RIP: Frank Jaklitsch, 1955-2016

(photo by Tom Lindsay)
Frank Jaklitsch (photo by Tom Lindsay)

Photographs by Tom Lindsay, Joseph Deuel
Video by Tom Lindsay

Frank Jaklitsch, “The Songman,” of Albany, 61, passed quickly last Thursday afternoon (August 11), as he strode towards Gillette Stadium to see, for the first time, his cherished New Orleans Saints compete on the field. He was in a good place.

Jaklitsch, born January 17, 1955 in Ridgewood, Queens, graduated from Queens College with a degree in Special Education, and devoted his entire life to service, beginning with volunteer work with developmentally disabled individuals as a teenager, and continuing to early employment with Catholic Charities and a 31-year career with the New York State Office of Mental Health.

Jaklitsch, who moved, with his family, to the campus neighborhood of Albany in 1985, is long pre-deceased by his father, Frank, Sr. and survived by his mother Herta Eisenzoph, of Queens, N.Y; his loving wife of 33 years, Eileen; his beloved son Thomas; younger siblings Richard (Margaret) of Nanuet, N.Y. and Theresa Jaklitsch Mueller (Fred) of Hillsborough, N.J; and his sweet pug, Penny.

Throughout the region Frank was known for his unparalleled, bottomless generosity and his remarkable powers of song. So many benefitted, financially and emotionally, from his musical performances, alone or with Frank Jaklitsch & Friends— an open-ended group of musicians he schooled, inspired and nurtured.

The roots of his loyal Capital Region audience, “Frank Nation,” reach to the legendary days of Eamonn’s Loudon House, where Frank, mentored by his great friend Eamonn McGirr, brought a unique edge, honesty and camaraderie to long, wild nights of music. A man of passion, he touched, deeply, all who came into his sphere.

A brilliant songwriter, Jaklitsch issued 15 albums, which also reflect his insight as an interpreter and his ear as a song finder. But it was onstage, surrounded by friends sharing in the joy he spontaneously created at every turn, that he was most alive.

Frank Jaklitsch will be remembered, forever, as a loving husband and father, a faithful friend and a font of compassion. And for the music.

An informal, alcohol-free wake is planned 4-7pm Wednesday (August 17) at the Ancient Order of Hibernians, 375 Ontario Street, Albany. A funeral prayer service is slated for 11am Thursday at St. Michael the Archangel’s Roman Catholic Church, 175 Williams Road, Troy, immediately followed by a celebration of life and seisun at the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Attendees of all events are encouraged to follow Frank’s lead and dress casually, preferably in Mardi Gras colors, Saints’ logos and Hawaiian shirts.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Vincent’s Preschool, 900 Madison Ave., Albany, N.Y. 12208, or the charity of your choice.

Frank Jaklitsch’s obituary (abridged)
Paul Grondahl’s story Local musician, ‘fantastic entertainer’ Jaklitsch dies at 61 at The Times Union

(photo by Joe Deuel)
Frank Jaklitsch & Friends at Caffe Lena (photo by Joe Deuel)

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