Frank W. Hommema, Sr. of Port Charlotte, Florida, passed on Monday, Oct. 21, at the age of 82. Frank was born in Chicago, Illinois, Oct. 19, 1937, to Herman and Mona Hommema. For much of his adult life, he operated cranes and heavy equipment, but he was also an avid hunter and fisherman. He loved catching snook and enjoyed participating in shark and catfish tournaments.
He was best known as the original Fishin’ Frank Sr., who started the tackle shop Fishin’ Frank’s with his wife Catchin’ Carol. The shop has become an institution in Charlotte County and is now operated by his son. Frank was a loving husband and father and is survived by his wife of 64 years, Carol; daughters Relinda and Pam; his son Fishin’ Frank Jr.; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren who all loved “Grumpy.”
To honor Frank Sr.’s legacy, Catchin’ Carol and family hosted a farewell gathering at Fishin’ Franks (4425 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte) Wednesday, Oct. 30, from 4 to 8 p.m.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ponger-Kays-Grady Funeral Home in Arcadia, Florida. Online condolences may be made at PongerKaysGrady.com.
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I had been warned that “Senior,” as all the irregulars down at Fishin’ Frank’s called him, could be a little cranky. Whatever — all old guys are cranky to some degree, right? So I wasn’t expecting a cheery greeting the first time we met, and I wasn’t disappointed. I introduced myself. He looked at me, said, “Hnf,” and walked away. Nice meeting you!
Eventually he warmed up to me a little, by which mean he began insulting me. Nothing too terrible, and he never brought my mother into it. But he did like to point out that I carry a bit of excess weight. I respectfully took it the first couple times, then got annoyed enough to mention that he was a wrinkly old pruneface (or something along those lines).
That made him smile. I think that’s when we became friends. It only took about three years.
I was told by some of the irregulars that Senior had gotten much mellower as he had aged, and that years before it took a whole lot longer to get into his good graces. They said I was fortunate to have gotten any recognition at all at our first meeting. Most of the time, he didn’t like people at first, and not liking them meant just looking right through them, as if they weren’t even there. And a lot of people were never worthy of recognition.
Some folks don’t like people who act that way. But as a cranky old man in training, I think it’s just fine. Avoid getting involved in someone else’s business before you know if they’re worth it. Excellent philosophy.
I never fished with Senior. We had a plan to go out on the pontoon one day, but weather interrupted it. I tried to reschedule it a couple times, but he wasn’t really feeling it. I told him to let me know when he was, but it didn’t happen. Too bad — I would have enjoyed a day of catching fish and trading jabs with the old guy.
Is there anyone you’ve been trying to get out on the water or in the woods with? If there is, try to make it happen sooner rather than later. Our lives are short, and none of us is guaranteed tomorrow. Get to it soon, or it might never happen, and that would be a shame.
As for Senior, I’m glad I got to know him, and it’s a bummer that he’s gone. But he lived a good and full life, and we still have his legacy in the store that his son and the pirate crew will be running for years to come. So long, you crusty old geezer — we’ll miss ya.
Contact Capt. Josh Olive at 941-276-9657 or Publisher@WaterLineWeekly.com.