Wake! For the Sun, who scatter'd into flight
The Stars before him from the Field of Night
Drives Night along with them from Heaven
And strikes the Sultan's Turret with a Shaft of Light
- Omar Khayyan
  • 91 years old
  • Born on August 12, 1928 .
  • Passed away on October 18, 2019 .
Frank Kaler Sr. passed away peacefully on Friday, October 18th, 2019 surrounded by his loving family at the age of 91.

Frank was born on August 12th, 1928 to parents Frank & Lena Kaler in New York City. He grew up in Franklin, New Jersey and went to college at Rider University where he studied journalism. While at Rider University, Frank wrote many spirited articles on topics of the day and campus life. After graduating, he worked as a reporter and a journalist. Soon after, he was stationed in Okinawa during the Korean War where he served as a corporal and specialist in small arms. Years later, he followed in the family trade and started his own painting contracting business. In 1953 he met Rita Douglas and they were married in 1954. Together they raised four children in South Brunswick.

Frank was an avid fisherman, long distance runner, and poet. For years, Frank was passionate about bringing awareness to the water pollution problem that poisoned their well water. He was an activist who sought to bring justice to those affected by the pollution; driving the production of, “In Our Water”, an Academy Award nominated documentary film directed and produced by Meg Switzgable. He is described by loved ones as intelligent, a vivid story teller, tactful, persistent, articulate, sharp witted, and an amazing teller of the funniest jokes.

Frank Kaler Sr. is predeceased by his siblings; Ann Kaler, Elsie Feller, Gertrude Headstrom, Alfred Slobuski, and Shirley Paxton. Frank is survived by his loving wife, Rita Douglas Kaler of 66 years and 5 months, who he often characterized as, “his angel”. Frank will be remembered as the beloved patriarch of his family, survived by daughter Ann Zullo and husband Joseph, son Frank and wife Tanya, son David and wife Sherrie. Daughter Lisa Kaler, grandchildren Sarah, Erin, Jesse, and Emily, and great grandson Frank. He will be sorely missed by everyone that knew him.

There was a closed service with immediate family. In lieu of flowers, donations in Frank's name can be made to the below foundations in which were meaningful to him. 

Rutgers Law Clinic -  Click here to donate to Rutgers Law Clinic

Veterans Administration - Click here to donate to the Veterans Administration

"I reached for a moonbeam one summery night & that moonbeam danced shyly out of my sight taking with it and stealing from me the thrill of holding that moonbeam on my knee. So I acted as if I were only bored that moonbeam came back on its own accord"      - Frank Kaler Sr.

Posted by Meg Switzgable on November 13, 2019
Our Dear Frank, 

We will miss you.

It has been an honor to know you, your loving wife Rita and your wonderful children. Our close relationship with your amazing daughter Ann continues the thread you began.

Your clarion voice and heroic efforts inspired us all. You fought fearlessly to protect your family, your neighbors, your community and your country. You exposed our government’s inability and unwillingness to confront the problem of poisoned water.

A sage poet with a warrior’s persistence, you eloquently and generously allowed us through our movie In Our Water to share your journey so others might be be warned.

Meg Switzgable & Mona Davis
Posted by Lisa Kaler on November 5, 2019
I have been at such an intense loss, since my Fathers death and in the days which lead up to his death, in ways that I never could have imagined. My father was and will persist in definition as a "Force of Nature" Dashing movie star good looks, sharp wit, intense opinions with an ability to observe the world and muse on the mysteries and the wonder and disappointment in this life with true grit and reality. He was so tough and thouroughly sure of who he was and who he believed us to be, that it was often painful to witness the reflection of his expectation ; that when he held that mirror to our face to help us fully uncover and reveal the power and the beauty he wanted for us to see in ourselves that we would know it too. I do know that that's what he wanted for me and for everyone in his family. My father did and will always remain a huge presence in my mind and In my heart. He instilled in us a strong work ethic, always employing us to dig in the garden especially because we didnt want to but because it had to be done, to organize in the garage and basement and bedroom. To weild a hammer or an axe or aim a soldering iron because everyone needs to know how to fix things. Never to settle for second best or an easy way out but to strive to reach farther than we thought possible.  My heart aches with this loss of you , Poppy , in a bigger way than I thought possible but I suppose it is comparable only to the love I have had for your life and what you have meant to me over all these years. May you forever rest with the stars or the wind or the water or wherever you are in this expanse and in particular in the memories of those who loved you. Peace.
Posted by Sarah Mongelli on November 1, 2019
Hi Pop.

