Frank Antun Jr., Long Island Catering and Restaurant owner of...

Frank Antun Jr., Long Island Catering and Restaurant owner of the 70's, 80, and 90's has passed away at the age of 74. Credit: Handout

Frank Antun Jr. loved people. He loved the restaurant business, and he loved to sing -- sometimes startling customers when he broke out in song. Most of all, he loved to have fun.

His family said Antun, who once owned Antun's Old Country Manor catering hall in Hicksville, lived life to the fullest. He died Feb. 26 at his home in Jensen Beach, Fla., after a brief bout with cancer. He was 74.

"He loved people," said daughter-in-law Lori Antun of Jericho. "He loved to cook for people. He wanted them to have fun . . . He would break out and sing something from 'Man of La Mancha' or a Jerry Vale song."

Her husband, Frank P. Antun, added that his father's singing "kind of freaked them out sometimes." The younger Antun laughed at the memory of the unsuspecting customers.

Family members said they are proud of Antun's legacy.

"He loved life. He loved his businesses," Frank P. Antun said.

"I feel like he left his mark on Long Island," Paula Antun of Hicksville said of her father, describing him as an inspiration. "He always had restaurant advice. He had such a passion for it. He had such great insight into what people wanted," she said.

Francis Paul Antun Jr. was born in St. Albans, Queens, and grew up in Queens Village. He attended LaSalle Military Academy in Oakdale in the 1950s, though he left before graduating to enlist in the U.S. Navy, his family said. He retired from the Navy in 1959 and soon entered the restaurant business with his father, Frank Sr., who died in 1994.

Frank Antun Sr. was a co-owner of Antun's Queens Village, a well-known gathering place for politicians. The catering hall is still operating, without the Antun family as an owner. A 1988 Newsday article noted the hall's popularity with Democrats, drawing local pols and the likes of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson and Jimmy Carter.

Frank Antun Jr. established Antun's Old Country Manor in Hicksville, which now has different owners, the Davenport Press, a restaurant in Mineola, also under different ownership, and the now-defunct Piping Rock Restaurant in Westbury.

Antun retired at age 50 and divided his time between homes in Lake Bomoseen, Vt., and initially Port St. Lucie, Fla., before moving to Jensen Beach, his family said. Lori Antun said he wanted to enjoy other passions: fishing, boating and golfing.

In the 1990s, he "got bored in his retirement" and opened a restaurant in the Port St. Lucie area called Franko's, Lori Antun said.

Antun was predeceased by his second wife, Barbara, who died in 2002. His first marriage -- to Laura Antun of Bethpage, the mother of his two children -- ended in divorce. She survives him.

Other survivors include five stepchildren John Cody of Colorado Springs, Eileen Cody of Port St. Lucie, Charles Cody of upstate Cambridge, Danny Cody of Albany and Chris Cody of Rutland, Vt.; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Antun was cremated and his ashes interred in All Saints Cemetery in Port St. Lucie.

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