For longtime lifeguard trainer, Scoutmaster and volunteer firefighter Frank Ibero, good wasn't good enough when it came to those he mentored. He wanted great.

His son Francis, an Eagle Scout under his father's tutelage, remembers his father challenging prospective Scouts with tough questions. He forced them to think and to reflect. Ibero loved helping others, and he tried to maximize his impact with each interaction.

"He would see the potential in them and he would push, drag and kick — figuratively speaking — for them to see that potential in themselves and reach that potential," Francis Ibero said.

Francisco "Frank" Ibero died Thursday from complications of prostate cancer. He was 64.

The New York City native grew up in nearby Elizabeth, New Jersey. Ibero earned a degree in computer science from Rutgers University, where he was a member of a national champion drill team.

He joined the U.S. Air Force, where he was a missile operation officer. Service took him to North Dakota, Turkey and the Philippines before he moved to Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue.

After leaving the Air Force with the rank of major, he worked in the private sector with a few local companies, first with Applied Communications Inc., later with US West/Qwest/ CenturyLink and most recently with PayPal.

But his real passion came off the clock.

When he wasn't spending time with his family, building model airplanes, swimming or grilling — "No matter whose house he was at, he would always end up taking over the grill," daughter Sarah Caton said — he was volunteering in the community.

In La Vista, he served on the city's volunteer fire department, rising to the rank of assistant chief. In addition to his Scout duties, he also trained lifeguards for the City of Omaha and Mahoney State Park. He became a big supporter of Creighton Prep's swim team, sending letters of encouragement and care packages to swimmers, even after they went on to college.

Each time the family talks to someone else or reloads their father's Facebook page, Francis said, they find more stories of how their father touched the lives of those he mentored.

The funeral Mass for Frank Ibero will begin at 10 a.m. at St. Columbkille Catholic Church, 200 E. Sixth St. in Papillion.

In addition to his son and daughter, Ibero's survivors include three grandchildren.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1734,,

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