Fiskdale....Francis G. Simanski, 63, of Fiskdale passed away peacefully on Wednesday, May 11, after a very brief illness. Born and raised in Turners Falls, MA, Fran was a 1965 graduate of Turners Falls High School He was a proud alumnus of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and earned a Masters in History from Westfield State College.
While doing his student teaching at Longmeadow High School, he was hired to a permanent position and spent the next fourteen years there as a Social Studies teacher, Student Advisor and Assistant Principal. During this time he was one of 20 teachers, from across the country, selected to receive a National Science Foundation Grant which allowed him to spend a summer at San Jose State University in California studying economics. In 1983, Fran became Principal of Tantasqua Regional High School. For the next fifteen years, under his mature and nurturing leadership, Fran inspired students, faculty and staff to be the best that they could be. Never afraid to take a stand, Fran's passion, talent and energy along with his special connection with students and colleagues - made a difference in the lives of many.
Upon completion of his financial obligation to his children's college education, he returned to what he loved best - the classroom. Here, until his retirement in 2004, he was once again able to directly impact the lives of many students with his high expectations and consistent standards. Fran always believed that student - teacher interaction was the most important part of a school.
His retirement was short lived as circumstances brought both his administrative expertise and classroom passion to Woodstock Academy where for the next three years his remarkable career in education continued.
Fran was a man of strong intellect and impeccable character. He was the recipient of the 1998 Sturbridge Rotary Club Russell A. Burton "Service Above Self" Award and in 2004 was recognized for Excellence in teaching by the Massachusetts Council for Social Studies - Secondary Level with the William Spratt Award. For the past six years, Fran has served as a member of the Tantasqua Regional School Committee.
An avid reader and golfer, Fran took great pride in maintaining his home and yard. Leaves were known as "offenders" and were not allowed to remain lying on his pristine lawn. Fran is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 39years Fay (O'Riley) Simanski, his son John of Middletown, CT, daughter Jennifer and her fiancé Rob Bellville of Holland, MA, two brothers Joseph and his wife Ellen of Myrtle Beach, David and his wife Jeanne of Greenfield and two nephew Jeffrey and his wife Susan, and Benjamin and his fiancée Kathleen Mulligan.
Fran's family wishes to extend a special thank you to the many friends, neighbors, and colleagues who during this difficult time supported them and took the time to say goodbye, also to the third floor staff at Harrington Hospital, Southbridge for their incredibly compassionate care in regards to Fran's medical needs, personal care and overall well-being. Heartfelt gratitude is extended to Dr. Stagias and his extremely competent office staff, Dr. Belezos, Dr. Powers and Dr. Easterly; your directness, your expertise and your friendship will always be remembered.
At Fran's request and the wishes of his family services will be private and there are no calling hours.
Born: March 20, 1948
Death: May 11, 2011
Fay (O'Riley) Simanski, Spouse
John Simanski, Son
Jennifer Simanski, Daughter
Joseph Simanski, Brother
David Simanski, Brother
Jeffrey Simanski, Nephew
Benjamin Simanski, Nephew