Francis T. Sganga April 29, 1921 – March 21, 2019

I am Frank’s wife May and he has entrusted to me the duty to tell you how he succumbed the death. He had been plagued with an extensive and persistent skin rash that caused lots of itching. We went from doctor to doctor, emergency room to emergency room. Finally a nurse practitioner said “Maybe it is an infection. Let’s try some antibiotics.” We did that. Between the strength of the antibiotics and all the Benydryl he needed to get any sleep to reduce the itching, he ended up mostly sitting typing his latest book or lying down. Soon the antibiotics cleared up his skin. Then a day or two later he came to me and said his leg really hurt and wanted to go to the ER. It was the third time in less than a week we are going to the ER. I felt his leg below the knee. It was cold, but his right leg was warm. We got to the hospital as soon as we could. Upon examining him, everyone realized that he had a life-threatening condition and needed to be hospitalized “so they could save his leg.” Over the next two days he had two operations on the left leg to relieve the blockages. It just made it worse. Then the other leg at the same time developed the problem of blockages and that leg was unrelieved by surgical treatment. Then, both legs essentially died from the groin down. He was on morphine from the second night he was admitted, and in and out of consciousness. The doctor pulled me aside and had me sign a paper because he was no longer able to make decisions for himself. A few hours later the same doctor pulled me aside and told me they had done all they could do and he could be sent home (I did not have the high level skills to take care of such an ailing person) or sent to hospice. I opted for hospice. Went home to get a few things and then went back to hospice. He arrived about 10:00 p.m. Wednesday March 20th. The room was mint green (his favorite paint color because he loved mint chocolate chip ice cream). They spoke with me in an office while they bathed and medicated him. They were going to put an orange striped tee shirt on him. I asked for a red shirt because all his favorite shirts were red. When I first saw him in hospice he was wearing a red shirt with an American flag on it. He was just about incoherent, but kept trying with all his might to say something. I figured out he was saying “Forgive ME” Forgive ME”. I held his hand and said “Of course I forgive you, but there is nothing to forgive. You have been a wonderful husband who has loved me, taken care of my every need, made me laugh, created books with me, the perfect companion and friend not just a husband. You are forgiven.” His last words were “Good! GOOD!!!” They had a nurse sit there with the both of us. She asked me to tell about our life together. He was smiling and squeezed my hand and went into a mode of perfect peace. Another nurse came into the room and said I think his breathing has changed. Let’s make the chair next to him into a bed.” As I got into the newly made up convertible bed, the head nurse whispered into his ear “Now fly with the angels!” All of a sudden every muscle in his face flexed into a huge smile and his closed eyes changed as he looked first to the left and then to the right in surprised like he was greeting some people he hadn’t seen in a long time. He settled down as we were left alone for about 15 minutes. I felt his hand squeeze mine for the last time. I watched as the carotid artery in his neck gradually lessened and lessened its rhythmic pulse, and then it stopped ever so peacefully.

You know how you hear there is a death gurgle at the end. Not with Frank. He had the most peaceful leaving of his earthly body, and I have no doubt he is in a Heavenly realm. He has left this world of pain and rejection, and is with the One Who is all love.
Even in death, he held my left hand in his right hand and I not letting go even as the nurse came into the room, checked him and then announced “He is gone”.

He will never be forgotten. Everyone has their own “Frank” story as his life touched so many people. We are going to celebrate his life soon at a graveside service once we can coordinate that all the family that wants to attend can. He will be buried at the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery in Mims, FL.


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