If you were Frank Sablinskas’ friend, you were loved.
His house was your house, his food was your food.
If you were headed down a wrong path, he would sit you down and talk to you, heart to heart, tell you the truth, tell you he loved you, no matter what.
“His idea of being cool was helping people,” said friend Charlie Hammond. “We all judge (others) by the way they talk, or their appearance or what they do for a living, but Frank did not.
“He judged your heart and could tell if you needed guidance to jumpstart your heart, get it on the right track,” Hammond said. “He was a beacon for lost souls and a harbor for battered and bruised hearts.”
Early Friday morning, Sept. 20, Frank Sablinskas died in a vehicle accident. He was 31.
Frank grew up in Old Homosassa, an all-American boy who loved his community, loved his country, loved being near, on and in the water, fishing and swimming. He loved the outdoors, hunting and camping.
He was a talented welder and traveled on a crew with Covanta for about 10 years.
“But he always came back to Old Homosassa, and this past year he moved home to his roots,” said Lindsey Smith, Frank’s girlfriend. “I grew up here, too, but we didn’t meet until a year ago.”
They met at Crump’s Landing, on Frank’s birthday, Sept. 23.
“As soon as we met, we were together,” she said. “He loved my daughter and brought light to her life.”
Family was important to Frank. Although he did not have any siblings, he built a large extended family made up of friends and strangers that would become friends.
“He brought hundreds of people together at his many gatherings and made sure he introduced you to everyone,” Hammond said.
“He was a motivator,” Smith said. “He pushed people to be the best they possibly could be...he helped people get jobs, encouraged them to go to school and be family men.”
Every year on Thanksgiving, Frank hosted a “Friendsgiving” at his house, inviting anyone and everyone.
“He’d cook for two days,” Smith said. “It was the Thanksgiving party that you wanted to go to because no matter who you were, you were welcomed.”
This past 4th of July, Frank took his boat out on the river, towing a smoker behind him. He had bought and cooked ribs and chicken, enough to feed an army, and drove around the springs giving away food to people in their boats.
“To him, that’s America,” Smith said. “He was very patriotic — at his memorial service at Crump’s, everyone wore red, white and blue.”
“Frank was more than just a local, he was an Old Homosassa legend, beloved by his community,” said friend Sean Daughtery. “His door was always open if you needed a place to crash. He was always there to lend a hand — never did he ask for anything in return. He’d take you fishing, hunting or spearfishing, even if you didn’t have the money to go — hell, he would even show you his secret spots...He was as real as it gets.”
Frank Sablinskas was a hard worker, a loyal friend.
He had a dynamic personality, he spoke the truth. He was a leader.
He was a sportsman — and an artist, crafting furniture out of driftwood and creating tile mosaics of aquatic animals, framing them in cedar frames that he made himself.
He wanted to have his own charter fishing business one day. He wanted the whole package, a family of his own.
“His life was vibrant, he was always on the move,” Hammond said. “He worked harder than most and still made time for fishing, hunting, camping and boating. I saw Frank at last three times a week. He came to my barn where I have a large gym. He would work out and we had many talks about life.
“He didn’t hesitate to let you know where you were being led astray,” he said. “Frank will forever be the person we all knew as someone with pure intent and who loved all he came into contact with...He never left your presence without telling you he loved you.”