Roger and Dona Frantz, left, enjoying the car show at Grandparents Day with Ulla and Plummer Dunkel, who own the displayed vehicle.

For couple, 9/11 a time of remembrance and a time for family

Topton, Pa.    Thursday, September 29, 2016

9/11 has special significance for the Frantz family in a number of ways.

For Roger Frantz, the date not only recalls the effect the terrorist attacks had on the nation, but also reminds him of the fact he once worked at the site of the Twin Towers. The family business for which he worked was originally located at 54 Park Place in Manhattan.

In addition, in the days before the anniversary of 9/11 this year, Roger and his wife, Dona—independent living residents of The Lutheran Home at Topton—and their extended family took time to visit the Flight 93 memorial, the trip a gift from their youngest son, Johnny, and his wife, Gwen.

At the same time, the date also is part of a joyful season for the Frantzes, as it marks the day of the birth of their oldest son, Scott, as well as the beginning of a two-month period in which the family celebrates 12 birthdays.

“It’s like Christmas in October,” says Roger. That may be good because with four generations and 23 family members, it’s sometimes difficult for the couple to spend as much time with their family as they’d like. “We are all so active,” says Dona.

Funds raised from the family-focused event help residents to remain in the community even if they exhaust financial resources.

This year, the 9/11 date had additional significance for the Frantzes as The Lutheran Home at Topton hosted its annual Grandparents Day then.

Celebrated the first Sunday in September, Topton’s Grandparents Day—one of numerous events held regularly by Diakon’s senior living communities—provides a community festivity for residents and their families, who enjoy a classic-car display, bake sale, root beer floats and musical entertainment.

The Frantzes with cherished family photographs.

The Frantzes with cherished family photographs.


Funds raised benefit The Lutheran Home at Topton’s benevolent care fund. “Money raised from this event helps to allow residents to remain in their home at Topton after their personal funds are depleted,” says Lauren Fairchild, activities coordinator for independent living. “The fund is something we all feel strongly about and for which we work to raise funds. We are very proud of our outcome from this event!” This year, the event raised $2,000.

After spending several days in the Pittsburgh area, the Frantzes returned home in time to enjoy the activities held to commemorate Grandparents Day.

Residents of The Lutheran Home since 2012, the couple moved several times throughout their earlier lives—from Pennsylvania to New Jersey and back to Pennsylvania again. They have moved so frequently, in fact, that one son, Jimmy, told them to “lose his number” if they plan to move again.

However, they now say they are nicely settled in an independent living home, which they chose because of its unique, village-like setting.

“We like that all of the cottages are different, very country,” says Dona.

Perhaps just as importantly, Topton is within an hour’s drive of most of their family.

Well-respected in the community, the couple continue to lead active lives by participating in many activities, functions and volunteer activities at The Lutheran Home at Topton. Through those, they bring cheer, creativity and support to other residents, while still making time for their family—all 23 of them.

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