield High School where he developed a lifelong love for football. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from The College of William and Mary, where he was also a college football standout. After college, Frank enlisted with the U.S. Army, answering this nation’s call to service in the Korean Conflict. While on active duty, he was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries sustained on the battlefield, the Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. He was also named Outstanding Soldier in the 34th Field Artillery Battalion of the 60th Infantry Regiment. He was deeply honored to serve his country and demonstrated a pride in America that was evident in his daily life.
After returning to civilian life, Frank held engineering and sales positions with the Okonite Cable Company, the McGraw-Edison Company and the Hayes Division of The Milton Roy Company.
In November of 1957, Frank married Theresa Stys, the love of his life. They settled in Pequannock several years later to raise their family of two sons and a daughter. While living in Pequannock, he never forgot his ties to Garfield as he was actively involved in many organizations in both towns. He was a member of the Holy Rosary Young Men’s Club of Passaic, The Chopin Singing Society of Passaic, The Garfield Elks, The Polish National Alliance of Garfield, and he was an active parishioner of Saint Stanislaus Church in Garfield and The Holy Spirit Church in Pequannock. He was named Grand Marshall of the Pulaski Day Parade. He was appointed president of the Garfield Licensed Beverage Retailers Association, and he was named Citizen of The Year in 1977 by the Pulaski Association of the Police and Fire Departments of NJ for his service and dedication to the community.
Many may fondly consider Frank’s most memorable position as proprietor of Klecha’s Tavern. Throughout his life, Frank operated Klecha’s Tavern, a family-owned bar that had been established by his parents after they immigrated to the United States in the early 1900’s. Everyone was always a friend at Klecha’s Tavern. Frank enjoyed a love of life, had an infectious laugh, an endless supply of jokes, and an inviting, outgoing personality. He will be forever remembered for all of these traits.
Most recently, as a resident of West Caldwell Care Center in West Caldwell, Frank was elected Vice President of the Resident Council numerous times and served as the facilities’ resident Greeter.
Frank was an avid outdoorsman. He truly loved to hunt and fish, and some of the happiest times of his life were teaching his wife, his children, and his grandchildren the joy of fishing. A sunny day with a good cigar, while trout fishing on the Pepacton reservoir in NY State was always a day well spent.
Frank is lovingly survived by his children, Maryann K. Gaugler and her husband, Robert; Kevin J. Klecha and his wife, Maria; and his daughter-in-law, Cathy Klecha. He has six wonderful grandchildren: Valerie, Christine, Erica, Holly, Matthew, and Sophia, and he adored each of them. Frank was predeceased by his wife Theresa, and also by his son Gary.
Due to the ongoing situation, and the restrictions placed on public gatherings, only a private viewing and burial service for immediate family members will be held. A public Memorial Mass to celebrate Franks’ wonderful life will be scheduled at a later date when the restrictions are ended.