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Dec 28, 2011 3:21 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bill Frankenbach Remembered By Family And Friends As 'Colorful Character'

Jan 4, 2012 10:35 AM

“He always let you knew how he felt. He never hid anything,” said Gary Sapiane, president and general manager of the WLNG radio station in Sag Harbor, adding that he admired his friend’s straightforwardness.

Mr. Sapiane recalled how Mr. Frankenbach was a commentator on the radio station for Southampton High School Mariner football games for 34 years, up through the 2011 season. At the end of one season, Mr. Sapiane said, his friend humbly began an on-air message thanking his listeners. He then added, “If you have any comments, keep them to yourself,” Mr. Sapiane recalled him saying, chuckling over his late friend’s sense of humor.

Village resident Peter Gale worked with Mr. Frankenbach for 27 years on what came to be called the Commission on Veterans Patriotic Events and said he was a good friend of Mr. Frankenbach. The pair were active volunteer firefighters with the Agawam Engine Company of the Southampton Fire Department and also enjoyed playing golf together.

“He was a friendly man. He had his moments, but we all have our moments,” Mr. Gale said. “I got along very well with him. Some people didn’t, but I did.”

In addition to his love of country, Mr. Frankenbach also had a big love of the New York Giants and New York Yankees. According to Mr. Epley, he could often be spotted on summer days at the beach, where he would stick a flagpole bearing the Stars and Stripes, as well as a Giants flag, into the sand.

The straight shooter was also praised this week for his values.

“He was the product of an era that valued hard work and good faith and a strong sense of community,” his former son-in-law, James McWilliams, said. “He’d give you the shirt off his back. He’s that kind of guy.”

Mr. Frankenbach was president of the Southampton Rotary Club from 1970 to 1971 and the Southampton Chamber of Commerce from 1971 to 1972. He was also commander of the Southampton American Legion Post and president of the Eastern Long Island Chapter of the Korean War Veterans. From 1972 to 1974, he served as chairman of the Southampton Town Republican committee. He has received numerous proclamations from the village and the town. Last Memorial Day, he was honored for his continuous 60-year membership in American Legion Post 433.

“I remember overhearing a story when I was a kid about him wrestling a bear, and it was at that moment that I realized he was one of the toughest, scariest and coolest grandpas a girl could have,” his eldest grandchild, Jameson Lee McWilliams, 26, read during the funeral.

Firematic and American Legion Services were held last Friday. Interment with military honors followed Saturday’s funeral at Water Mill Cemetery.

Memorial donations to the Southampton Village Fourth of July Parade, P.O. Box 1234, Southampton, N.Y. 11969, would be appreciated.

Mr. Frankenbach is survived by his wife of 58 years, Colleen of Southampton Village; his children, Susan Steinke and her husband, John, of Water Mill, Lisa Marie McWilliams of Southampton Village, and William Jr. of Hampton Bays; four grandchildren, Jameson Lee McWilliams, 26, of Manhattan, Paul Thomas McWilliams, 21, of Santa Barbara, California, William John Steinke, 23, of Providence, Rhode Island, and Kristen Moore Steinke, 21, of Water Mill; and his sister, Patricia L. Andersen of Madison, Connecticut.

“I want you to all take this moment and promise me that you will live a little more like Bill this year,” Jameson Lee McWilliams said at the funeral. “Maybe without the language, or the drinks, if you’re underage. But, seriously, work harder than ever before doing something you are passionate about. … And, most importantly, love your family with everything you’ve got.”

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Let's not also forget the "Voice of Mariners Football" for many years with WLNG radio.... Rest in Peace Bill, you will be missed by many.
By mother of firefighter (18), Southampton on Dec 28, 11 3:28 PM
Thank you for your kind words about my father.
By susan steinke (3), southampton on Jan 11, 12 9:05 PM
RIP Mr. Frankenbach.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Dec 28, 11 4:24 PM
RIP Mr. Frankenbach, you were an icon in the community. Thank you for all you did..........
By rjhdad (73), southampton on Dec 28, 11 4:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
Thank you for your kind thoughts
By susan steinke (3), southampton on Jan 11, 12 9:07 PM
Southampton lost one of its most patriotic people today - - William A. Frankenbach - - he will truly be missed by so many. Rest In Peace, Bill.
By Robert I Ross (250), Hampton Bays on Dec 28, 11 4:38 PM
The visiting hours will take place on Friday from 2-4 & 7-9 PM at Brockett's. Firematic and American Legion Services will begin on Friday at 7:30PM.

A Funeral Service will begin on Saturday at 10 AM at St. John's Episcopal Church here in Southampton. Interment with military honors will follow at Water Mill Cemetery. Memorial donations to the Southampton village 4th of July Parade; PO Box 1234, Southampton, NY 11969, would be appreciated.
By Robert I Ross (250), Hampton Bays on Dec 28, 11 4:39 PM
Bill was a valuable, involved community leader, businessman and patriot. His stewardship and active involvement in the Republican Party over 50 years made possible prudent, responsible leadership in town and county governmentat at decisive times in our local history.

A true patriot, Bill was a caring, active veteran with a distinguished record of military service. His was a life well-lived and he leaves behind a devoted family and a legion of friends and admirers.

