Bayside civic leader and retired school teacher Frank Skala died late Sunday evening in Long Island’s St. Francis Hospital.
Skala, 78, was an active community leader, serving as a member of Community Board 11 from 2003 until failing health forced him to step down in the spring of 2015. He also founded the East Bayside Homeowners Association in 1974, and was awarded a Liberty Medal in June from state Senator Tony Avella for his community service.
According to information provided by Avella’s office, Skala was a lifelong Queens resident who lived for more than seven decades in a house purchased by his parents in 1940 on Bayside’s 219th Street.
“To capture the legacy of Frank Skala and his contribution to Bayside, Queens, would require more than several sentences could possibly allow,” Avella said.
Skala completed all of his education in Queens, attending P.S. 41, Bayside High School and Queens College for both his undergraduate history degree and graduate degree in education. His career teaching junior high school American history and geography spanned for a total of 33 years.
Community Board 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld recounted memories of Skala, who refused modern conveniences such as a cellphone or computer and would always send flowers after hearing of someone suffering from an illness or accident.
“Frank was a very unique person: very opinionated, very old-fashioned,” Seinfeld said. “A real old timer who did not like modern technology but was the most thoughtful person.”
Skala is survived by a son, a daughter and two grandchildren.