He was only 2 months old when the Cubs last won a World Series. While some of us who have been waiting a number of years for that to happen again, it’s literally been a lifetime for Riverside resident Frank Sisulak.
Sisulak celebrated his 101st birthday on July 26, and following the Cubs is only one of his many interests.
A natural athlete, Sisulak born in Milwaukee. His family moved to the Pilsen area of Chicago when he was around 4. Sports were his life, particularly track and field, and he excelled at it whether he was in school or at the Sears YMCA, where he competed with his three brothers.
His accomplishments were recognized in 1929 when he was named the No. 1 athlete in Chicago and received a bronze trophy from no less than Knute Rockne. He began to work at Western Electric and later worked for a spinoff of that firm, Graybar Electric Company, an electrical distribution business.
Frank’s personal life took a turn when he met a young lady from Indiana named Amy Heltzel. She had come to visit Chicago with a cousin who was dating a young man there. Her cousin’s beau just happened to have a friend named Frank, and the rest was history.
After World War II broke out, Frank was drafted. The marriage plans were on hold as Frank completed a 4.5-year stint in the service, stationed in Africa.
After the war, the couple moved to Riverside and raised their three boys – Stuart, Tom and Randy.
Sisulak had been to Riverside as a child when his mother would take her boys to the there on a streetcar. They’d get off at the Methodist church, and the family would walk around the town and go to the zoo, leaving Frank with the thought of someday living in Riverside, which he did, in 1947.
It is hard to condense 101 years of living into one column. Today, Frank is as busy as ever and “in training,” according to his son, “Coach” Tom, for a shot put competition.
He enjoys fishing and golf, training for the shot put, and, of course, following the Cubs.
Frank celebrated his birthday with family and friends from all over at the Riverside United Methodist Church with, as Tom Sisulak called it, “an old-fashioned church party.” The following week father and son took off for some fishing time in Wisconsin and most recently a trip to Starved Rock.