Time is a constant. It passes whether you will it to or not, however there are some moments that seem to drag on: that you can live in well beyond their passing. For many people, one of those moments will no doubt be on Tuesday, September 1st, 2020. Franklin T. Pierce was a dear friend, partner, son, and brother. He was a member of the class of 2016 at La Salle High School, a recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati, and was just beginning his career as an engineer.
He would invite anyone he could over to his brand new house, a cozy fixer-upper that he took great pride in refurbishing and making his own. His life was on the verge of so many exciting beginnings when it was abruptly cut short by a car accident that can be called nothing short of absolutely tragic. In the wake of great loss, many are left wondering how they can ever regain any sense of normalcy—how they can stop living in the singular moment of time when they received life changing and sorrowful news. However, Frank was a problem-solver and a man of quiet strength and perseverance. Perhaps we can all learn from Frank, and in commemorating his life and his character discover some of his strength within us.
Frank was born on October 1st, 1997 into a loving family. His parents Peggy and Tom gave Frank and his siblings a strong upbringing in faith from the time that they were young. Even at a young age this seemed to strengthen Frank’s character. His mother remarked how protective he was of his younger brother and sister, and how fair he was at a young age as well. He was exceptionally smart, but he made sure not to squander his talent.
Frank worked hard throughout his entire life, whether it was in school, in sports, or in any other endeavor. Frank competed at the varsity level in multiple sports throughout his high school career, and received excellent grades as well many college credits.
His hard work was rewarded as he became a student athlete at the division one level at the University of Cincinnati for cross country and track and field. To call Frank zealous would be an understatement, and his perseverance and humility in pursuit of his goals is certainly an ideal to strive for.
When Frank arrived at the University of Cincinnati as a freshman, he was quick to make friends with those around him. Teammate Hannah Markel remarked how safe and taken care of she felt as she became fast friends with Frank.
Frank’s level head and maturity set those around him at ease, and he went out of his way to make time for the people in his life. Whether it was making sure a friend didn’t have to sit alone at church, playing with and teaching his younger siblings or cousins, or even just being someone sane to talk to when you were feeling out of place at a social gathering. Frank was a godfather at the age of 16 and sponsored two of his cousins for Confirmation—a true sign of his maturity, leadership, and compassion.
Frank was also known for the reliability of his compassion. Helping others whenever you could was a commitment to be adhered to in Frank’s eyes, and it shone through in many moments. Teammates of his had a bit of a running joke: if you’re ever in trouble CALL FRANK. It was accepted that Frank would be there to help his friends at a moments notice, no questions asked. One such teammate recalled how he once had a car battery die out in the cold and rain. He sent out a group message asking if anyone in the area could lend a hand, and Frank appeared in minutes. Frank made no complaints and asked for nothing in return. He was just happy to help.
It seemed that as Frank got older his morals remained a constant. His mother remarked that his faith increased with age, informing his decisions and strengthening his resolve. Any friend of Franks will tell you that in spite of all of the temptation that might be associated with a college campus, Frank was resolute in his beliefs. He went to daily mass and prayed the rosary as well. Frank’s roots in Catholicism played a role in finding his career as a mechanical engineer. Even in a group of Dungeons and Dragons, Frank played a cleric: a warrior priest who stood for what was right, showed kindness to all, and acted as a moral compass to all of his friends. Frank was aware of the fact that his uncompromising morals would never exactly make him the life of the party, but he was content to ensure that everyone was driven safely from point A to B. He would never once complain about this role, and even with his humble personality he was able to bring something to the table that no one else could. He would sit back and observe, make people feel at ease, and jump in at just the right moment with just the right amount of wit that only Frank could provide to bring smiles and laughs to his friends.
Frank was the kind of person you could stay up with for hours, just talking about anything. He could roll with a light, witty conversation, or connect with you on deeper topics. Even when he disagreed with people on issues, it was never with malice or anger. He wouldn’t judge your beliefs or life habits. He merely listened with compassion, sought to understand—to find where the disconnect lie—and hopefully try to bridge the gap. Frank was a problem solver, after all.
There are so many things, too many things, that can never be summed up with any amount of writing. Frank was competitive in everything he did as well, sometimes to the point that his mother explained they would have to stop playing games for a while (at least those with winners and losers). He adored pouring over and drawing out maps a kid, a trait that carried over whenever his DnD party was exploring caves and haunted castles. Frank was a skilled juggler, and knew a fair few card tricks. He dabbled in playing the piano. He loved omelettes, and recording a quote of the day that was sometimes thoughtful, sometimes wise, and very often hilarious. His mother affectionately referred to him by Frankie. If you had a bag of candy and he asked for a piece, he would always pay you ten cents or so within a day. There are so many, too many wonderful little things about Frank Pierce that many people may never get to know now. However, what we do know about Frank, about his compassion, and his zeal, and his loyalty, can be carried on by each of us as we try to move on from his passing. And though our lives will never be the same, we will be stronger for having known him, and for carrying the best of him in our hearts.
PICTURES FROM THE FRANK PIERCE MEMORIAL 5K RUN/WALK (Please send your pics to 513-310-9476 to be included on this profile)