Frank J. Parano, Founder of MapleShade Meadows Assisted Living Facility, who during his 35-year healthcare management career pioneered the first independent senior-living facility in Carbon County and introduced Computerized Tomography technology to local hospitals, died Wednesday, March 7, at MapleShade, with his loving daughters at his side. He was 78.
A 1958 graduate of Marian Catholic High School, Frank earned an A.D. in Electrical Engineering (1959) and a B.S. in Business Administration (1961) from The Pennsylvania State University. After Penn State he moved to Delaware County, PA where he worked for Boeing for several years on the CH-47F Chinook helicopter which is still the fastest military helicopter in the world.
Frank entered the world at Coaldale State General Hospital on December 2, 1940 and 47 years later was named its President and CEO. He was the last state administrator of the facility from 1987 to 1992. Prior to his tenure at Coaldale, he held a variety of senior executive roles in local hospitals including Gnaden Huetten (now St. Luke’s in Lehighton); St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hazleton, PA; and, Good Samaritan Hospital in Pottsville, PA where he introduced CAT scan technology to Schuylkill County residents and implemented state-of-the-art equipment which significantly improved the quality of local healthcare.
While working full time and raising a family, he earned a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration from the University of Cincinnati and a Nursing Home Administrator license and began his healthcare consultancy in the northeastern corridor of the United States. His car was once hit by a stray bullet as he was on his way to an assignment in Jersey City, NJ but he soldiered on to fulfill his obligations. He consulted at the Miller Memorial Blood Center in the Lehigh Valley and led the Carbon County Area Administration on Aging.
Turning MapleShade Meadows into a reality in Nesquehoning wasn’t easy, but he wouldn’t give up. After being turned down by over ten investors, he finally connected in 1998 with a group who believed in his visions, even though the concept of assisted living was only in its infancy and virtually unheard of in the Panther Valley.
Frank conceived, designed, built and operated MapleShade which has since provided a home for over 2000 residents in the later stages of their lives. He named the facility “MapleShade” in honor of the maple trees that he carefully pruned and tended in the backyard of the Nesquehoning home where he and his wife Nancy (Zolota) raised their family. During their 39-year marriage, they enjoyed visiting Russia, France, Italy, and enjoyed many trips to New England including Boston, Niagara Falls and their favorite getaway, Martha’s Vineyard. Frank and Nancy shared their strong Catholic faith and enjoyed discussing their respective healthcare careers and politics.
After Nancy passed and he retired from MapleShade, Frank reinvented himself. He built a new home where he hosted his grandchildren to many visits and sleepovers. He loved pushing them on the playground swings and watching them ice skate.
He earned his substitute teaching certification which enabled him to teach grades K-12 for eight years in many local school districts. His last job was a three-month assignment at Panther Valley. He was delighted when students recognized him at local restaurants and he enjoyed their energy and enthusiasm. He taught that there was a reason that God gave us two ears and one mouth – meaning that you should listen twice as much as you speak. He relished teaching history, especially World War II, which his father and many uncles served in. And when much to his chagrin, a student refused to stand to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, he reminded them that it is the flag itself which provided them the liberty to choose not to stand.
Frank was a lifelong member of the former Sacred Heart/St. Francis of Assisi Parishes in Nesquehoning where he was a lector and a man of very strong faith. He often quoted the nuns and priests who educated him at Sacred Heart Grade School. He was also a member of the Carbon County Serra Club and supported many religious vocations.
Frank enjoyed golfing at the Mahoning Valley Country Club where he was a member for many years. He bowled in several leagues. He was a huge Penn State football fan, pro football fan and he loved New York City which he called “The Greatest City in the World.” He loved taking his family on boat rides on all the major waterways up and down the East Coast, but New York was his favorite. He knew every bridge, every waterway and many major landmarks. He was an excellent tour guide. When he was once asked how or why he knew so much about NY he responded, “With all the resources and all the history that this city has, I always felt it was my responsibility to know as much about it as I could.” He and his wife often celebrated his birthday there which coincided with the lighting of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza.
A lifelong resident of Nesquehoning and a 49-year member of the Lions Club and past District Governor, he helped bring the town’s World War II monuments into fruition. He served as a Borough Councilman in the 1970s and 20 years later was asked to run for Mayor which he had to decline as he was busy building MapleShade. He also served for many years as a member and Vice President of the Borough Water Authority.
Frank was pre-deceased by his parents Frank and Beatrice (McCabe) Parano and his sister Kathryn (Parano) Heckman.
He is survived by his two daughters Karen of Wayne, PA and Michelle Greek, of Nesquehoning and her husband, Michael S. Greek, Esq., and two children who he adored, Gabriella and Angelo.
Frank was a trusted advisor to many people. He never sought praise for his work but only wanted to do the right thing for the right reasons. He was a good man.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, March 11th at 11:00 a.m. at The Shrine of ST Theresa of Lisieux, 15 East Garibaldi Ave. Nesquehoning PA, with Rev. Allen Hoffa officiating. Interment will be at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Nesquehoning PA. Calling hours will be held at The Shrine on Monday morning from 9:30-11:00 a.m. Online condolences may be expressed at www.nalesnikfh.com.
Services and arrangements are being provided by the Bruce A. Nalesnik Funeral Home, 57 West Center St. Nesquehoning PA 18240