Rev. Frank Halse Jr., 86

Rev. Frank Adams Halse Jr. was born prematurely on a kitchen table in Troy, NY.

The doctor put him into a shoebox lined with cotton balls, then surrounded the box with quart jars of hot water, and told his parents, Frank and Anna (Chatfield) Halse, to pray. He survived that first night and went on to lead a life filled with wonder, laughter, and compassion.

Frank died at age 86, surrounded by loved ones, at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, NY, on March 9, 2014.

He was a bard of bad puns and a poet of both the lives of ordinary people and the endless grace of God. He loved climbing in the Adirondacks, all-night bridge games by the campfire in Osceola, and swimming with loons in Maine.

He believed that communion could be jelly doughnuts and black coffee as easily as it could be bread and wine, and that tomatoes were meant to be eaten the instant they were picked, as long as you remembered to bring the salt shaker into the garden with you.

He was proud to be known as a crossword puzzle snob and refused to write with anything that was not a black, felt-tip pen.

Frank Halse raged against incompetent and corrupt politicians, cynical preachers who manipulated the faithful, most capitalists, split infinitives, and slow drivers who clogged the passing lane. His wrath was mightiest against those who hurt the vulnerable and the weak.

He served as a crew chief for P-51 Mustang planes in the 8th Air Force, 55th Fighter Group, 343rd fighter squadron during the waning days of WWII. The horrors he experienced at the newly-liberated Dachau concentration camp transformed him and led him to dedicate his life to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

He graduated from Boston University School of Theology in 1955 and served for nearly 30 years as a United Methodist minister in churches across Northern and Central New York, and as chaplain at the Wesley Foundation of Potsdam and at Syracuse University. Many of the college students under his care became like sons and daughters to him. Their accomplishments and growth were a great source of pride and their continued presence in his life was a treasured blessing.

In addition to his pastoral work, Frank ran counseling centers in Baldwinsville and North Syracuse.

Frank was preceded in death by his beautiful wife, Joyce Holcomb and his sister, Janet Lashomb.

He is survived by his sisters, Norma Skinner and Barbara Gayle; his daughters, Laurie (Scot) Larrabee and Lisa Stevens; his grandchildren, Stephanie Anderson, Jessica (Ryan) Barsuch, Meredith (Steven) Cheryba, Christian (Maria) Larrabee, and Ryan, April, and Tiffany Stevens; as well as four great-grandchildren, his beloved niece, Rev. Barrie Lyn Foster, and nephews, Karl and Keith Wenzel.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in his name to the Adirondack Mountain Club ( in honor of Frank’s lifelong love of that region.

Services were private.

Arrangements by Foster-Hax Funeral Home, 52 Park St., Pulaski, NY 13142.