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Frank J. Barnicle, Times guest columnist, dies

Frank J. Barnicle, who shared his life and his love of words and books as a Times guest columnist for two decades, died Monday (Oct. 27, 1997). He was 82.

Mr. Barnicle had pancreatic cancer and was under hospice care when he died, said his daughter, Leslee Barnicle of Aurora, Colo.

"Right to the end, he was full of life _ lived every day fully and felt that everything mattered," Ms. Barnicle said. She said her father was excited that his first book, Life, Love and Laughter was set for release in two weeks by Southern Heritage Publishers in St. Petersburg.

Mr. Barnicle was active in Friends of Clearwater Library since his retirement in 1977 and became a Clearwater Library Board member in 1983.

Dr. David Berry, a fellow library board member who wrote the introduction to Mr. Barnicle's book, said Wednesday that there was a reason for Mr. Barnicle's popularity. "He will be remembered for his special way of communicating with people," Berry said. "He always had a funny story."

Mr. Barnicle established the Geraldine M. Barnicle Memorial Scholarship in 1994 to honor his late wife of 42 years. Their love story was often a subject of his columns.

His daughter said the $1,000 scholarship will be awarded annually to a graduating Pinellas County public high school senior planning to major in education for a career in teaching.

Mr. Barnicle was born in Natick, Mass., and came here in 1977 from Boston, where he had been an insurance agent and writer. He was an Army veteran of World War II.

He was a member of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, Largo, and Turner Brandon Post 7 American Legion, Clearwater, and was past financial secretary of J.F. Kennedy Council Knights of Columbus, Clearwater. Along with the Times guest columns, Mr. Barnicle wrote for the now-defunct Clearwater Sun, the Catholic Digest and other publications.

In a 1995 column, former Times staff writer Bob Henderson paid tribute Mr. Barnicle, who sometimes wrote under the name Knarf Elcinrab (Frank Barnicle spelled backward _ much like the character it personified). "Frank Barnicle wrote the kind of newspaper column that made readers feel he was a personal friend," Henderson wrote. "He wrote about the first lady, about famous mayors, about baseball players, about church leaders, about comedians _ but best of all he wrote about little people with big hearts."

Mr. Barnicle became engaged in June to Jackie Theisson of Largo, whom he met at Hospice of the Florida Suncoast at Oaks of Clearwater ACLF when she was activities director there.

Other survivors include a sister, Patricia Young, Port Charlotte; a half brother, Robert Donahue, Virginia Beach, Va.; and a stepbrother, James Donahue, East Dennis, Mass.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday with a wake at 6:30 at Curlew Hills Funeral Home, 1717 Curlew Road, Palm Harbor. Funeral Mass will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, 1955 S Belcher Road, Largo. Burial will follow at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens.

_ Information from Times files was used in this report.