Francis P. “Frank” Diskin, 69, of Parsons died from injuries suffered during an accident in Colorado on Thursday, June 23, 2011.
Frank was born Dec. 4, 1941, in Fort Scott to John Edward Diskin and Mary Bernadette (Brazil) Diskin. He grew up and attended school in St. Paul, graduating from St. Francis High School in 1960. He attended Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo., for a year before graduating from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg in 1966.
Frank was an educator, a coach and an administrator. His career began in Linwood, where he served the school as teacher of history and physical education and as coach of several sports. He later moved to Dodge City, where he taught and coached at St. Mary’s of the Plains High School for two years, and then, with the closing of the school, was promoted to St. Mary’s of the Plains College. After a one-year stint as teacher and coach at Baxter Springs High School, Frank returned to college. He earned his master’s degree in education from the University of Missouri-Columbia. In 1974, he returned to St. Mary’s of the Plains College (SMPC). Frank wore many hats during his years at SMPC, some for a longer duration than others. He served as director of athletics, dean of student development, head men’s basketball coach, assistant football coach, head volleyball coach and coordinator of women’s athletics (Frank actually started the women’s program at SMPC). Frank left SMPC in 1983 and went on to serve as the assistant athletic director at Washburn University in Topeka for two years. Frank spent the next 22 years of service to Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo., from 1985 until 2007. As is often the case in Catholic education, Frank wore many hats at Rockhurst as well. He served as director of athletics, adding seven sports to the program and increasing the student athlete population from 65 to 245 athletes. He also moved the Athletic Department to NCAA II membership and assisted in the formation of the Heartland Conference and eventually lobbied for and moved the program into the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Other accomplishments at Rockhurst include formation of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, head volleyball coach for three years, head men’s basketball coach for six years and an interim position as vice president of student affairs. Following retirement from Rockhurst in 2007, Frank and his wife Mary served as co-managers at The Carlyle of Lee’s Summit, Mo., a retirement residence for senior adults before Frank accepted the position as activities director at Parsons High School in July 2008. He served the high school well until 2010 when Frank retired from athletics and decided to work with his daughter, Sharon, in her new company as field manager at Total Design in Olathe. Professionally, Frank served as a member of a number of regional and national executive athletics committees — too many in number to list. If that weren’t enough, because of his love of athletics and “being around those kids,” Frank also umpired and refereed for close to 50 years. Professionally, Frank could not have been happier. He was often heard saying, “I never worked a day in my life,” because he loved what he did.
On June 11, 1966, Frank married Mary L. Trout at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Parsons. She survives of the home.
Survivors include his wife, Mary L. Diskin of Parsons; three sons, Brian Edward Diskin and his wife, Jennifer, of Godfrey, Ill., Aaron Michael Diskin and his wife, Obaapanin, of Centennial, Colo., and Adam Christopher Diskin of Kansas City, Mo.; three daughters, Barbara Ann Diskin of Lenexa, Sharon Louise Diskin-Tarwater and her husband, Ben, of Overland Park and Ashley Nicole Diskin-Boydston and her husband, Josh, of Roeland Park; six grandchildren, Clayton, Spencer and Ethan Diskin, Quinn and Leah Tarwater, and baby Diskin (Aaron and Oba’s) expected in December 2011; and a brother, Felix Diskin and his wife, Margaret, of St. Paul.
He was preceded in death by his older brother, Floyd Diskin.
We, the family of Frank Diskin, could not be more proud or more grateful for all that he has given to us, most especially our faith in God and our baptism into the Catholic Church. He was son, brother, grandson, cousin, husband, father, friend, confidant, counselor, teacher, coach, cheerleader, comforter, hero, fellow seeker of adventure ... there just aren’t enough descriptors that can encapsulate what he meant to each of us. Frank and Mary were the best of friends and together they modeled for any who knew them what a truly loving marriage is and how truly the sacred union of a husband and wife centered in Christ is so much greater than the two can ever be apart. For the children, they created a home that we looked forward to coming home to, and a place where we knew we could always seek refuge if ever needed.
Frank Diskin will be remembered by countless numbers of people as a man of great faith and courage of conviction. He balanced confidence and strength of character with great humility and a sense of service to others. Frank would tell you that he never worked for anyone; rather, that his was a role of service to others. The more accomplished he became in his professional career, he believed the greater his service role became. He was a leader and a servant with each decision he made, be that personal or professional.
His children admire the wonderful example that he has set for them. Former student athletes and colleagues of him share the memories of his wise locker room advice — such phrases as “the next effort is the most important” and “remember who you represent” and “faith, family, education, sports … in that order.” They will tell you that they carry these with them into their own lives, and that Frank’s influence is felt by many who never even knew him. We are assured that his legacy lives on. Frank’s integrity, character and genuine love of life have inspired many a student athlete not only to excel on the court/field, but off the court as well. He has always been and will always be a model of what it means to be a man of God, a loving husband to his wife, a devoted and loving father and grandfather to his children and grandchildren, a beloved brother, uncle and cousin, a respected mentor to many and a loyal friend. All who know him are better for it. Thank you, dear God, for blessing us with your son Frank Diskin. We look forward to the day when we will be with him again in Your heavenly kingdom. Eternal rest grant unto Frank, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
A memorial Mass with the body present will be at 10 a.m. today at the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park. The rosary was at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park.
The funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Friday at the St. Francis Catholic Church in St. Paul. Burial will follow at St. Francis Cemetery. The rosary will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the St. Francis Catholic Church in St. Paul. The family will receive friends following the rosary.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to St. Francis Catholic Church in St. Paul, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Parsons, and/or The Frank Diskin Memorial Scholarship Fund at Rockhurst University. These may be left at or mailed to Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home, P.O. Box 374, Parsons, KS 67357.
Friends may leave condolences to the family at www.forbeshoffman.com.