Francis X. Kilgannon started the paralegal program at Nassau Community College as one of its first adjunct professors. Having taught business law there for more than half a century, Hempstead’s lawyer could also win the crown as the college’s longest-serving teacher.
“He had to have clones,” said his daughter, Kara Symington, 52, of Rocky Point. “He never stopped.
Kilganon, known to many as Frank or FXK, turned down teaching offers elsewhere in order to continue training students from working-class families at community college. Outside of the classroom, he frequently dealt with cases fighting for educational services for students with disabilities, often on a voluntary basis. In one case, he secured funding from a local school district for a deaf child to receive tutoring through high school.
“He was always a very generous and open man who tried to help anyone who needed it,” said his brother, Owen Kilganon, 82, of Nassau Shores.
Frank Kilganon was a fixture in the Nassau court system and a member of the Nassau County Bar Association for over 50 years.
“People in the courthouse at all levels knew him,” said his nephew, Corey Kilgannon, 55, of New York City.
Frank Kilganon died on May 23 in Hempstead of complications from a stroke. He was 82 years old.
Kilganon was born on October 6, 1938 in Rockville Center to Irish immigrants. He grew up in West Hempstead and was a proud alumnus of Chaminade High School. He completed his college education at the University of Dayton for a year before moving to St. John’s University, where he received his Bachelor of Business Administration. He received his law degree from New York University. Besides his stint in Ohio, Kilganon spent his entire life in Hempstead and West Hempstead. He was the first Chairman of the Board of Trustees of St. Thomas the Apostle School in West Hempstead.
Kilganon married his wife, Susan, on August 22, 1964. They had five children. He has taken care of adoptions for many families, including his own: two of his children are adopted and several of his relatives have also adopted.
Kilgannon also lent a hand wherever his family needed it.
“He was the one they called and the one who was there for everyone in the family,” said his sister, Mary Abatemarco, 80, of Rockville Center.
Kilgannon loved to take his family fishing, camping and traveling. Over the years he has taken his children to countries like Costa Rica, Brazil and Egypt. He often kept a notebook in his back pocket to record his observations. He embodied “curiosity, the nosy and always an explorer,” said his nephew, Corey.
At home, Frank loved swimming at the beach and had a soft spot for animals, bringing home many pets for his children and grandchildren. He coached children’s teams in basketball, baseball and soccer while few other volunteers came forward.
“He wasn’t an athlete, but he was a coach because he wanted to get involved and do it for the kids in the neighborhood,” said his son, Timothy Kilganon, 37, of Long Beach.
“If he wasn’t our coach, he was on the sidelines again every game to cheer us on,” added Frank’s daughter Kristen Murphy, 47, of North Merrick. “He was our constant.”
Staying close to his roots, Kilganon enjoyed listening to Irish music and relished a decades-long family tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at the Plaza Hotel.
“He really enjoyed every second of life,” Symington said. “He never had an argument with anyone except in court.”
Frank’s other survivors include his son, Kevin Kilgannon; daughter, Jennifer Obando; sons-in-law Roger Obando and Brian Murphy; brother-in-law Joseph Abatemarco; and seven grandchildren. He is predeceased by his parents, Margaret and Owen Kilganon.
A service was held for Kilgannon on May 28. He was buried in Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury.