Frank Yukon Jr. 1934-2021
YOUNGSTOWN — Frank Yukon Jr., 86, of the city’s West Side, passed away Sunday afternoon, Feb. 28, 2021, at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, after a brief illness.
Frank was born July 25, 1934, in Youngstown, a son of the late Frank Sr. and Tillie Duszatynska Yukon. He was affectionately known to family and friends as “Copper,” so nicknamed by childhood friends, because as a youth, Frank would walk the railroad tracks behind his family’s home on West Rayen Avenue looking for stray pieces of copper. It was a playful and loving nickname he enjoyed, lasting his entire life.
He was a 1953 graduate of The Rayen School, and was a very proud veteran of the Army, serving in Nuremberg, Germany during the height of the Cold War. He was honorably discharged from the service in 1959.
In 1954, Frank began employment with the U.S. Postal Service as a special delivery carrier, retiring in 1997 after a successful 43-year career. He was very proud of the fact that he was recognized by the Postal Service at his retirement as having had driven 1 million accident-free miles during his career.
An avid sports fan, Frank enjoyed both watching and playing various sports. He lettered in football at Rayen, excelling as a defensive tackle. He enjoyed playing baseball and starred at several positions while playing softball with a local U.S. Postal Service team. H e also umpired Little League baseball in the Mill Creek Jr. Baseball League. He took his sports seriously and never wavered in his support of the Youngstown State Penguins and The Ohio State Buckeyes. He avidly followed his favorite Northeast Ohio professional sports teams, passionately rooting for the Indians, Browns and Cavaliers.
Also in 1954, Frank was magnetically drawn to one person, Joanne Dunnigan, who became the love of his life. Frank and Joanne were married at Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church by Msgr. Leo Adamiak, on Oct. 20, 1956, and the couple was blessed with four sons, Frank, Michael, David and Stephen.
Together their entire adult lives, Frank and Joanne were the very best of friends. They complimented each other and took care of each other. In 2016, their sons hosted a surprise 60th anniversary party at the family home in Youngstown, with family members and friends traveling across America to honor and show love and respect for two very special people. The celebration was a huge success and was quite the surprise for Frank and Joanne.
As a youth, Frank developed what would be a lifelong passion for trains and automobiles. He loved reading and learning about both rail and highway travel. His passion eventually led Frank to experience both railway and highway travel for himself, and his family can no longer recall the number of times Frank drove from the family home in Youngstown to the family vacation home in Florida. Frank’s passion for Florida most likely sprouted when he and Joanne drove from Youngstown to Miami Beach for their honeymoon.
With the urge to enjoy travel even well into his 80s, Frank and Joanne drove cross-country to the West Coast (twice) to attend their grandsons’ weddings. They also took the train from Ohio to Washington State one year and couldn’t wait to do it again. Highway, railway or waterway travel, Frank loved them all.
Together, Frank and Joanne not only traveled the length and breadth of America, but in their retirement years, they traveled extensively throughout Western Europe, including the British Isles, Ireland and Greece. The highlight of their European trips was a 30-day cruise, topped off by touring Vatican City with their special friends, Mary Ellen and Tom. Their journeys also took them to the Caribbean, and they loved visiting and touring Alaska, where they took a sea cruise to the ice floes, walked old-growth forested trails, went on a three-day camping expedition to Denali National Park and Preserve to view the great mountain and see amazing wildlife, and the highlight of it all was the amazing train trip through the wilderness. Their trip was capped off with a visit to the Santa Claus House in North Pole, Alaska, 125 miles from the Arctic Circle.
Frank was a member and communicant of St. Anne Ukrainian Catholic Church in Austintown, and was a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans.
Mr. Yukon is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Joanne Yukon; four sons, Frank of Seattle, Michael of Youngstown, David (Melina) of Bloomington, Ind. and Stephen (Edye Nesbitt) of Youngstown; grandsons, Christopher (Emily), Jonathon (Gwyn), Nicholas, and David “Kevin” (Jennifer); granddaughters, Rebecca and Tephan; great-grandchildren, Carson and Everly; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Besides his parents, Frank was preceded in death by his brothers, Michael and John Yukon; and sisters, Mary Richards, Helen Yukon and Tillie Coley.
Family and friends may gather Friday, March 5, 2021, from 10 to 11 a.m., at St. Anne Ukrainian Catholic Church, 4310 Kirk Road, Austintown, where funeral services officiated by the Rev. Lubomir Zhybak will follow at 11 a.m. Mr. Yukon’s cousin, the Rev. Dennis Hrubiak, will co-officiate the funeral service. Please follow all current social distancing guidelines and health protocols when visiting the family and attending the service. To those who cannot attend, or are uncomfortable doing so at this time, please keep Frank and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
Committal services with military honors will follow the church service, and will take place at Calvary Cemetery in Youngstown.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Kinnick Funeral Home in Youngstown.
Copper’s family expresses their deepest heartfelt love and appreciation to Edye Nesbitt for the loving care and support she provided to Frank in his final days.
Visit www.kinnickfuneralhome.com to view and share this obituary, and to send condolences online.