When he was a teenager, Frank kidded Nino that his nose was so large he needed a sheet to blow it. Everyone laughed, of course, including Nino. For the past 45 years or so I would occasionally run into Frank and he would leave me with a laugh and a smile. As with so many of my youthful friends his life went one way, and mine another, but it was ever a joy for me that at times our paths would once again merge. And I was never certain if he was happier to see me or I to see him.
Our last meeting was sad, however, because it was at his funeral that once again our paths crossed. But it was here that I learned what an exceptional man he really was. I was told that people had to stand in line for some 20 or 30 minutes just to pass his casket at the funeral home where he was waked. His funeral Mass at Our Lady of Grace in Fairview had more than 300 people on a Saturday morning, and the mix was astonishing for it had teenagers, seniors, middling, male, female, black, white, rich, poor and anyone else who might qualify as a member of the human race.
The breadth of his influence captured me. For here was a regular man, an elected councilman admittedly, but whose influence rivaled royalty for it reached into the hearts of other human beings. Never have I witnessed tears from such a broad representation of people. At times we were alone with our own thoughts, and through the music and the prayers we also joined in the common knowledge of Frank Biasco.The speaker who presenteed the euology did so “without notes” because he wanted a representation of Frank to be from his heart. He trusted his heart to speak the truth of Frank because he recognized him as a member of the Heart Club. He went so far as to suggest Frank even treated his political adversaries in friendly fashion. Perhaps he was always confident and certain of his many, many victories.
But Frank was not a man of victories for prizes never changed him. And yet he had many trophies. He was a exceptional football player and bad basketball player, but recognized by his almamater, Emerson High School in Union City as a Hall of Famer.
In some ways I guess I consider myself privileged to have counted Frank as one of my life- long friends. With or without his success, it wouldn’t have changed anything. But it was sure great knowing someone who turned so many people on to this heart thing. He had a way of telling us a funny story, bringing a smile to our faces and putting a worry on a back burner for awhile. He was the type of man who showed us how the world could be and what John Lennon had in mind when he wrote “Imagine.” For Frank may have been a dreamer, but he was not the only one. He showed us what was possible. He did it as a youth, and he did it in his death. I always knew him as a generous spirit, and the world is less because of his passing. Good luck, Frank.