By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large
PORT COLBORNE – A funeral Mass is being held Saturday, January 19, 2019 for Frank Sernak, the former long-time news director at CHOW radio.
The Mass will be celebrated at 1 p.m. at St. John Bosco Church, 375 West Main St., Port Colborne. The pastor, Father Peter Walton, will be the presider.
Mr. Sernak, whose real-life surname was Cservenyak, died Sunday, December 2.
He was 83.
He was for many years a popular newsman and newsreader at the local station with a large and loyal following of listeners. His death prompted bouquets of warm, complimentary responses and reactions from them on social media. One of those commentators was former Welland resident Stanley Szymkow, a musician and long-time fan, who said Mr. Sernak was “An institution!” Another comment was from Russ Findlay, who posted from his home in the Philippines: “Frank was a great guy. Always gracious and kind, and willing to talk. ”
In the Blizzard of ‘77, Mr. Sernak and a few other employees were holed up in the station on Forks Road, isolated from everyone yet in touch – over the airwaves and telephone – with thousands of listeners. Throughout the weekend ordeal, his on-air voice became a steadying, calming, comforting influence during some worrisome, even frightening, hours for many.
He is also remembered for a selfless community spirit that made him part of local events especially in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a dignified master of ceremonies for several Rose Festival coronation balls, a Rose Festival parade commentator and host for Welland Winter Carnival events. This volunteerism also applied to various Port Colborne activities and elsewhere as well.
His authoritative coverage of elections, whether municipal, provincial or federal, gave a respected professionalism to the local station that was “1470” on the AM dial.
The death notice for Mr. Sernak appeared in local media December 4 and an updated notice is in the Monday, January 14 edition of The Tribune. It can be found at:
(Note: A Lasting Image feature on Mr. Sernak appeared on the blog December 8.)