Frank B. Cernik

Frank Bernard Cernik

March 1, 1928 – February 26, 2020


Preceded in death by parents, Frank and Bessie Cernik; sister, Marie Smith; and sister-in-law, Elaine Cernik.  Survived by wife, Phyllis; daughters, Diane Cernik and Julie Chochon (Scott); sons, Scott Cernik (Pam) and Kevin Cernik; stepchildren, Joni Albers (Rick) and Jami Snow (Mitch); eight grandchildren; three step-grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; brother, Ray Cernik; and brother-in-law, Don Smith.

Family will receive friends Sunday, March 1st from 3pm to 5pm, at the West Center Chapel followed by VIGIL SERVICE at 5pm.  MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Monday, March 2nd, 10:30am, St. Patrick Catholic Church of Gretna (508 W. Angus St., Gretna)  GRAVESIDE SERVICE: 2pm, St. Francis Cemetery in Wahoo.  Memorials are suggested to St. Patrick Catholic Church of Gretna.

Frank B Cernik was born on March 1st, 1928 on a family homestead east of Wahoo, Nebraska. He was the middle of three children by Frank M. Cernik and Bozena (Bessie) Zimola. He grew up on the farm and loved farming. Frank had always said he would be a farmer all his life if had it not been for an accident when he was 18 years old losing part of his right hand. He then sold Kirby vacuums and worked at a packing plant. It was the job that Frank had when he was 14 that would be the key to his future. He worked at the roller-skating rink in Wahoo assisting customers with their clamp-on skates.

In 1946, Frank opened his first roller skating rink, which was portable and included a maple floor enclosed by a large tent. The rink was moved to various towns in eastern Nebraska from Wahoo to Tekamah. One summer the tent burned to the ground as someone had thrown a cigarette on top of it. In 1950, Frank purchased Harker’s roller rink in Fremont Nebraska at 16th and Bell Street and named it Fremont Roller Rink. Behind the rink was a garage and Frank and his father-in-law converted it into a small home for his family. He turned the rink into a wholesome ‘family-friendly’ facility. Frank traveled to school carnivals with a spinning wheel and provided small prizes and free passes to kids to help market the skating rink. He was an endless promoter. In 1960, he built a rink from the ground up on Military Street in Fremont and called it Roller Village.

Later, Frank used a drafting table in the basement of his home in Fremont to work on a new floor plan that would become the new concept for his next roller-skating center. He moved his family to Omaha in 1967 and built Skateland on 108th and Q opening December of 1968. Along with this ground-breaking design, Frank implemented strict rules-of-conduct. Blue jeans and hair below the collar were not permitted. Business exploded as he gave roller skating a new image. Rink operators from all-around came to visit and see what “this guy from Nebraska” was doing. Frank’s rink had many innovations that were ‘firsts’ in the roller-skating industry. Frank sold his blueprints to numerous operators who began building new rinks around the country based on his design. This led to a boom throughout the industry in the 1970’s and led into the ‘Disco Era’ of roller skating.

Expansion followed with 9 new skating rinks that opened between 1970 and 1982. Locations in Bellevue Nebraska, Irvington (I-680 & Military) Nebraska, Brooklyn Park Minnesota, Burnsville Minnesota, Tempe Arizona, Mesa Arizona, Fargo North Dakota, 84th & F in Omaha, and his final Skateland location at 132nd and B in Omaha. He was believed to have the largest privately-owned roller-skating chain in the United States. During this time Frank also built his corporate office near 128th and Q.

Always the entrepreneur and on the move, Frank was involved in many other endeavors with Victory Marine in the early 1960’s in Fremont Nebraska and Griff’s Burgers on 74th and Dodge in the mid 1960’s. The original Omaha Skating Center was renovated into Golfland (indoor miniature golf) in the early 1980’s. He built Mid City Plaza in 1982 next to his rink on 84th and F.

Frank’s first love was always roller skating and the ‘clean family fun’ that he provided for families. It is believed by his family (but not proven) that he may be responsible for more marriages in Omaha than any other businessman? Frank has always felt that ‘boy meets girl’ was one of the most important aspects of his business model.

