Frank Penar

October 4, 1921 - September 25, 2017
Vicksburg, MI



Thursday, September 28, 2017
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
Vicksburg Location
409 South Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
(269) 649-1697

Rosary Thursday at 5pm

Driving Directions


Friday, September 29, 2017
10:30 AM to 11:30 AM EDT
St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church
5855 East W Ave
Vicksburg, MI 49097


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Centrica Care Navigators
7100 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 345-0273
Driving Directions
Web Site

St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church
5855 East W Ave
Vicksburg, MI 49097


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Heirloom Rose
407 S. Grand St.
Schoolcraft, MI 49087
(269) 679-3010
Driving Directions
Web Site

Polderman's Florist & Garden Center
8710 Portage Road
Portage, MI 49002
(269) 327-3656
Driving Directions

Life Story / Obituary


Frank Penar lived a full life. He was a remarkable husband, a supportive father and grandfather, and a loyal friend to so many. Fishing was his favorite pastime over the years where he could escape the demands of everyday living and the toils of the times. He treasured the time he spent with family and looked forward to special gatherings over the years. Frank was an honest and hardworking man who wanted nothing more than the very best for his children. His strong work ethic and incredible skills at carpentry will long be revered by his loving family.

Reflecting on the 1920’s, it was a period of sustained economic prosperity with a distinctive cultural edge. Radio stations were growing in operation throughout the US, the media was focused on jazz music and celebrities, and at the brink of what would be known as the Roaring Twenties, Vincent and Anna (Turek) Penar welcomed home their newborn son, Frank, on October 4, 1921, in Vicksburg, Michigan. Born to Polish immigrants, his birth brought great joy into their hearts. The fourth child of fifth children, he respected the importance of valuable family relationships from a young age. His older brothers, William and Stanley, and younger sister, Bernice, shared many happy memories together during their formative years. Vincent and Anna did have a infant child that passed away that was their first born, Josephine.

Frank attended local schools and graduated with the Class of 1940 from Vicksburg High School. Soon after graduation, Frank went to work for Lee Paper Company following in the footsteps of his father. He worked there until 1949 while also serving in the United States Army Air Corp during World War II as a 1st Lieutenant and B-29 Bomber pilot. After three years of proudly serving his country, Frank enrolled at Western Michigan University pursuing a certificate in refrigeration and air conditioning. His strong work ethic and exceptional people skills landed him a position with the Upjohn Company in 1950. Prior to arriving at his success with Upjohn, he met Nancy Weaver at a local dance in Kalamazoo. The two of them hit it off and joined in marriage in 1948. Together they had seven wonderful children. A talented carpenter, Frank built the home they lived in from the concrete blocks to the structure.

Frank was a wonderful and supportive father who wore many hats during those years. He actively served on the Vicksburg Village Council for six years. Serving as the President pro-tem for two years before finishing his term in 1972. Well respected for his building knowledge and expertise, he held the position of inspector for the village between 1961 and 1971. Never one to settle for less than his best, he held a perfect attendance record with the Vicksburg Lions Club for fifteen years and was President in 1965. By 1975, his twenty-seven-year marriage with Nancy had ended. He continued to climb the career ladder with Upjohn being awarded a supervisor position there before retiring in 1983.

Prior to his retirement, he met Emily Smoker through his sister, Bernice. The two of them shared many special memories over the years. They traveled to Poland to see the location of his ancestors and enjoyed their time immensely. Frank held many special interests. During his younger years, he loved to fish and spent many trips to Minnesota fly fishing with his own flies that he tied himself. He found great solace whenever he was near the water. He was also very skilled in the kitchen where he loved to try out Polish recipes as well as cook fish. Frank loved to listen to Polka music and was known to be a fan of the Lawrence Welk show. He loved to be around people and most of the time he felt right at home playing cards, especially Cribbage.

Frank was a selfless person who would anything to help out anyone in need. He loved to pitch in on building projects or offer his advice on a home repair. A perfectionist to some degree as well as resourceful, he never got rid of a single screw or nail as he knew at some point he might need it! Described as caring, faithful, and strong-willed, Frank leaves behind a rich collection of wonderful memories for his loved ones to cherish.

Frank J. Penar, of Vicksburg, passed away on Monday, September 25, 2017, at the age of 95. Frank is preceded in death by his wives: Nancy and Emily; his daughter Suzanne and two brothers, William and Stanley and one sister Josephine. He is survived by his children: Kathy (Darius) Ruen, of ID; Janet Mohney, of Portage; Patricia Hauke, of Portage; Thomas (Jorene) Penar, of Plainwell; Joseph (Nathalie) Penar, of GA; and James (Rebecca) Penar, of Schoolcraft; and five stepchildren: Jack Smoker, of Jackson; Ken Smoker, of Coldwater; Vickie Rynbrandt, of Middleville; Gene (Betty) Smoker, of Burr Oak; David Smoker, of Coldwater. He is also survived by numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, his sister Bernice (Chet) Dobrowolski, of Three Rivers. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday at 10:30 am at the St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church. The family will receive friends on Thursday from 4 to 7 pm at the Life Story Funeral Home, 409 S. Main, Vicksburg. A rosary service will be held on Thursday at 5pm. Burial will take place at Vicksburg Cemetery. Please visit Frank’s web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you sign the guestbook, share a memory and/or photo. Those who wish, may make contributions to the Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan and/or St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church.