Pendl, Francis X
From Central Park Historical Society Encyclopedia
Former Chief and 50 year active member of the Bethpage Fire Department. Retired Nassau County Fire Marshall and Nassau County Fire Service Academy Instructor. Member of American Legion Post 86, NYS Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Firefighters, International Assocation of Arson Investigators, Firefighters Association of the State of NY, Fire Museum Network, LI Antique Fire Apparatus Association, Delegate to the Nassau County Burn Center, Member of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, member of the Central Park Historical Society, the Civil War Preservation Trust, the Mount Rushmore Foundation and the Ellis Island Foundation. (FROM NEWSDAY - Saturday, April 3, 2004)
Former students of Francis X. Pendl at the Nassau County Fire Academy have found memories of the way he'd toss sourball candy to those who correctly answered his questions.
He'd also take his students into one of the academy training buildings, light a fire and have them sit and watch as it grew, and spread around them, until the heat finally drove them out. His goal was to teach them the ways of fire, replacing fear with knowledgeable respect for its power.
Frank Pendl, a former Bethpage fire chief and first deputy chief instructor at the county fire academy, trained thousands of firefighters over his 40-year career there, and worked with countless others as an arson investigator and inspector with the county's fire marshal's office.
Frank died April 1 in North Shore University Hospital after a two-month battle with cancer. He was 75.
'He could do anything - the man was a genius when it came to firefighting,' said Walter Grochala, a Washington, D.C., fire department paramedic and former Pendl student who returned home with five other firefighting alumni to pay their respects at a crowded funeral Tuesday. 'He knew how to get you to do things you didn't think you could do.'
Born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx, Frank served briefly in the Navy and married his high school sweetheart, Mary Jane Thompson, then moved out to 'the country,' as Bethpage seemed to the family then, in 1953. He joined the fire department a year later and rose through the ranks, becoming an assistant chief in 1962, then chief of the Bethpage Fire Department. In his later years with the department, he worked as a planning and fire prevention officer and was known for his fire safety work with children.
Frank passed on his two loves to his 12 children, most of whom are teachers or firefighters or both, said his third son, Clifford, a Holbrook Fire Department ex-captain and Nassau police officer. He also persuaded the county police department to make a few days at the fire academy part of standard training for its recruits.
Honoring his activity on behalf of the Nassau County Firefighters Museum, to be built next door to the Cradle of Aviation Museum, the structure will be named after Frank, The Francis X. Pendl Firemen's Museum and Education Center.
Frank also was active in raising funds for the Burn Center at Nassau University Medical Center since being treated there for 11 days in 1978. He was a Retired Nassau County Fire Marshall and Nassau County Fire Service Academy Instructor, Member of the American Legion Post 86, NYS Fraternal Order of Police, International Assoc. of Fire Chiefs, International Assoc. of Arson Investigators, International Assoc. of Firefighters, Firefighters Assoc. of the State of NY, Fire Museum Network, LI Antique Fire Apparatus Assoc., Delegate to the Nassau County Burn Center, Member of the Central Park Historical Society, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Civil War Preservation Trust, the Mount Rushmore Foundation and the Ellis Island Foundation. He also organized the Bethpage Fire Department 1976 Bicentennial Parade. After retiring in 1990, he worked part-time for the Bethpage fire district. Frank received honors from his fire department last month for 50 years of active service.
More than 1,000 friends and many antique fire vehicles gathered Monday evening for a firematic memorial service opposite Bethpage fire headquarters. The funeral Mass was said Tuesday at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church. Burial was in Pinelawn Memorial Park.
Frank is survived by his wife of 54 years, Mary Jane; sons Thomas of Bethpage, Douglas and wife Jean, Clifford and wife Carol North Patchogue, Richard of St. Louis, Stephen and wife Eileen of Cromwell, Conn., Peter and wife Mary of Allegany, and Kurt and wife Amy of Salisbury Mills. He is also survived by daughters Patricia of Branford, Conn., Mary Jane Trigilio and husband Bob of Evergreen, Colo., Priscilla Mcdowell and husband Ken and Pamela Hearn and husband Gary, both of Washingtonville, and Alison Griffith and husband Jeff of Westwood, N.J. Cherished son-in-law of Jane Thompson. Dedicated brother in law of Nancy Thompson, loving brother of Tommy Pendl of Venice, Fla., and Helen Pendl, wife of his predeceased brother, Joseph Francis Pendl, and by 22 grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the Francis X. Pendl Education Memorial Fund, PO Box 63, Bethpage, NY 11714. (FROM BETHPAGE TRIBUNE - 4/23-29, 2004)
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