Fr. Frank Midura was the first pastor of Our Lady of Hope parish, established in 1987 in Carle Place. I was 13 at the time, and my family had attended Mass there for four years when it was the chapel of St. Brigid, but I still think of Fr. Midura as my first pastor. At the time, I was considering the priesthood and took the chance to couch my questions about it in an interview for school.
He was accommodating, informative, and approachable. He also served as a U.S. Army chaplain and volunteer fireman. I remember him training every year. I remember him leaving to serve in the first Gulf war. Most of all, though, I remember him visiting our house the day before my father died from pancreatic cancer. Despondent as I was, the visit was most unexpected and welcome. Fr. Midura's greatest gift, in my opinion, was his way with people, knowing how to approach them, how to lead them.
As much as I miss my father, he couldn't have gone under better circumstances, visited by a respected friend, and finally with his family around him. Fr. Midura had undergone several heart procedures in recent years but continued to serve at St. Thomas More in Hauppauge. Passing last night, he didn't live the longest life, but one of the fullest and most purposeful.