FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DELIVERS EULOGY AT FUNERAL SERVICE FOR SANITATION WORKER FRANK JUSTICH
The following is Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s eulogy as prepared for delivery at St. Luke’s Roman Catholic Church in Queens
"Thank you, Monsignor. And good morning, everyone.
"I regret that I never got to meet Frank Justich. By all accounts, he was the kind of son, husband, father, brother, uncle, neighbor, and friend that everyone wishes for. And that many of you here today were fortunate to have.
"Frankie was also the kind of sanitation worker that all of us were lucky to have working for the good of our city. His colleagues at Queens West 1 described him as a guy who could always be counted on to do whatever was needed. He never once grumbled or complained - even on the heaviest of days. One of his supervisors said: If we had a whole force of guys like Frankie, we’d only need half the workers.
"There’s no doubt that Frankie was one of the strongest of the Strongest. His co-workers marveled at what he could accomplish in a single day. He cleaned our streets with the care that you take in your own house, with your own family. And that’s because Frankie thought of all New Yorkers as part of his extended family: If a neighborhood dog walked by - he was ready with a treat. If an elderly neighbor needed milk from the store - he’d go get it. If a young child wanted a closer look at the collection truck - Frankie would lift him up to see it.
"Many of the people who live along Frankie’s route have described the joy that they felt when they saw his infectious smile - or caught a glimpse of his trademark ponytail. And those New Yorkers who were lucky enough to bump into Frankie, while grabbing a morning coffee or walking the dog, always had a better day because of it.
"Frankie was the kind of guy who makes a city as big and bustling as New York feel like a small town. He turned our streets into neighborhoods and our neighbors into family. And when news of his passing rippled through Queens, families across the borough, and throughout the entire city, shed tears for the loss of one of their own sons.
"Frankie really took the time to see people. That’s what made him such a compassionate man - and such a talented artist. I’m told that Frankie loved to sketch and paint portraits of people he knew. And that often the portraits turned out better-looking than the real people. But I think that gives us a clue about how Frankie looked at the world. He saw the best in everyone and everything. He saw the bright spot in even the bleakest of situations.
"Frankie’s love extended far and wide, but he always saved the biggest part of his heart for the women in his life - his mother and grandmothers, his wife, Stacy and his two beautiful daughters, Faith and Felicity.
"Frankie loved his job, but he still couldn’t wait for the end of the workday so he could rush home to see his wife and children. Nothing made him happier than seeing his little girls smile. And he’d do anything to make that happen - whether it was taking Faith to her dance classes or dressing up in a funny pirate costume for Felicity’s 1st birthday party.
"Stacy: I cannot imagine the pain and heartache you must feel right now. The months ahead will surely be difficult ones for you and the girls. In your moments of greatest sorrow,
I hope it will provide some comfort to remember that you are not alone. You and Frankie built a life full of love. And even though Frankie is gone, that love is still there - and it can help guide you.
"You also have a big family and a wide network of close friends who will be there to help you through the toughest of days. That network includes the Sanitation Department, and particularly Frankie’s brothers at Queens West 1. They are part of your family, too. And they will be there for you every step of the way.
"I hope that in time you will also be comforted by the knowledge that Frankie loved every day of his life. To hear his friends tell it, the last few years especially, were great ones, filled with wonderful memories and milestones: The unbelievable surprise party that you threw him for his 40th birthday, the birth of your youngest daughter and an incredible World Series win by his beloved Yankees.
"Frankie was a happy man who spread happiness to so many others - and the last thing he would want is for his friends and family to suffer. The best way you can honor his memory is to take care of one another. Continue bringing smiles to the faces of his young daughters. Help them grow into the beautiful, smart young women they are already on their way to becoming. If you can do that for each other, I think you’ll feel Frankie smiling down on you.
"We in City government will honor Frankie’s memory by making New York a city he would be proud of. The Department of Sanitation rarely gets the credit it deserves, but I know exactly what a huge role our Strongest have played in New York’s recovery after 9/11 and also in helping us get through the current national recession.
"Our unbeatable quality of life depends on keeping our neighborhoods beautiful, and our streets clean and safe - and this is a job New York’s Strongest deliver, day in and day out. Last week’s tragedy reminds us just how dangerous that job can be. Frankie understood those challenges - he recognized those dangers - and boldly went out to meet them.
"We will never forget his sacrifice to our city. Or the joy that his life brought to so many others. May God bless his memory. May God bless the many, many lives he touched. And may God bless the New York City Department of Sanitation."