Hector Frausto

Obituary of Hector Frausto

I wish I could have asked Hector, “What is a life worth living?” Knowing him, I can only imagine two reactions. The first reaction would have been an exasperated tirade, motioning as if to slap a hand before it got into the cookie jar. The second response would have been more introspective, calm, and thoughtful. Nevertheless, the words he undoubtedly would have used are the same—“What kind of question is that? You only have one life! So live it!” And he did, even though it was never an easy life. Our beloved hermano and Tio, Hector, did live his life in a way that would make any family proud. Born in México, one of nine children, a farmer’s son, Hector came to the United States with his family in his teenage years. He started high school as soon as he arrived at Dwight D. Eisenhower High School in Blue Island not knowing a single word of English. His only friend and companion at school was his twin brother. He worked hard and was able to graduate, fondly remembering some of his teachers during that short time. Just like any teenager, he was eager to strike out on his own, no matter the consequences, deciding to enlist in the United States Army in 1977. He served on active duty and the reserves before being honorably discharged in 1983. His love of cooking pushed him to return to school and obtain his foodservice and sanitation licensure and began working in restaurants before transitioning and working as a teacher’s assistant at the end of his working life. He would also spend time with his 16 nieces and nephews, born within four different decades, being one of the first mentors to all of them. What made him beloved by them was his wit, humor, and love. He passed on to the first generation born to Mexican immigrants a love of movies, art, education, music, and theatre. He also passed on the importance of gathering as a family to share in tradition, ritual, and story. If you were to ask those 16, now adults, about their Tio, each one can tell you a story. Some might recall the transformational first visit to the top of the Sears Tower, a first visit to the beach on the shores of Lake Michigan, watching their first movie with popcorn at the theater, the times he would come over just to check-in and share a laugh, helping in the kitchen for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, always being the DJ at any family gathering, teaching children how to respect one’s elders, and greeting all family (even very distant relatives) whenever he saw them on the street. And on, and on, and on. To return to the question of “What is a life worth living,” I guess it is one that does not fit on one page—or an entire volume of books. One lived through trials and successes. One that always brought love, laughter, and the ability to be as naughty as the 8-year old playing pranks. A life that is always shared and always remembered with love and admiration. Though his father (Juan) and mother (Petra) left this Earth before him, he is still survived by three sisters (Ofelia, Oliva, and Elvira), five brothers (Ruben, Rodolfo, René, Lauro, and Alfredo), all his nieces and nephews, the entire extended family, and many others who he counted as friends. His ashes will be interred in México by his mother’s side. Though his life ended too soon, his stories will live on in the hearts of those who knew him best. May we all aspire to the goodness you shared, Hector. Con amor, one of your “little hamburgers”
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