PORTLAND – Frank Ingerowski and his wife, Mary were married for 72 years.

“It’s a long time, but it doesn’t seem that long,” Mary Ingerowski said on Tuesday. “It seems like yesterday.”

Their love story began with a knock on the door. She had a date with Ingerowski’s good friend. Instead, he showed up to take her out.

“He said, ‘How would you like to go to Old Orchard Beach?’ It was a popular thing to do back then,” she recalled.

Mary Ingerowski, 95, reminisced about the man she called her “prince charming.” She talked about the moment he swept her off her feet, literally.

“When we crossed the railroad tracks in Old Orchard, it was kind of rough so he picked me up and carried me over. I thought that was romantic,” she said. “About a month later, I was ill and he brought me lady slippers that he picked in the woods.”

From then on, the Ingerowskis were pretty much inseparable.

About a week ago, Mr. Ingerowski suffered a stroke. He died on Monday with his wife and family by his side. He was 95.

Mr. Ingerowski grew up in Portland. He graduated from Portland High School in 1934, and then joined the Portland Police Department. As a police officer, he honed his interest electronics and technology by maintaining the department’s communications devices.

He later enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserves and was eventually deployed to serve during World War II.

Soon after the war ended, he joined the Federal Aviation Administration. He was an electronic technician at the Portland International Jetport for about 25 years. He maintained the airport’s instrument landing system.

“He took the job pretty seriously,” his son Frank S. Ingerowski said. “He went out during storms, blizzards, and hurricanes to make sure the equipment was working. He liked the adventure and the challenge. He had a lot of energy. He always worked very hard.”

The Ingerowskis lived in the same home in Portland for the last 55 years. They raised four sons.

The couple enjoyed camping in the White Mountains and vacationing in Florida during the winter months. Every couple of years, they traveled to Europe to visit their son. His wife said he always looked forward to family gatherings.

His son remarked how his father taught him to swim, and change the oil in his car, and do basic carpentry and electrician jobs. He recalled the afternoon his father encouraged him to jump off a small cliff at Sebago Lake.

“He said not to worry. I trusted him and jumped,” his son said. “It was his way of teaching us how to swim. We are all great swimmers today. I have fond memories of my childhood. It was a good childhood. He took us to a lot of places, particularly in the outdoors.”

About six months ago, when his health began to deteriorate, Mr. Ingerowski went to live at the Barron Center in Portland. His wife visited with him every day.

“It was a lovely beginning and a peaceful end,” his wife said. “I can’t complain that he was taken from me ’cause he was sick and he would have suffered. Now, he is at peace. I feel very fortunate I had the life I had with him.”

 

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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