Affectionately called “Nanu” by the youngest generations of his family tree, Frank Pintaro was the true patriarch of the family he treasured above all else. A true Italian through and through, he spent his entire life enjoying what life brought him each and every day. All who knew Frank knew that he was married to his best friend with whom he wrote an eloquent love story over more than 60 years. He leaves behind a legacy rich in integrity, dedication, and sacrificial love that will leave a deeply embedded footprint in the sands of time.
The year 1924 was a year for great celebration in the family of James and Anna Pintaro as they welcomed the birth of their son, Frank, on February 28th. Frank was born on the east side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as the fourth of five children in his family, which included two sisters and two brothers. He was born with a broken arm, although it later proved to be only his fist that was broken. Frank’s father claimed that his son would surely be a boxer one day based on the way Frank positioned his hands. The Pintaro family moved to Holmes Avenue in Cudahy in 1927. While selling newspapers when he was 13, Frank fell and was run over by a truck, breaking his leg. The following year, Frank contracted pneumonia and nearly died. He attended Lincoln Grade School and then attended Cudahy High School where he was a talented member of the school boxing team.
The Great Depression gripped our nation throughout the entire decade of the thirties leaving American families struggling just to make ends meet. After two years in high school, the need for Frank to work outweighed the need for a formal education, so he left school to find work. He worked several jobs including in a grocery store and for an automobile dealership. Frank also continued with his boxing ambitions, fighting in the armature ring until he turned professional in 1941. Whenever the family needed money, Frank would enter the ring.
On June 29, 1942, Frank secured a job that would prove to be a life-changing event. He was hired to drive a truck for the Ladish Company in Cudahy. In September of that year, two sisters came to Cudahy and began working for the same company. One of these sisters was Catherine Haney, and it didn’t take long for Frank to notice the young Catherine who worked as an inspector. What began as friendship blossomed into something much deeper. Frank was drafted into the Army in 1943 during WWII. As the saying goes, absence made their hearts grow fonder and when Frank came home on leave in late November of that year, they decided to marry. The couple traveled by train to Winona, Minnesota, to announce their wedding plans to Catherine’s family. Frank and Catherine were married on December 7, 1943, at the Buffalo County Courthouse in Alma, Wisconsin.
As a new husband, Frank returned back to his unit and was deployed to Europe. As a private first class, he worked on the wiring for telegram and telephone service. While there, he received word that Catherine gave birth to their first child, James, on October 3, 1944. Frank found his way into the boxing ring while in the Army and received a certificate of completion from the Army boxing school.
Once again a civilian, Frank returned to his position at the Ladish Company. The family of three settled into a home in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and on November 18, 1946, their family grew to be a family of four with the birth of their daughter, Annette. In 1947, daughter Esther joined their family, and with the addition of their daughter, Lisa, in 1960, the Pintaro family was complete. In order to accommodate their growing family, they moved to a home on Hickory Street in 1964, which would be Frank’s last move. He embraced his role as a father and deeply loved his family. He was a strict disciplinarian who also instilled within his children a strong work ethic by the example he set. Frank worked tirelessly in order to provide for his family, never missing a day of work even if it meant walking through a snowstorm in order to get there. His diligence at work was rewarded as he moved up the ladder there, eventually retiring as department head of maintenance in 1998 after 46 years of service.
When he had time off, Frank pursued a few interests, most of which included his family. In 1965 Frank, along with his parents and two of his siblings, purchased about 40 acres on Spirit Lake in Price County. They all worked together to build cottages, and this property became the place for countless family gatherings. Frank also enjoyed playing baseball, but especially loved fishing, usually for musky. He greatly enjoyed deer hunting, which crossed multiple generations since he often hunted with his brothers, son, nephews, and grandsons, as well as with friends, too. His retirement years provided Frank with more time to spend with the family he adored. He also had more time for fishing and hunting with the guys, traveling to Florida for deep sea fishing, and vacationing. In 1990, Frank began making wine in his basement, which had its roots deep in his ancestry. Frank enjoyed this hobby, but most of all, sharing his wine with others. He also was known for his love for both his Cadillac and his hats.
One of the things that Frank will be most cherished for was the way he had nicknames for so many of those he loved. This practice started with the birth of his first son James who became “Jimmy Boy.” Frank’s daughter Annette became “Netta,” and his daughter Esther was affectionately called “Baby Girl.” Frank proudly proclaimed with the birth of his daughter Lisa that she was his “Mona Lisa,” and his beloved wife became “Shotzie,” which in German means sweetheart. Frank affectionately pronounced it “Schottie”.
Frank Pintaro was the rock of his family, an affectionate husband, and the “greatest dad.” He worked tirelessly to provide for his family, yet he always took the time to drink in the beauty of life along the way. Frank was proud of his Italian heritage and found himself craving some type of pasta dish at least three times a week, often accompanied by one of his own wines. Whenever someone came to visit they would be greated with the words, “Sit down, mangia, mangia” meaning eat with me. His family and friends will miss him dearly, however, their hearts will forever be profoundly impacted for having been so deeply loved by such an extraordinary man. His family will forever carry on the tradition of raising their glasses before every meal and toasting, “Jend’anni”, meaning 100 years prosperity or “A ‘ saluti”.
Frank J. Pintaro of South Milwaukee, WI, died on February 25, 2010. Frank’s family includes his wife, Catherine; children, James (Mary) Pintaro, Annette (Walter) Leslie, Esther (Phillip) Vincer, Lisa (the late Wayne) Kopidlowski and Jeff (the late Sherrie) Follett. Dear brother of the late Mary (the late Joseph) Tallarico, the late August (Carmella), the late Sarah (August) Magestro and Theodore (Shannon). Further survived by 13 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law nieces, nephews other relatives and friends. Memorial Services will be held at a later date. Arrangements provided by Suminski Family Funeral Homes, 414-744-5156. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com where you can leave a memory or photo.
Please revisit Frank’s page in the next week for information regarding services or call 414-744-5156.