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Fran Remembered

by Joe St. Clair
June 2002

When you have been associated with someone, as my family and I have been over a period of 50 years, it is most difficult to hide deep emotions. To me Fran meant, and will always mean, more than friendship. He has also meant the sharing of, and the belief in the fundamental values of Scouting, and living and working in the White Stag program.

For the St. Clair’s (or as we were known at the time, Szentkiralyis) Fran was the first American friend in a new country where we were transplanted from our native Hungary. Fran and his wife and partner in Scouting, Jean, remained our best friends until the day they both joined Maria, my wife and partner in the love of Scouting and White Stag, in the afterlife we all will go to. We shared one another’s joys and sorrows and Maria and I were privileged to spend a lot of time with both Fran and Jean during the last few difficult years of her life.

We cherish the picture Fran gave us of himself and Jean, and this is the way we will always remember them: always cheerful, optimistic and resourceful. And this was Fran’s greatest contribution to Scouting and the White Stag program.

You, the younger generations of White Stag who worked with us, liked to call us — Béla, Fran, Joe, and Paul — the Founders! The last three in this list always considered Béla the founder and the rest of us the foundation that forever supported, each in his own way and commensurate with his talents, the program that Béla conceived and developed.

I remember Fran as one who always listened, made constructive and practical comments, and then saw to it that the theories, and the processes based on these theories, were translated into action plans that led to results reflecting truthfully the expectations of the program. He was everywhere, stood by everybody, and did everything he expected anybody else to do. No detail was too small to escape his attention; no participant too young or inexperienced to be helped; and no task to little not be be performed by himself, if necessary.

In other words, he set an example for others by doing, performing, and producing. This is what made him an indispensable team member, and yet a most valued friend. For this he was recognized in Scouting on the local, national, and international levels. Did Fran have disappointments? Of course he did. But he never let these, and those who caused them, to abandon the path he chose for himself to follow. And he never spoke ill of anyone. These are the qualities I valued most in Fran — and these are the qualities for which he will be remembered.

 
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