December 28, 2010
Born to Croatian immigrants in the hamlet of Alsen, New York on December 9, 1929, Frank lived his early years during the Great Depression on a rented farm on cement plant property. With his twelve brothers and sisters, he learned to farm at an early age, and developed a love for history, poetry, geometry and American literature from his teacher, Miss O'Brien, in the two-room schoolhouse in Alsen.
In 1943, he walked from Alsen to the Embought in Catskill, herding the family's cows up the railroad tracks with his brother Antone, to the farm which his father had purchased. There they cleared the overgrown fields and converted the run-down barns to grow mushrooms. The Bulich Mushroom Company continues today, operated by Frank's sons Mark, Michael, and Joseph.
Frank's life was enriched in 1958 when he married a Manhattanite, the fun loving, freckled and Irish Ann Marie Gray. Vacationing in the Catskills, she caught him off-guard by shooting him with a water pistol at Donnie's Green Lantern in Purling, a place where Frank and his constant buddy, his brother Antone, spent many a Friday and Saturday night in their bachelor years. Frank was an expert marksman and hunter, evidenced by his legendary fourteen-point buck bagged in Twilight Park. However, most would agree that Ann fired the shot that really counted.
Together they had ten children, losing their first-born son Christopher in a drowning accident on the farm in 1961. No doubt Ann's unwavering Catholic faith and their deep love for each other allowed them to turn tragedy into triumph, to have more children and to raise them well. Frank is surivived by his devoted sons: Mark, Michael (wife Michelle), Jeffrey, and Joseph (wife Amy), and his loving daughters: Karen Bulich Moreau, Christina Walsh (husband Timothy), Colleen Stanton (husband Timothy), Johanna Sparling (husband Peter), and Bernadette Kowalski (husband Walter).
The most important thing in Frank's life was his family, and he was a man who taught by example, schooling his children in valuable life skills of work ethic, loyalty to each other, and respect for the person and property of others. He was a teacher every second of his life, whether it was at the kitchen table instructing geography and poetry or at the mushroom houses and fields on how to grow crops, or in the woods identifying and caring for trees and wjildlife, or teaching his sons and grandsons how to hunt and fish.
A life of work was balanced with many moments of fun spent with good friends and family. Rollerskating on Friday nights at the Schneiders' roller rink in Purling was a highlight. The family is deeply grateful to Dr. Robert Schneider, son of Frank and Ann's longtime friends, for his exemplary care of Frank over the last three years.
The greatest source of joy in Frank's life was his grandchildren, whom he taught with the same zeal as his own children, but with the indulgent love allowed by a grandparent. They are Karen and David Moreau's children: Danielle, Justine, Jacolyn, Ally, and John Moreau, Jessica, Matthew, Meghann, Mark and Joseph Walsh, Nick, Sam, Eric, Zach, Tommy, and Kelly Stanton, Tyler, Carly, and Jeremy Bulich, Anna, Katie, and Hunter Bulich.
Frank is also survived by his sisters: Kathryn Bulich Staccio, Mary Rauf, Mildred Brumaghin, and Sandra Traver; his brothers: Antone, Raymond, and James Bulich; as well as more than fifty nieces and nephews.
The family is grateful to all the nurses who cared for Frank, including Tagahi, the staff of Columbia-Greene Dialysis, and to God for giving him to us for 81 years. A celebration of his life will take place in the spring on the Bulich farm. Family and friends are encouraged to stop by the house in the next few weeks and to share some stories of Frank with Ann and family. In the meantime in heaven, there is a table laden with Johanna Bulich's homemade bread, where the port wine is flowing freely and the pinochle games are just beginning.
Private cremation was conducted at the Albany Rural Crematorium under the direction of the Millspaugh Camerato Funeral Home at 139 Jefferson Heights in Catskill. Memorial contributions may be made to the Foundation for Land and Liberty at P.O. Box 135, Feura Bush, NY 12067. Electronic condolences may be posted at www.millspaughcamerato.com