Louise (Glod) FrankolaJune 1, 1925 ~ May 11, 2017 (age 91)
Louise Glod Frankola, whose high energy and remarkable talents led to success as a nurse, artist, and mother, died May 11, 2017 in Pittsburgh at the age of 91.
Louise grew up on a dairy farm near Greensburg, Pa. with six sisters and a brother. If her father saw a child sitting, he would ask, “Are you sick?” and put her immediately to work. When her younger sisters fussed about whose turn it was to do the dishes, Louise would just do them herself.
Louise lived at a faster pace than most people, completing work tasks and creative projects with extraordinary speed. She walked three miles a day at a pace few could match until well into her eighties. Louise was one of the first in her neighborhood to take up jogging, a forty-something mother of four winding her way through the cemetery behind her home nearly every evening. For decades, she was a top bowler in her league, with a 170 average. And she was always game for a new physical challenge. In her sixties, she began practicing yoga.
Louise had always wanted to be a teacher, but her parents couldn’t afford college. She went into nursing instead, graduating from the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in Pittsburgh. Louise first worked for a doctor, and his office was where she met her husband, Walter Frankola, when he sought help for a bad cold. They married in 1951 and moved to a suburb of McKeesport, where Walter worked as a supervisor at the U.S. Steel plant. There were three children in four years, and when she was nearly forty, Louise gave birth to her fourth child.
After her youngest entered school, Louise returned to nursing. She didn’t want to leave her children home by themselves during the day, so she worked three nights a week at Homestead Hospital. After the kids were in bed, she would head off to work and return just as they were getting ready for school. She somehow managed to be both a stay-at-home mom for her children and a career woman.
Even with her double shift of raising four children and working nights, Louise found the time to take up painting – first oils, and then acrylics, focusing on landscapes and flowers. Whenever she entered a workplace competition, she always won first place. But she refused to sell her art and instead gave it away to family members. (View a sample of her art here.)
In 1976, her husband Walter died of a heart attack at the age of sixty-one. Louse was just fifty-one, and her youngest child was eleven. She continued nursing, working at Jefferson Hospital and then at several skilled care facilities. Even though Louise worked part-time, she was given positions of responsibility and often had to make life-and-death decisions as the most senior medical person on duty.
After her children left home, even painting and nursing weren’t enough to keep Louise busy. She started quilting, and could create a large, intricate quilt in a matter of weeks. In just a few years, she made one for each of her children and grandchildren. No matter what she took up – crocheting, lace-making, or knitting – she produced gorgeous pieces in an incredibly short time. She also returned to her youthful passion of dancing, enjoying both ballroom and country sessions several times a week. And she always made time to visit and care for her growing number of grandchildren, especially the three who lived in Pittsburgh.
While Louise loved nursing, she hated driving during winter storms. Icy roads finally ended a nursing career that spanned nearly half a century. At the age of sixty-nine, she retired from her job as nursing supervisor at Briarcliff Nursing Home in North Huntingdon. But it wasn’t long before she regretted her decision. She just had too much energy. Louise began volunteering at Greenock Elementary School in Elizabeth Township. Finally, she was helping children learn – fulfilling her childhood desire to teach and demonstrating her strong respect for the value of education.
In her eighties, Louise began giving up her art and crafts, her bowling league and bridge club. But she never stopped caring for others. Louise moved back to Greensburg and visited frequently with her brother and two of her sisters in the months before their deaths. She never missed sending birthday cards to every grandchild, child, and in-laws.
If Louise had a fault, it was that she was so focused on doing for others that it was hard to do things for her. She disliked receiving gifts and always wanted to pick up the check, even when her kids took her out on Mother’s Day. But she was always pleased if you gave her your time. Nothing made her happier than visiting with family and talking on the phone with her children who moved to other states.
When Louise turned ninety, family and friends invited to her celebration were asked to suggest three words that best described her. The most frequent adjectives were: caring, loving, generous, kind, artistic, intelligent, friendly, talented, and beautiful.
In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund which targets breakthrough research.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, June 24th at St. John Fisher Catholic Church, 33 Lewin Lane, Pittsburgh.
Born June 1, 1925, in Greensburg, Pa, Louise was a daughter of the late Frank and Louise Kustwan Glod. She was preceded in death by her husband, Walter A. Frankola, in 1976; three sisters, Mary Franks, Antoinette Glod, and Frances Kernicky; and a brother, John Glod.
Louise is survived by two daughters: Maureen Frankola Fisher and husband, John, of Woodland Hills, Calif.; and Karen Frankola and husband Troy Zabransky of Durham, N.C.; two sons: John Frankola and wife, Mary Ann, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Jim Frankola and wife, Pam, of Saratoga, Calif.; eight grandchildren: Kathryn Frankola, Stephen Frankola, Kevin Frankola, James Fisher, Michael Fisher, Eliza Fisher, Abby Frankola, and Sarah Frankola; and a great-grandson, Walter Welsh; and her three sisters: JoAnn Balker and husband, George, Rose Ann Purcell, and Barbara Volpe and companion, Ben Long, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Cure Alzheimer's Fund
34 Washington Street, Suite 200, Wellesley Hills MA 02481