Frank Messina


Frank Messina, 89, passed away peacefully at his home on October 17, 2019. Frank was raised in Brooklyn, New York, the youngest of the ten children of Bartolomeo and Margherita (née LaMonica) Messina.

Frank worked with his brothers in family businesses throughout his youth. While on his first trip to the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, he met a young woman, Clara Kowalkowski of Trenton, New Jersey, who was also on her first trip to the mountains. While neither returned to see those mountains again, Frank and Clara did fall in love and eventually married in 1958. Over time, the couple welcomed four children into their home.

Frank joined the New York National Guard at the age of 18.  In 1962, he transferred into the Army, where he became a paratrooper. Later, he was accepted into The “Green Berets,” with the 11th Special Forces Group. Frank’s achievements were countless: He trained with the Navy Seals in underwater demolitions, with Canadian Paratroopers (from whom he earned his Canadian Jump Wings), and with the German ski patrol in winter combat operations.  Frank performed over 369 parachute jumps, including HALO jumps requiring oxygen. While in Germany, he performed joint Cold War operations with the 10th Special Forces Group and received a coveted challenge coin from them.  He completed his high school and college degrees while serving in the military, and he retired as Captain after 29 years of service.

After serving as a supervisor for Sears, Roebuck & Company in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Frank retired to pursue a number of his personal interests. His interest in woodworking led him to become an accomplished craftsman who created many furniture masterpieces treasured by both family and friends. A fan of the classic westerns, Frank enjoyed participating in cowboy action shooting events throughout the East Coast for more than 25 years. Frank was honored this year as a founding member of New Jersey’s “Jackson Hole Gang” more than 20 years ago. Known by the nickname “Wrong Arm,” he became a staple the group and a bit of a legend, traveling on a number of shoots and events.  A Don Carlos #3 and some Tullamore Dew shared with his gang of brothers, or time in his son’s cabin with the guys, was time well spent for Frank.

Frank is survived by his wife of 61 years, Clara; children Donna (Lawrence) Henry of Horsham, Bart (Kristin) of Harleysville, Frank (Andreas) of San Francisco, and, John of Akron; granddaughters Megan (John) Drozdowski of Philadelphia and Madison Messina of Harleysville; great-grandson John Drozdowski, Jr.;  dear friends and brothers David Healy, John Holcombe, and Walter Allen; along with many nieces, nephews and cousins. He took tremendous pride in the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren, and his friends kindly tolerated his boasting.

A good meal, a glass of wine, and a cigar served Frank well and were particularly enjoyed when he was surrounded by friends and family. He would wish others to remember those times well and to enjoy the same on his behalf.

A funeral is scheduled for Wednesday, October 23 at 10:00 a.m. at  Washington Crossing National Cemetery 830 Highland Rd, Newtown, PA 18940. Please arrive by 9:45 AM. A reception to follow at Villa Barola,1373 Easton Road, Warrington, PA 18969.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to CHA Foundation C/o Holisticare Hospice ,685 Kromer Ave., Berwyn PA19312.

The family also would like to thank Chelsea at Holisticare, as well as Maia, Ekatarine and CiCi for their efforts, care, and dedication to Frank and to his wife and family.