On a gorgeous, sunny morning this week, an honorary cavalcade of motorcycle police from Harrison, Mamaroneck and White Plains joined members of the Harrison Shield and Cross Motorcycle Club in the funeral cortege of "Big Frank" Untener.
Shield and Cross operates with a core mission to raise money for charitable works. These are men who have done wonderful things for our community and Untener had been a key player for five years.
The membership shared shock and grief when news came on Saturday that 47-year-old Untener—also known as "the Gentle Giant"—had fallen down stairs, broken his neck and died.
“He was one of the most kind-hearted men I will ever know,” said fellow member Ed Di Buono. “He is the first of our group to wear the vest in Heaven.”
Untener, who was over six-feet tall and had a long ponytail, full beard and sported heavy-duty biker clothes, simply showed up one Sunday morning outside the donut shop where the group met and asked if he could tag along. With his height and girth, who was going to say no to him? No one knew his name when he joined the round-trip ride to Duchess County that first morning but Untener didn’t miss a ride for a year after that and went from anonymity to Big Frank, the gentle giant, a key member of the club.
Eddie Lucas, co-president of Shield and Cross, spoke of Untener’s commitment to others in the group.
“Frank never hesitated to help us on a club level or personally," Lucas said. "He was truly and genuinely a great guy, and more than that, a great friend who we will all miss. The day Frank just showed up was a gift for all of us, and we are very lucky to have been able to say he is a brother and friend.”
Despite his intimidating size, Untener was known for his good nature and complained only when forced to drive behind fellow member Ed Di Buono’s motorcycle with its loud exhaust pipes. As a joke, the group did everything imaginable to always get Big Frank behind Di Buono on every ride. Once that placement lasted all the way to Rhode Island and back. When the ride was over Big Frank swore he was almost deaf.
In Wednesday’s funeral procession, Di Buono asked to be the last in the line of bikes leading the hearse that carried Big Frank. It just seemed appropriate for the group to set Big Frank up with those loud pipes one more time.
Untener may be gone but he will not be forgotten. An email from the club leadership alerting members of his passing read:
“It is with great sorrow and heavy hearts that we announce that our brother Big Frank passed away in the early morning hours today. Rest assured that Frank will be our angel, watching over us in all endeavors we take on, and while watching he will be smoking a big cigar and having a Jack-and-Ginger. Although he is no longer here, he will be in our hearts with all we do in the future.”