In 2015 Frank Barletta went on a road trip to middle Tennessee to retrace the steps of the 101st Ohio Volunteer Infantry and one of its men, then Private George S. Myers, from Stone River to Chickamauga, Georgia, where the regiment fought September 19-20, 1863 in the second bloodiest battle of the Civil War. For his actions on the 19th – he “saved the regimental colors by great personal devotion and bravery” – Sergeant Myers, promoted May 1, 1865, was awarded the Medal of Honor. (Frank wrote a lengthy story about his trip for the November 11, 2015 issue of the Old Baldy newsletter.)
Since the journey South, Frank has been fascinated with the life of Sergeant Myers, so much so “I’m going to write a book. I don’t know if I’ll ever finish.” He is trying to find information about the before and after of the Sergeant’s time in the Civil War (1862-1865) by reading newspapers, diaries of the regiment soldiers, and maps. “I’m a maps guy. I love studying maps. Every step that George made, I followed along.” Given where Frank spent the early part of his life, his book could very well be about the Revolutionary War.
Born in 1943 in Boston Massachusetts, Frank spent 35 years in New England and the rest of his time in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. When he was ten, Frank worked during the summer at his father’s heavy construction company and his job was to fill the kerosine “bombs” or lanterns used to alert drivers of nearby construction work. His mom used to make him wear rain gear because it was a dirty and smelly task. Frank picked up another skill on the job – cleaning lumber or taking the nails out of planks. A kid being a kid, Frank decided to hammer the nails back in instead and he could do it with two or three strikes of the hammer. The neighborhood kids found out how fast he was and would give him twenty-five cents to hit nails at the town carnival and win them a prize. Frank won every time.
Grown-up Frank graduated in 1961 from Catholic Memorial High School, and then went on to St. Anselm College in New Hampshire where he earned a BA in Economics. He worked 37 years for Collier International; head of facilities for 30 years, selling churches for seven.
Away from real estate, Frank has been a seven-year volunteer for the New Jersey Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. His primary job is to advocate for people living in long-term care facilities by investigating and resolving complaints made by them or by others on their behalf. “The work is critical. Covid showed that some of these places are not great.”
With a love for history, Frank is or has been involved with numerous related organizations and projects. In 1976, Frank, with his American Revolution living historians group, recreated a British Army Grenadier with the 3rd Regiment of Foot to serve as an honor guard for Queen Elizabeth II when she visited the Concord and Lexington Battlefield site for our nation’s Bicentennial. He made his own clothing, even his own bearskin hat.
As a 10-year member of the Old Baldy CWRT, Frank has served as a board member and is currently treasurer, a position he has held for the past five years. In October 2018 Frank spearheaded the Civil War Naval Symposium on board the Battleship New Jersey in her berth at Camden (Delaware River). It featured several well-known experts in the history of the Civil War navies, sixteen exhibitors, and period songs. “I’m very proud of putting that together. It was a grand affair. The first time a Civil War Naval symposium was onboard the ship.”
Frank is on the advisory committee for Homecoming 250 Navy Marine Corps, a charity created to host the main celebrations of the Navy and Marine Corps 250th birthdays in 2025 in Philadelphia and on the Delaware River. (Speaking of history, Frank’s grandfather is a second cousin to Harry S. Truman!)
Horseshoes, bowling, pickleball, Tai-Chi – they all keep Frank feeling fit and young-er. Oh yeah, and he is a BIG Phillies fan. Frank’s wife, Sandy, bought him in July 2017 a gift certificate to take a yoga class at the ballpark. On the field. With hundreds of other people. A free ticket to the Phillies evening game was the reward. “The best gift my wife ever gave me! It was the coolest thing! Even the Philly Phanatic did yoga!
Frank and his wife, Sandy, share 41 years of marriage. They live in Marlton, New Jersey with their two rescue dogs, Shiloh and Wally.
Profile written by Kim Weaver