I miss you so much. My heart broke all over again when I went to visit Grandma this week and you didnt swing yourself around in your computer chair to say, "Hey Rabbit".

I find comfort in remembering how you spent your last days surrounded by your family; telling stories, reciting poems, smiling, and laughing. Thank you for bringing us all back together.

I find comfort in the memories - there are so many! You were a second father to me, I miss your hugs and resting my head on your shoulder.

You taught me how to bait a hook and cast a line. You taught me the importance of a pause when telling a story. I will always remember gathering blackberries, picking daffodils, getting eggs from the chicken coop, and you pushing us grandkids on the swing that hung in the backyard. I try my best to revisit your stories and poems.

I tell baby Frankie stories about you all the time - he likes when I tell him how you used to hook a dollar bill onto a fishing line and cast it out into the Englishtown market. We would watch and crack up as people would chase the dollar bill down. I will forever be telling him the stories & reminiscing on my memories of you.

Posted by Cory Farrell on October 29, 2019
Met Frank once and what a first impression he made! Smart, witty and full of opinions.
Wonderful tribute to a beautiful man.
Wishing you all fond memories.
Posted by John Rymas on October 28, 2019
Frank Kaler was 15 years older than me, almost a generation, but not quite. As friends I believe that gave us both a unique perspective regarding many things. He was just about to leave an "era," and I was just about to jump in with something new. I guess that was what made our many conversations so interesting. We were bridging the gap between the 15 years that separated us. I learned quite a lot from listening to Frank and I feel he learned something from me as well. Good friends over the past 35 years -- talking and fishing, and then talking about fishing. Many fluke and striper trips to the Naval fishing pier in Leonardo, to Brielle, Point Pleasant, Belmar, the Shrewsbury/Navesink, the Spyglass House in Middletown, and a couple of great trips that we made up to Round Valley Reservoir for some freshwater fishing.
Frank was truly an accomplished man. I'm feeling the loss right now. Our conversations were priceless.
Posted by Susan (Kumpf) Caruso on October 27, 2019
Dave, Annie & family,
My Deepest Sympathy on the loss of your father, husband, grandfather & in-law,
You were so Blessed to have your father for 91 years, that he was there for all the happy times in everyone's life he touched. I never knew your dad, but what I do know of David & Annie that he did something wonderful, because they are the most beautiful & loving people anyone are lucky to have met.
May the family be at peace, because you know your father is.
    With love from the bottom of my heart
            Susan Caruso
Posted by Erin Lamanna on October 21, 2019

You are so dearly missed already. You were such a loving strong passionate man and I will be forever grateful that you were a part of my life. I’ll always remember the fishing trips that you would take us on and for holding the fish for me that I was too squeamish to touch myself, and picking blackberries in the back yard and being thrown into the barrel of corn. And when you would hook a dollar bill to your fishing rod and cast it out in the yard and have us chase it for hours. But your smile is what I’ll miss the most. I know you’ll be right by my side when I write our New York Times Best Seller.

Love and miss you,
Your rabbit
Posted by Paula Michie on October 20, 2019

Annie and Family,

  I've Never met your dad, through the stories you shared, I Felt as if I Had.
He seemed like a Character who lived by his own Terms.
That's how it should be.

Keep your Hearts full with precious Memories that you will have forever.
He is at Peace, but within you all still.

Posted by Sea.11952verion.net Zullo on October 18, 2019
Let the memory of Frank be with us forever. I will always miss you Dad. Love, Ann

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