Father Francis “Frank” Zakshesky, one of diocese’s founding priests, dies

Father Francis “Frank” Zakshesky, one of the 39 original priests of the Diocese of Tyler, has died.

Father Zakshesky died at his home in Sinton, TX. He was 72.

His rosary, led by Bishop Joseph E. Strickland, will be Monday, March 27, at 6 p.m. at Stewart Funeral Home, 7525 Old Jacksonville Hwy., Tyler. Bishop Strickland will celebrate Mass of Christian Burial Tuesday, March 28, at 12:30 p.m. in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Interment will follow in the diocesan section of Rose Hill Cemetery in Tyler.

Father Francis “Frank” Zakshesky, one of the diocese’s founding priests, served parishes in Texarkana, Longview, and Palestine.

Francis Zakshesky was born Sept. 3, 1944, in Alpena, Mich., to Anthony and Regina Kapalla Zakshesky. He was baptized in St. Casimir Church in Posen and graduated from Alpena Catholic Central High School in 1962.

He did not immediately enter the seminary, but chose a career in engineering. He received a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Michigan Technological University in 1966 and a Master of Science in electrical engineering from Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1974.

He spent the next 10 years in Dallas, working for Rockwell International Corporation as an electrical engineer, first in communications and then in computers. He helped design technology used by the U.S. Air Force.

After a decade at Rockwell, he began to discern a vocation to the priesthood. In 1976, he entered Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas and began studying for that diocese.

Father Zakshesky was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Dallas May 2, 1981, at Holy Spirit Church in Duncanville by Bishop Thomas Tschoepe.

He served as parochial vicar in St. Mark Church in Plano (1981-1984) and St. Paul the Apostle Church in Richardson (1984-1985). In July 1985, he was named pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Texarkana.

When the Diocese of Tyler was created in 1987 from the Dioceses of Dallas, Beaumont, and Galveston-Houston, Father Zakshesky was one of 39 priests who were incardinated into the new diocese. He served as an auditor for the Tribunal in the early days of that office. He also was a member of the Priests’ Pension Board.

Father Zakshesky was pastor of Sacred Heart in Texarkana until Oct. 21, 1993, when he was reassigned as pastor of St. Anthony Church in Longview. He served there until 1995, when he moved to Sacred Heart Church in Palestine as priest-in-residence while he sought a chaplaincy in the Federal Correctional System.

In 1996, he requested early retirement from active ministry for medical reasons.

After retirement, he spent some time in his native Alpena, caring for his ailing mother until her death, and then moved to South Texas for health reasons, where he remained until his death.

2 comments

  1. Father Frank was a good man and a good priest.
    May the angels carry him to paradise and present him
    to God the most high. May he rest in peace..

  2. father francis was great. and always helped me out when my parents abused me. I never realized he was that old. he looked so young. does anyone remember a live in priest at sacred heart in Texarkana that was from Wisconsin.

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