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January of 2020 marks the first month of our Veterans Flag Raising Memorial Program. Each month, Sharp Funeral Homes will honor the life and memory of a veteran by raising the flag at one of our chapels in their memory. Each of our four chapels will display a framed biography of the veteran for the entire month, and the family of the veteran will receive a certificate of participation.
For the month of January, Sharp Funeral Homes is proud to honor the life and service of Frank Joseph Rehanek. Today we raised the flag at our Miller Road Chapel in honor of his service to our country. Frank Rehanek served in the U.S. Army from Oct. 13, 1952 – September 29, 1954. The following biography, written by Patsy Rehanek, wife of Frank, tells the story of his life and military service.
Sharp Funeral Homes is deeply grateful for our country’s veterans who have served and sacrificed for our country. To honor your veteran loved one through this program, please visit our website page for more information https://bit.ly/39Lh5GY or contact Jay Coldwell, our Community Outreach Coordinator at (810) 735-7833.
Frank Joseph Rehanek
August 1, 1927 - January 16, 2018
“Frank Joseph Rehanek was born in Lennon, Michigan on August 1, 1927. His parents came from Czechoslovakia and lived in New York City for a short time before coming to Swartz Creek where he was raised. Czech was spoken mostly at home, but he quickly learned English after starting school. He completed all of his schooling at Swartz Creek Schools.
“After graduating from high school, he went to work for Chevrolet for two years. He used that money to further his education at Michigan State University. He graduated from Michigan State University in 1952 with majors in both math and science education. Science was his love.
“Shortly after graduating from MSU, he received his letter to report to the Army on October 13, 1952. After basic training, he found himself in Korea at the Yangju Valley. He was placed in the artillery, but because of a hearing deficit, he could not hear the codes to call them. By the way, when he had his initial military medical exam he was asked if he had any medical issues that might cause a problem for him. He told them about his hearing loss. The response was “claims hearing loss” on his examination paperwork. So, his next job was radio maintenance. He remained with his same unit. They did utilize his skills as a teacher and set up a school for him to work with soldiers who could not read or write. He enjoyed that job! His service time ended September 29, 1954. He received the United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Ribbon, and Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.
“After he returned home, he registered his teaching certificate at the Genesee County Office of Education. Daisy Howard was Superintendent of Education and was very happy to see him because there was a teacher shortage. She sent him to Atherton School for an interview and he began teaching the next day. He spent four years at Atherton before moving to Swartz Creek, where he taught at Mary Crapo and later became principal at Syring Elementary.
“We were married while Frank was at Syring. So often when we went out to eat or grocery shopping, former students and parents would stop us to talk about their memories of Frank. There was always so much love and praise for him. Frank was 41 and I was 32 when were married so I missed his army life and the early part of his teaching career, but I did learn about them because he shared so much.
“We had a wonderful daughter and we enjoyed raising her. When she married we gained a wonderful son-in-law. Now we have two beautiful granddaughters ages 16 and 13. Those girls idolized Frank and Frank idolized them. Both granddaughters have written about Frank on Veteran’s Day. Our older granddaughter had an assignment to write about a family member who had been in the military service. Of course, she chose her Grandpa (Papa). Our younger granddaughter interviewed her Papa to learn what it was like when he was her age. He was a wonderful storyteller and he touched and enriched the lives of his grandchildren.
“I think if Frank were here to add one more statement about his army life, he would add that he was happy to have had the experience of serving his country. He wished that all young men would have the chance to serve in the military. He believed you matured out of necessity. He also said you bonded with other soldiers and they became your brothers. You were responsible for them and they for you. You were learning what responsibility was all about. I remember him telling me a story about a time, after being home from the Army, he went to a wedding reception. He ended up leaving early because he could not stop thinking that he should still be in Korea serving next to his fellow soldiers. The feeling of responsibility and brotherhood was part of you as a soldier.”
-Biography written by Patsy Rehanek