Our condolences ...more
By JimmyKBond (156), Hampton Bays on Dec 28, 11 4:40 PM
Thank you for your support and kind words about my father.
By susan steinke (3), southampton on Jan 12, 12 10:10 AM
Rest in peace Mr. Frankenbach, you will never be forgotten.
By USCG_WIFE (6), Northern Michigan on Dec 28, 11 7:20 PM
I worked at SHGC for a number of years. He treated the staff with respect and that I remember many years later. RIP sir.
By joegti10 (8), East Moriches on Dec 29, 11 4:49 PM
Is this the gentlemen that was on WLNG every morning at 8:15 in the 70's and 80's, and owned the garden center and Christmas stonre on CR 39? Or am I confusing him with his father?
By BruceB (142), Sag Harbor on Dec 30, 11 1:57 PM
Bruce, this is the same gentleman.
By sandydog21 (195), Southampton on Dec 30, 11 2:14 PM
Maybe we can get those beautiful cherry trees at Agwam now.
By btdt (449), water mill on Dec 30, 11 4:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
So the Press writes an article remembering a man who loved his community, the United States Military and all our Veterans, and obviously gave back for most all of his life to both...and you find the need to write that???? I hope it made you feel better. Happy New Year!
By srk (15), southampton on Dec 30, 11 5:20 PM
Why not?

"He was also a tough bird who was unafraid to speak his mind, especially on matters involving his country, those close to him recalled this week.

“He’s outspoken. He had no problem telling people exactly how he felt about things. He didn’t care if you agreed or disagreed with him"

I'm a tough bird who is unafraid to speak my mind, too, especially if it involves my country or my community. I'm outspoken and have no problem telling people exactly ...more
By btdt (449), water mill on Dec 31, 11 10:33 AM
3 members liked this comment
Why not?

Why not is a matter of decorum. A matter of politenes, and respect for the deceased.

You don't go "tete-a-tete" with a celebrated man who has just been carried from his deathbed, to his final resting place. It's just not the time, or the place.
By Mr. Z (11695), North Sea on Dec 31, 11 11:08 AM
This article was mean't as a memorium on a man who has not only served his country admirably, but more so how he lived his life and howm he served his community. This was not the place to belittle the man over some damn trees. As a veteran mysself, you can take those trees and stick them where the sun doesn't shine.
By Walt (292), Southampton on Jan 1, 12 3:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
Really? All that Mr. Frankenbach did for Southampton & you write about trees?

Shame on you.
By Draggerman (942), Southampton on Jan 3, 12 5:42 AM
it's a reference to one of mr. frankenbach's more cantankerous episodes. he was a bit pissy at times. but this is not the forum for such morbid "humor" if you find that funny btdt. let him rest in peace.

lots of death in the paper this week...maybe it will be black with white print....
By em (51), east hampton on Jan 3, 12 7:47 PM
God bless you Uncle Bill. Thanks for everything you did
for our village, town and country. And to you btdt of Water Mill have the guts sign your name.
Jim Frankenbach
By JFrank (2), Southampton on Dec 30, 11 6:44 PM
My name is James Albert Frankenbach Jr. My Uncle was a great man who put his country and community first. To btdt, how dare you make derogatory remarks about a decorated veteran. You should be ashamed of your self. R.I.P. Uncle Bill
By James Frankenbach (1), Southampton on Dec 30, 11 6:49 PM
Jim its obvious that bltdt or whatever his fake name is does not know how to commend or let someone rest in peace. This idiot probably never served his country either and he probably was at Wall Street with all the other idiots, Mr Frankenbach did a hell of lot more in one year than this idiot in his whole life. Mr Frankenbach thanks for your Service and also Thanks for the Army - Navy game trips in 1979 and 1980.
By MACDADDY (49), SOUTHAMPTON on Dec 31, 11 6:55 PM
R.I.P. Mr. Frankenbach you will be truly missed!
By GASMAN (7), SOUTHAMPTON on Dec 30, 11 10:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
Oh, come on isn't his son, young Bill, going to continue the tradition just like his father did when his father died back in the oh was it the late forties or early fifties? Anyway Frankenbach's have done it for more than 75 years.
As much as we might miss someone we all know there is someone to step up into our shoes.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Dec 31, 11 7:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
Man, I remember when Bill would come to John Duck's He was funny, yet sincere and humble, a true East End icon. Still miss those Thursday Rotary meetings...Rest in peace, soldier...
By **HBQueenBee** (46), Hampton Bays on Jan 5, 12 11:16 AM
1 member liked this comment
This is great;
Z defending a Republican with uncharacteristic gallantry
Dummertime chiming in in her typical fashion with uninformed non-sequiters
And some guy in Water Mill wants to re-open the cherry tree debate here. (I'm against, we just got rid of all the overgrowth blocking the monument)

I hope Mr F is having a chuckle up there.
Peace y'all
By smacw (240), New York on Jan 10, 12 10:53 AM
1 member liked this comment
Y'know, that is just a blazing display of intellect. If you think for one moment I'm defending a "Republican", you're a j*****s. If you think "gallantry" on my part is "uncharacteristic", you are not only ignorant of my person, you probably don't know what the word means from a sociological standpoint.

Thanks for bringing politics, to a simple human issue of decorum.
By Mr. Z (11695), North Sea on Jan 11, 12 7:05 PM
Look up "irony" and "hypocricy" in the dictionary. When you have, contemplate privately, and don't don't sully further, this forum on Bill Frankenbach's life and passing with your vitriol.
Thank you,
By smacw (240), New York on Feb 1, 12 7:48 PM