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With heavy hearts, we bid farewell to a remarkable human, Brian Joseph “Ski” Frankowski, age 60, of Findlay Township, Imperial, PA, who passed away on Saturday, January 6, 2024. Brian was born on September 4, 1963, in Pittsburgh, PA, cherished son to Bob and Sandy Frankowski; devoted husband of 33 years to Devin Frankowski; loving and exceptional father to Michael Frankowski; beloved brother to Tracey Frankowski and Robin Geisler and her husband, Lloyd; adored uncle to Jessica Daley and her husband, Pat (who Brian affectionately referred to as Uncle Pat), Julia Geisler, Jennifer Geisler, and Sarah Frankowski; great uncle to Rian, Aidan, and Morgan Daley.
Brian was a caring and involved father. He loved coaching Little League and standing on the sidelines for football games, and helping or fixing whatever he could, even if that just meant fixing food. His heart extended beyond his own son, embracing his son's friends and their families with the same fervor and care.
Brian’s emotional depth set him apart. He navigated life's peaks and valleys with unwavering honesty and openness, inspiring others to embrace vulnerability and form deep, authentic connections. His integrity served as a beacon, guiding others to strive for their best. A problem solver with an astute mind, he was both brilliantly smart and delightfully silly, though at times impatience could flicker in his vibrant spirit. A guy of boundless charisma, Brian was a magnet for friendships, effortlessly collecting a diverse array of companions from every corner of his life, from his childhood hubs to bar buddies and neighbors. Even at work, Brian cultivated a rich tapestry of relationships with peers, superiors, and students alike. The ability to do so spoke volumes about his ability to connect deeply with others.
Brian’s passions were as vast as his circle of friends, ranging from the raucous beats of rock ‘n roll music to camping under the stars or enjoying campfires and water fun. He enjoyed embarking on road trips, hanging out in the pits at the dirt track, and getting his hands dirty fixing cars. He spent countless hours figuring out how to fix or improve almost everything. He embraced life's adventures with unwavering enthusiasm. Brian’s garage, his sanctuary into which all were welcome, was a haven where tools mingled with memories and a machine shop boasting and equipped with every tool imaginable, and always offered a comfortable chair for a friend and a fridge stocked with beer.
When Brian wasn’t in the garage or having fun with family and friends, you could find him at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. He went to work there in 1997 as a designer fabricator for the Medical Devices Laboratory. Brian played an integral role in expanding the capabilities of the projects in which the laboratory was involved. He worked on developing medical devices for critical care medicine for patients experiencing respiratory failure. Through his work, Brian also got involved in several projects focusing on blood purification for critical care patients. Needless to say, Brian was a beloved member and larger-than-life personality in the McGowan Institute, also going out of his way to help when needed for various exhibits used in fundraising and outreach. In addition, he worked closely with individuals in the Center for Preclinical Studies to help with their fabrication and maintenance needs along the way. While running the day-to-day activities in the Medical Devices Laboratory, Brian helped supervise numerous graduate and undergraduate students. Many of these students came to love Brian and became personal friends with him and his family. Brian’s long-time involvement working in the laboratory led to over $20 million in research funding along with his co-authoring over 75 publications and working as a collaborative inventor on over 20 patents. His loss will be deeply felt as Brian is truly an irreplaceable member of the McGowan Institute, especially in the Medical Devices Laboratory.
Though he departed too soon, Ski's legacy resonates in the laughter of his friends, the fond memories shared by his family, and the lives he touched with his generous spirit. His absence leaves a void that cannot be filled, but his essence remains a guiding light for those who were fortunate enough to know and love him. Rest peacefully, dear friend. Your spirit will forever live on through the lives you've touched and the love you've shared.
Family to receive friends on Friday, January 12, 2024, from 4 pm - 8pm at the HERRICK COMPASSIONATE FUNERAL SERVICE, PC, Edward M. Herrick, Supervisor/Owner, 951 Cliff Mine Road, North Fayette Township, Imperial, PA, 724-695-7332, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, January 13, 2024, at 10:00 am at St. Philip Catholic Parish, 50 W. Crafton Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA. Everyone please meet at the church. Following the mass, all are encouraged to join the family at the SNPJ Lodge 106, 225 West Allegheny Road, Imperial, PA, for IC Light, lunch, and to share memories.