Steve Frangos died May 24, 2022 in the Ocala Hospital after suffering a stroke the day before. It was a peaceful passing with his loving wife and daughters at his side.
Steve was born in Martin’s Ferry, Ohio to John and Virginia Frangos, who were both immigrants from the village of Kardamyla on the island of Chios in Greece. He was an energetic, gregarious, curious and intellectual child and would go on to excel in all areas of his life. As a first generation American, Steve was extremely patriotic, proud and grateful for all the opportunities that his country and long life gifted him.
He spent his happy childhood helping his father in their restaurant, Tasty Lunch, in Uniontown, PA. He and his brother and sister tended to their family’s large garden and were very close. His academic success at Uniontown High School earned him an ROTC scholarship to Carnegie Institute of Technology (Carnegie Mellon University) where he majored in chemical engineering and met the love of his life, Kathy Duffy. He also was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, where he perfected the art of making and keeping friends.
In 1957, after college, he accepted a job with Eastman Kodak in Rochester, NY. Prior to beginning that job, he served two years for the US Army as a lieutenant in South Korea from 1957-1959, where he survived three different plane crashes. Immediately upon his return to the United States, he married Kathy in August, 1959.
It was during his thirty-plus years with Kodak that Steve had one of his most memorable assignments – overseeing the Special Applications Film Department developing film that originated from our nation’s spy satellites from 1964-72. He was immensely proud of this complicated, intricate and important work that contributed to ending the Cold War. He could only talk about this assignment after it was recently declassified; Steve enthusiastically presented on this topic for The Villages’ Science and Technology Club a few years ago. It can be found on You Tube and you can read more about it in Steve’s memoirs: “Lincoln Street to The Villages”.
Steve’s last assignment with Kodak was the managing director of the black and white film division, as told in his book “Team Zebra: How 1500 Partners Revitalized Eastman Kodak’s Black and White Film-Making Flow”. It was during this time that he led his team into a successful operation where all the employees felt empowered and valued. Prior to his involvement, the black and white film division was on the brink of ceasing to exist. On special occasions, he was known to wear zebra themed clothes as the head cheerleader for the project.
Upon early retirement from Kodak in November of 1991, he launched a public speaking and consulting service that helped many organizations adopt and implement his successful empowerment strategies for employees. It was during this time he was able to use his infectious positive attitude and engaging communication style to share his knowledge and become a beloved mentor to so many.
While he was a respected expert in leading large teams to positive outcomes, perhaps his biggest legacy are the hundreds of friendships and connections he maintained throughout his life. This was his secret sauce – staying in touch with everyone from kindergarten to his professional life to all his relatives to the more recent friends made on the many golf outings in The Villages, Florida. He was an avid emailer, texter and still loved old fashioned phone calls and snail mail. To keep up with his grandkids, he had an Instagram @villagersteve. Steve was cool!
Steve moved to The Villages in 2006, with Kathy leading the charge, and increased his vehicle fleet by two. He gladly embraced the golf cart lifestyle of zipping here and there, all in the name of golf! He loved to watch golf, but probably loved to play it the most. He played every hole in The Villages, the highlights were two Eagles in early 2012, both on hole number three at the Bonifay Country Club, Fort Walton Course. He was more excited about this than his hole in one on the par three course, Latta Lea, in Greece, New York in the late 1970s.
Anyone who spent time with Steve also knew that he was a fanatic about other sports, as well. His favorite team was the Pittsburgh Steelers, although the Duke NCAA basketball team was a close second. He could recite the 1970s Steel Curtain, as well as tons of other Steelers trivia, and during games was known to throw his black and gold dammit doll at the flat screen every time his beloved team lost a fumble or threw an interception. He was also very passionate about sports statistics because Steve knew that the details matter.
Steve was known fondly within his family as the Greek Pancake guy. He loved to make these delectable treats for his daughters and grandchildren, with the recipe passed down from his Greek mother. Other than that, Steve didn’t have too many culinary skills beyond finding the sweets. It should be noted that he was “allowed” to BBQ at the grill,which was coincidentally many steps away from Kathy’s kitchen.
Steve loved to travel and made it to each continent with his adventurous wife Kathy by his side. There are thousands of photos taken by Steve that document each trip. He’s only in a few of them – the rare occasions that he would let his beloved camera out of his hands. He loved learning about the history of each location they visited. Some highlights include the the Catacombs of Turkey, Antarctica, and Alaska. He was a lifelong learner, so these trips helped fill his natural curiosity to want to understand the why. He did this by using his stellar listening skills, and then would repeat the information he learned with incredible attention to detail.
Within the US, he made it to every state except North Dakota. In his incomplete bucket list, his family plans to spread some of his ashes there in the near future.
Days before his passing he was helping to plan a Korean Veterans Peace Medal ceremony at the American Legion in the Villages. Steve worked on this event as a board member of the local Korean Veterans Association. Until his last minutes on earth, he was contributing to something bigger than himself, and connecting with those he respected and admired.
His playful humor was often heard by his loved ones: ‘I’d like to make an English Muffin!” instead of making a ‘toast’, and on his T-shirts – “I’m not scared of you…I have three daughters!” Steve will be remembered by all who knew him as one of the most friendly, considerate, loving, kind and supportive humans known to mankind who loved his family fiercely.
Steve is survived by his wife Kathleen Frangos of The Villages, FL; his eldest daughter Jennifer Frangos Brooks (grandsons Stephen and Matthew) of Webster, NY; his second daughter Carol Frangos Johnson (husband Thomas and grandchildren Anabel, Tess, Tommy) of Vail, CO; his youngest daughter Stephanie Frangos (husband Sanford Cote and granddaughter Drew Frangos Cote) of Lafayette, CO; his sister Betty Frangos Rohlf of Uniontown, PA; his brother George Frangos of Uniontown, PA; sister-in-law Patricia Duffy Murphy of Rio Grande, New Jersey; and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his father John Frangos and mother Virginia Pagonis Frangos both of Uniontown, PA. and his granddaughter, Samantha Brooks, of Red Creek, NY.
In lieu of traditional remembrances, the family asks that you make a donation to any veterans organization of your choice. Steve will be interred later this summer at the National Cemetery at Bushnell near The Villages followed by a private celebration of life.
From his alpha to his omega, God rest Steve’s soul. It’s a quieter day for sure, but as Steve would always say in his sing-songy voice – “it’s a beautiful day in The Villages!”