Obituary of Frank Mako
Frank A. Mako passed away peacefully at age 91 on May 24, 2018 in Portland, OR while listening to a Mariner’s baseball game. He was born in logging camp #2 in Shelton Washington on February 24, 1927 to Henry and Anna Mako. He was the youngest of three sons, joining his brothers Henry and Stanley. Growing up during the depression he learned at a young age to be resilient, and determined in accomplishing his goals. He had a gift of connecting with people, and a smile and a twinkle in eyes that endeared him to all that met him.
His parents divorced, and the family moved to Portland where he attended Elliott grade school, and Jefferson High School. Frank loved sports; sports gave him a sense of purpose. He played on many championship teams. At Jefferson he played inspired baseball as the shortstop, and was a member of the varsity for three years. While at Jefferson he also played basketball and was noted in his yearbook as the “spark of the team”, and lead them to win the city championship. He was also listed as briefly playing a “back” position for the football team.
Frank was drafted into the army mid way through his senior year of high school. He joined the infantry as a Private First Class and was specially trained as a demolition expert to disable/remove anti tank mines, blow up bridges, roads, buildings and other dynamite traps. He was a decorated veteran receiving the Victory medal, and the Army of Occupation medal (Japan). While still in the service, at the conclusion of World War II, he was chosen to play baseball as the shortstop and traveled with the team throughout Japan to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobi. This was the highlight of his military experience.
Frank met the love of his life, Martha (Vickie) Skopec, on a blind date in the summer of 1948, and they went dancing. The courtship progressed, and while it included lots of dancing, it also included Martha going to a lot of baseball and softball games to watch Frank play. Frank proposed to Martha at a park prior to the start of one of his baseball games. They married on August 20, 1949, and had been married nearly 69 years when he passed away.
Frank and Martha raised two daughters, Cindi Mako Devich (Chris), Portland, OR, and Leslie Mako, and welcomed grandson Nick Devich, Portland, OR, granddaughter, Ashley Mako-Castro, Reno, NV, and great grandson, Eli Ramos, Reno, NV. Frank was preceded in death by his grandson Joshua Mako-Castro, parents, and siblings.
Frank’s love of sports included fast pitch softball, baseball, bowling, golf, and horseshoes. He excelled at fast pitch softball as an impressive shortstop, and was inducted into the Portland Metro softball hall of fame in 1976. “Frank Mako was one of the finest shortstops that ever played in Portland. He was always at his best under pressure, and this is the true test of the great ones who have played softball in the Northwest. He was one of the best.”
As a golfer, he had 3 hole in ones, and as a bowler he accumulated trophies and patches signifying his many accomplishments. And his name made its way many a time onto the trophy awarded at the annual Harding Father’s Day Horseshoe tournament at Rhododendron, OR.
Frank wore many hats during his life: husband, father, brother, uncle, friend, but the one he always wore was his Chicago Cubs hat. He was a devoted fan, and rejoiced when they won the World Series in 2016!
Frank developed a love for books later in life, and was known to devour a good book in a day.
He had deep, clear determination about accomplishing things that were important to him. When his grandson Nick was 18 months old, Frank’s doctor told him he was drinking too much, and it was affecting his liver. That he needed to stop drinking if he wanted to watch his grandchildren grow up. Frank decided to stop drinking, cold turkey, and never had another drink. 27 years of sobriety - pretty darn impressive!!! He did the same thing with giving up smoking his beloved pipe following a bout with lung cancer. He stopped cold turkey. When he had a deep conviction about something, and a belief he could do it, he then set his mind to it, and accomplished it.
Frank brought joy and smiles to the lives he touched. He had a twinkle in his eyes, and an endearing smile that he generously shared with all he came in contact with. He would regularly stop and talk to strangers. He would shake their hand, offer a compliment, and wish them a good day. This happened numerous times throughout the day in elevators, hallways, stores, doctor offices, just about anywhere. Frank’s ‘light’ was effervescent, and always seemed to make someone’s day. We believe God put him there to deliver these positive thoughts to those that needed them.
He is survived by his wife, Martha, daughters, Cynthia Devich (Chris), Portland, OR, Leslie Mako, Reno, NV. Grandchildren: Nick Devich, Tualatin, OR, Ashley Mako-Castro, Reno, NV; great-grandson, Eli Ramos, Reno, NV.
Frank’s Celebration of Life will be June 10 at 1pm at the Cherrywood Village Chapel, 1417 SE 107th Avenue, Portland, OR 97216. A reception will be held following the service. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Alzheimer’s Association Oregon Chapter, 1650 Northwest Naito Parkway, Suite 190, Portland, OR 97209, or a non-profit of your choice. Private interment will be held at Willamette National Cemetery.
Frank was loved very much, and we will miss his smiles, his spirit, and his presence in our earthly lives. He is now with our Heavenly Father, and all his loved ones that went home before him. We know we will see him again one day, and look forward to seeing his smiles, and being enveloped in a big ol hug!