A “Birthday In Heaven”: Celebrating The Joyful Life Of Frank Kutnicki, Of Blessed Memory


WITH the passage of time, a personal decision was taken to no longer mark the date of death of Frank Kutnicki (of blessed memory) publicly. On the other hand, his “birthday in heaven” is celebrated both privately and publicly; in a manner befitting a man whose essence is best described as one who lived life with a joie de vivre that few are ever able to achieve, this writer included. 

IN this regard, his joyful embrace of life immediately springs to mind, whenever July 31 nears. As such, even though no longer among the (earthly) living, celebrating Frank Kutnicki’s (of blessed memory) life well-lived feels like a natural outgrowth; a tribute and fitting legacy to mark his “birthday in heaven.”

INDEED, the above referenced joyfulness is fully resonant with those who knew him the best and miss his presence, until this day. Most especially, two loving sons; two siblings; a brother-in-law, more like his brother and best friend, as well as a “partner in crime”; an  extended family; close friends, and many devoted (tax) clients. So much so, a few noted (upon his sudden passing) that they looked forward to tax season, just to be able to spend time with him! In the history of gathering ones (dreaded) tax papers, how often has such a sentiment been expressed?

BUT those who missed out the most, knowing but not knowing (through pictures, videos, stories, and more) the quintessence of this most gentle and humble soul, are his precious little grandchildren. For it is out of the mouths of babes that reminders of Frank Kutnicki (of blessed memory) loom largest at this end.

HOW else can one explain such “out of the blue” comments, for example:

My saba (grandfather) is a “good ghost”, and he watches over me and the family in the shemayim (heavens) all the time.

Meanwhile, another chimes in:

Saba is the last star to go to sleep at night, he waits until I fall sleep.

YES, out of the mouths of babes.

IT is due to the above, and so much more, that this writer marks today with a most meaningful tradition; a “birthday in heaven” celebration. Designated with the release of balloons from atop a most scenic and tranquil overlook — high above Haifa’s stunning landscape — this vista is tailor-made for such a special day. It embodies the vast expanse of Frank Kutnicki’s (of blessed memory) open and generous heart, and the warm embrace missed by those who knew him the best.   

Happy Birthday in Heaven

BUT it would be remiss not to mention the genesis of this personal tradition; that which harks back to one week after landing in Israel, 13 years ago. No sooner did these feet hit the ground in Israel, his birthday loomed overhead, larger than life.

AND feeling as if it was impossible to even put one foot in front of the other, the aforementioned “brother-in-law, more like his brother and best friend, as well as a partner in crime”, came up with the idea to mark this day with a release of balloons (from our hearts to his) at a nearby trail that felt appropriately tranquil. Dear brother, thanks for that.

THE rest is “birthday in heaven” history…. 

ALAS, as someone whose spirit lightens when belting out a song, the following is not only hauntingly beautiful, but speaks to this heart  — just substitute Laura with Frank.