BANGOR, Maine — Frank Soucy Jr., co-founder of the Bangor institution Frank’s Bakery, died Thursday morning in Bangor. He was 86 years old. He retired from the bakery in the fall of 2010 at the age of 84.
“Frank’s idea of retirement was coming back up to the bakery to visit,” said Bernadette Gaspar, Soucy’s niece, who currently runs the bakery. “He loved to bake. He loved being around people. He was always such an active person. He had a good, long life.”
Soucy opened Frank’s Bakery in 1945 with his brother Joe Soucy and father Frank Soucy Sr. As he stated in a Bangor Daily News interview at the time of his retirement in October 2010, the bakery was the right business at the right time. His father was the head baker at the University of Maine, his brother was sorting mail on the railway, and Frank Soucy himself was working at Dow Air Force Base. Neither brother liked their job.
“My brother didn’t like his job at all with all the travel, so my dad suggested the three of us get together and start a bakery,” said Soucy. “And we did, with $200 between the three of us.”
In the ensuing six decades, Soucy and family became beloved in Bangor for their doughnuts, cookies, pies, cakes, eclairs, bread, sandwiches and more. The first shop was located on Hancock Street, followed two years later by a move to the old A&P store on State Street, where Frank’s Bakery has remained for 64 years.
The space itself has undergone many renovations over the years, but as a business, Frank’s has remained largely the same, with weekly lunch specials, friendly staff and countless longtime customers. Soucy enjoyed many of the treats his bakery produces, but he professed last year that eclairs were his favorite.
“He was very knowledgeable about everything,” said Gaspar. “There are a lot of years of baking knowledge there. Everything’s been passed down. His father was self-taught, and he taught Frank and Joe everything. And then they taught everyone else. He knew how to fix things if someone screwed something up. He just knew what he was doing.”
Soucy taught his secrets to current owners Gaspar, Theresa Soucy, Joseph Soucy, Richard Soucy and Fleurette Dow, so the bakery isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. For the past year he lived on the shore of Phillips Lake in Dedham, and has three children: Dianne, Mary Elizabeth and Frank III, who is a Naval Criminal Investigative Science agent in Virginia. He is predeceased by his wife, Mary.
Upon his retirement last year, Soucy, ever the hard worker, shared his thoughts on taking it easy, after nearly 70 years in the business.
“It is a happy and sad day because I’ve worked right up until this year, but I decided maybe I ought to semiretire anyway,” said Soucy, who enjoyed fishing and ice fishing in his spare time. “I think just not coming to work is what I’ll enjoy, not having to look at a clock, although I automatically wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning. I always do.”
Funeral services for Soucy will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 9, at St. John’s Catholic Church in Bangor. A celebration of his life will follow in the Parish Hall.