Elections worker cared deeply about politics

April 2, 2018 GMT

Long before the days of computerized property tax information, Suzie Frenchik began working for Westmoreland County in the addressograph office in the 1960s, when the lists of taxable properties were typed on metal plates for the tax collection books, said a longtime friend and co-worker.

Barbara Vadas of Derry Township, Mrs. Frenchik’s friend of 54 years, recalled how they moved to the elections office in the days when voters used paper ballots.

“It was fun. We’d be working all through the night on elections,” Vadas said.

Suzanna B. “Suzie” Frenchik, 92, of Latrobe, died Monday, March 19, 2018, in the Loyalhanna Care Center, Derry Township.

She was born Oct. 13, 1925, in Monessen, a daughter of the late George and Anastasia Sutrik Shusta.

She began her career as a telephone operator for what was then Bell Telephone Co. of Pennsylvania.

Mrs. Frenchik moved to the county’s addressograph office before retiring in 1974 from the election bureau.

She also worked for Derry Township tax collector Emil Kraynak during the 1960s and 70s, getting to know many of township residents.

Mrs. Frenchik came out of retirement in 1981 to serve as the manager of the Derry office for former Sen. Mark Singel, a Johnstown Democrat who later would become lieutenant governor under Gov. Robert P. Casey.

Vadas recalled basketball games they had with the senator and his colleagues.

“The whole gang came out from Harrisburg. It was a lively time,” Vadas said.

Mrs. Frenchik also was very active in the Westmoreland County Democratic Party and the Tax Collectors Association during the 1960s and 70s. She served as a member of Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie’s ill-fated 1972 presidential campaign staff in his bid to win the nomination to run against President Richard Nixon.

“She was very much a lifelong Democrat,” Vadas said.

For more than 10 years after leaving Singel’s office, Mrs. Frenchik was judge of elections in the Saxman district of Derry Township, covering the McChesneytown section of municipality.

In 1967, she married Paul E. Frenchik. He died in 1980.

She was a member of St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Bradenville, where “she was a very good parishioner,” said the Rev. Joseph J. Borodach, priest of St. Mary’s.

Mrs. Frenchik is survived by a sister, Verne Chuprinko, of Vail, Ariz.; her “adopted” grandson, Mark Vadas; two great-grandsons; her special friend, Barbara Vadas; and many nieces and nephews.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in Hartman-Graziano Funeral Home Inc., 1500 Ligonier St., Latrobe. Parastas services will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, and panachida services will be held at 9:15 a.m. Thursday, both in the funeral home. Divine liturgy will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday in St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church, with interment to follow in the church cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church, 112 St. Mary’s Way, Bradenville, PA 15620.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.