Francis Richard Sopyla passed away on January 21, 2024, surrounded by family.
Francis Richard Sopyla was born in Washington, PA on December 17, 1939, to Stella and Stanley Sopyla. He loved that he and Pope Francis shared a birthday. Frank grew up in Washington and began his career as a paper boy and grocery clerk. He never lost his enjoyment of shopping for groceries. He attended Washington and Jefferson College and played football there. Later, he earned his BA and MBA from Kent State, paying his tuition from working in glass factories, steel mills and as an orderly. While at W & J, he joined Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He continued his friendship with his Delt brothers on Zoom meetings, until the end of his life.
While working as an orderly in a hospital, he fell in love with a beautiful nurse, Carol Dlouhy They enjoyed a 37 year love story. They were blessed with three wonderful children, Lora, Steve and Amy.
He first worked as a chemist after college, followed by becoming a pharmacy rep. That led him to managing health care facilities. First he managed the Euclid Clinic in Ohio and moved on to becoming the CEO of Scripps Clinic in California. A yearning to be back in the Midwest brought Frank and his family to Kansas City to manage Anesthesia Associates. While working at AAKC, he established a medical malpractice agency, Sopyla Insurance Group. When Carol fell out of remission from her multiple myeloma, he hung up his work hat and became her loving full time care giver, for the rest of her life.
After her death in 2000, he found love again with Gerri McNamara VanMeter. They married in 2002. Frank was thrilled that the marriage gave him him two more sons and friends, Jon and Patrick VanMeter and a membership to the Begly Clan. Gerri and Frank celebrated 22 happy years together last November.
Frank treasured his faith, his country, his family, the Kansas City Chiefs and Missouri Tigers. His love of golf, especially with Jim Mallow, brought hours of fun and trophies from Loch Lloyd. His oil paintings are masterpieces. His titles are many, including membership in the McNamara Cousins football games, where he always played on Paul’s team. Grillmaster, King of Maggie Moos, Chairman of Sons of Sopyla Fantasy Football League, best husband, dad, grandpa and friend. He was the official grandchild bragger to anyone who would listen.
Frank’s booming laughter was contagious, when his jokes did not make other’s laugh, he said “if it isn’t funny, then why was I laughing?”
His family will miss so many things like teaching every grandchild to make the sign of the cross in Polish. We especially miss their gentle giant’s wide wing span, that always gave us huge hugs to wipe away our tears and make every problem seem small. He will be forever loved, missed and lives on in our our hearts.
Frank is survived by his wife Gerri and children; Lora (Steve) Durst, Steve (Jeannie) Sopyla, Amy (Paul) Gordon, Jon (Elain) VanMeter and Patrick (Ashley) VanMeter, grandchildren; Abby (Sam), Natalie, Alex, Annie, Paige, Olivia, Emily, Griffin, Jackson, Nicky, Brian and sister Christine Sopyla. Frank was preceded in death by his wife, Carol and his sister and best friend Loretta (Al) Oros
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday January 30, 2024 at Church of the Nativity 3800 W 119th St. Leawood, Ks 66209. A visitation will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 with the Mass beginning at 10:30. A luncheon will follow and a burial will be held at Resurrection Cemetery, Lenexa KS at 1:45 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions in Frank’s name to University of Kansas Health System Cancer Donation/Multiple Myeloma Research 11300 Corporate Avenue MS 9241 Lenexa, Kansas. 66219-1374. Arr: Signature Funerals 816-214-5174.