Frank M. Grabowski, 75, of Phoenixville, PA, husband of Diane M. (Borkowski) Grabowski, passed away suddenly at his home on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
Born and raised in Erie, he was the son of the late Frank “Whitey” and Irene (Czemerych) Grabowski.
Frank was a 1962 graduate of East High School in Eire. He went on to receive his Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in electrical engineering from Penn State; he was Penn State proud! Frank worked for “The GE” in the “shadow of the stack” for 28 years. He was awarded many patents for his work. He spent time in locomotive, transit, and off-highway. In off highway, he had the opportunity to travel to many of the garden spots of the world. Western Australia where his co-worker told him he was lucky he came in the cold season; it was 103. Columbia, South America where they stored boxes of dynamite under his bunk and he was the only one without a gun, South Africa during Apartheid where every door in the restaurant was guarded by a very large man, with a very large gun. Let us not forget Bougainville, Papua New Guinea where cannibalism still exists and if caught and ending up in the stew pot, he would have few a family of four, for two weeks.
Frank’s interest in EMI started early in his career and as more technologies came to be, it became a problem in transportation. In 1996 LTK Engineering Services in Ambler, PA was looking for an EMI specialist and they offered Frank a position. At that time LTK had a contract with Amtrak as they were starting up the ACELA project for trains on the Northeast corridor. Several Amtrak engineers who knew Frank personally from GE requested him to work with Amtrak. That position lasted for six years and he was able to travel to more civilized places in the world like France and Germany. After six years of commuting into Center City he finally headed back to Ambler. When asked what is was like to work in Ambler, he said, it was so quiet it had the ambience of a funeral parlor. He worked with transit authorities all over the country until his retirement from LTK in 2015, at which point he worked part time until his passing.
Frank grew up on the Erie Bayfront spending time at Porky’s Bait stand and working on the Nelly, a fishing party boat, with his Dad, who was the Skipper. He had an incredible sense of humor and his knowledge of current events, history, and geography was mind boggling; and oh, could he tell stories. He was notorious for bursting into song and asking bizarre trivia questions during gatherings, which had nothing to do with the topic being discussed. He did great imitations of Groucho and W.C. Fields. Play a polka and he would start dancing with a partner but would twirl off by himself doing all kinds of moves no one could duplicate. He developed his style from Reginald Van Gleason the III. He was funny, a bit crazy, and he lived life to the fullest. In his semi-retirement he worked on his 60-year-old stamp collection and in his electronic workshop. He restored old radios and built strange things in his workshop, including his most recent creation, another power supply!
Along with his wife of 46 years, who he won in a pinochle game, he is survived by his cat, Sprong, who misses daddy. He is off on his next adventure wearing his favorite, but really ugly blue vest with a very large glass of scotch.
Rest in Peace Frank; we’ll miss your humor, but you will live on in folklore.
Services and interment are private.