Laurence “Larry” Floyd Fronk

Laurence “Larry” Floyd Fronk

Laurence “Larry” Floyd Fronk

KNOX — Laurence “Larry” Floyd Fronk lived a long and varied life that was punctuated by his tenacity and love of hard work, family, and God. He died at his home on Friday, June 8, 2018. He was 90 years old.

“He had a heart for people,” said his wife, Shirley Fronk. “He loved everybody.”

Mr. Fronk was born in Albany on Jan. 12, 1928, and raised in Buffalo. In 1943, at the age of 15, he forged his birth certificate to join the United States Merchant Marines, despite his inability to swim. In the midst of World War II, he served on several deadly missions, including the Murmansk Run to Russia, which suffered tremendous casualties, earning him a Purple Heart, and traveled to the beaches of Normandy the day after D-Day and also fought in Italy.

It was while he was at sea that Mr. Fronk learned of the death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

“His heart broke like losing a family member as he lost the only president he remembered,” his family wrote in a tribute.

While on the ship, Mr. Fronk volunteered for multiple posts, and moved on to the United States Army Air Corps (the predecessor to the Air Force) after the war. Returning home, he lived for several years in the Seneca Nation, because of his friendship with the son of the Chief of the Nation, and enjoyed his time hunting and fishing there.

Mr. Fronk later came to the Albany area where, as a “jack of all trades and master of none,” he did a variety of jobs, ranging from running a restaurant on Saratoga Lake, delivering film for Fujifilm, and working for years at Walters Motor Company in Voorheesville. He remarked that he was rarely without work from his teens to his 70s.

Mr. Fronk married Shirley Dingwall on Oct. 17, 1976. They had met at  Polito’s bar in Guilderland.

“I was a cook and he was a customer,” said Mrs. Fronk. She said that Mr. Fronk would constantly sit at a table in an area where she worked — even though he wasn’t supposed to.

They were together for almost 42 years, their marriage ending only with his death. Together they raised several children in a blended family as well as dozens of foster children. He was “a man who loved his family more than life itself,” said Mrs. Fronk.

As a father, he encouraged his children to work hard and seek education, despite his lack of formal schooling. In spite of his fear of water, he also taught many of his children and grandchildren to swim, as well as his preferred hobby of fishing. And he adored playing with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He also celebrated his children’s accomplishments.

“He always knew he wasn’t perfect,” his family wrote. “But sought for his children to do better than he did.”

Mr. Fronk, a religious and giving man, founded the Lord’s Acres Christian Fellowship in 1986, where he would provide food, clothing, and other items to those in need, regardless of their faith. He would later oversee the chapel at the Altamont fairgrounds.

“He’s always loved the Lord,” said Mrs. Fronk. Both were born-again Christians before they met one another. They were inspired to start the church after two different people — a guest minister at their church and a friend — said he should be a minister.

Despite having left school for more than a decade, Mr. Fronk passed the test for his general-education diploma without studying just by using the knowledge he gained from reading the newspaper daily as well as by reading many novels. He would go on to complete correspondence courses at Moody Bible College and Oral Roberts University.

Mr. Fronk developed his love of reading while serving on a Merchant Marine ship. His favorites included Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey novels. His passion for a good Western also extended to film, with “a near religious knowledge of every John Wayne film,” his family wrote.

Other hobbies included building and mechanical projects, and “loving the Buffalo Bills and hating the Yankees.” Jokingly known as “Dancing Larry,” Mr. Fronk was also always ready to dance to “Proud Mary.”

A friendly and affable man, Mr. Fronk would often run into an old acquaintance or even make new friends.

“Everybody that ever met him liked him,” said Mrs. Fronk.

He would chat with everyone one at his local Dunkin’ Donuts, where they always made a new pot of coffee for him, and he even befriended people at the hospital.

“When people criticized his giving nature, telling him that he needed to learn to say ‘no,’ he’d tell them he had learned how to say ‘yes,’” his family wrote.

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Mr. Fronk is survived by his wife Shirley (née Dingwall) Fronk; his siblings, Mildred Vigors and her husband, Dutch; and Bud Fronk; and his children, Sherri Kaiser; Sandy Magrela and her husband, Dan; Larry Fronk Jr. and his wife, Jane; Diana Hosier and her husband, Gene; Robert “Bob” Fronk and his wife, Barbie; Lewis Fronk and his wife, Chris; Stephen Fronk and his wife, Mary; Matthew Fronk; Michael Fronk; and David Fronk and his wife, Laura.

He is also survived by his grandchildren, Melissa and Jennifer Kaiser; Tracy and Todd Magrela; Christopher, Stephanie, and Jill Fronk; Kim and Taylor Hosier; James and Joshua Fronk; Nicole, Patrick, Morgan, Heather, and Logan Fronk; Star and Stephen Fronk Jr.; and Emily and Evan Fronk; his step-children, Skipper Murrell, and his wife, Karen; and Wanda Fronk, and her son, Robert “Robbie” Morton; over 37 foster children including Ethel Mundt and Carol Pelkey; and his foster grandchildren, Robert and Lindsey Mundt; and Jessica Pelkey, Giena Mendez, and Shelley Mendez.

His sister, Sandy Hartman, died before him.

Burial will be in a private ceremony at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery with military honors. A memorial service will be held on Aug. 4 at 1 p.m. at the Gallupville Gospel Church, 118 Gospel Ln., Schoharie, NY 12157.

Donations may be made in Mr. Fronk’s memory to the church he founded, Lord’s Acres Christian Fellowship, at 1668 Warners Lake Rd., Altamont NY 12009.

— H. Rose Schneider

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