Frank volunteered countless hours of his time and talent as a Roller-Skating Association (RSA) board member, serving as Vice President and Treasurer. Because of his many contributions, developments, and advancements in the roller-skating industry, he was awarded Operator of the Year and later inducted into the RSA’s Hall of Fame, the most coveted and prestigious award in the roller skating industry. Frank was also awarded a RSA Life Membership. After his retirement he also served on the board of the Roller-Skating Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Frank loved to fly and obtained his pilot license in the early 1960’s while still living in Fremont. Over the years he owned several airplanes and used them to travel to his various out-of-town Skateland locations.  When Frank and Phyllis were not working, they enjoyed traveling in their custom motorhome.

Frank is preceded in death by his parents, sister Marie Smith, sister-in-law Elaine Cernik, grandchild Dana Sharon, and first wife Marian (Pokorny) Cernik.

Frank is survived by his wife of over forty years, Phyllis, brother Ray Cernik, brother-in-law Donald Smith and Frank’s four children: Diane Cernik, Scott Cernik and wife Pam, Kevin Cernik, and Julie Chochon and husband Scott, all residing in Omaha. Two stepchildren: Joni Albers and husband Rick of Idaho Springs, Colorado and Jami Snow and husband Mitch of Wahoo, Nebraska. Eight grandchildren: Kory Cernik, Kyle Cernik, Brieanna Huerta and husband Tyler, Brandon Cernik, Taylor Hargitt, Cambell Hargitt, Dustin Sharon, and Kareem Stuart and wife Brandy. Six Great Grandchildren: Kye and Naomi Cernik, Shea Bickford, Ryker and Rylan Huerta, and Eli Stuart.



  • Diana&Randy Posted February 27, 2020 5:12 pm

    So sorry for your loss.

  • Marvin Schaffer, Molly schaffer Posted February 27, 2020 5:23 pm

    So sorry for your loss.we have a lot of good memories with frank.he was a great man.

  • Myron Byrd Posted February 27, 2020 5:41 pm

    Miss your skating rinks. Your in good hands now god bless you ..

  • Christie (Carlson) Garcia Posted February 27, 2020 5:49 pm

    Phyllis, Kevin, Joni and entire family. I have so many great childhood memories of Skateland, and all of you. Skateland holds a huge place in my heart and was such a wonderful part of my childhood. Your father/husband Frank was a great man and leader, paving the way for many entraupenuer’s in the
    Omaha area. I am forever blessed because of these awesome memories. Blessings to you all, and I pray for God’s healings for you all at this time❤️

  • Joel Potter Posted February 27, 2020 6:52 pm

    The world has certainly lost one of the great ones with the passing of Frank.

    I have known Frank since July of 1989. I suspect I may be his longest running tenant, having assumed operation of what was his first roller skating rink (then remodeled several times) in 1989 to take over the then-defunct Gold’s Gym.

    Frank was definitely a self-made man. Tough as nails, I saw him two a power-washer up from Florida to Omaha to power wash the building. Those who didn’t know Frank need to understand that he lost his right hand many, many years ago. So here was a very successful man, in his 60s at the time, out power-washing a building with one good hand and a stump.

    That story pretty much encapsulates Frank’s character. Tough as nails, hard-working, but always fair.

    I will miss Frank. The world could use more like him.

    Joel Potter – tenant at 5103 S 108 Street, now Blue Moon Fitness – Omaha South

  • Linda Slosser Posted February 27, 2020 8:01 pm

    We will miss him very much!He and his brother best landlords ever! Heaven has gained and awesome angel.

  • Sandy Emanuel Cone Posted February 27, 2020 9:46 pm

    Diane, Scott,Kevin Julie, Phyllis and family
    So sorry to hear about your loss. Frank was a great person. He was always respectful and a great family man.

  • Amy Hruska Posted February 27, 2020 10:12 pm

    So very sorry for your loss! We have happy memories with Bernetta and Fr. Paul, Frank and Phyllis!!

  • Sandy Reimers Posted February 28, 2020 2:12 am

    Phyllis, Scott and Kevin, Diane and Julie, and your families are in my prayers! Thanks to Frank I had a lifetime career, starting at Skateland in 1969 when the first rink was two months old, and thirty years later left with many experiences and friends that I would never have had. The Skateland family embraces thousands! RIP Frank, you will certainly be missed!

  • Janice Waldner Posted February 28, 2020 2:25 am

    I started SK8N in 73 when I was 3 at the Irvington SK8N rink and continued on as a Adult to SK8 at 84th and FSt and SK8DAZE. All 3 of my foster families SK8D and my daughter Kaila SK8S. The GREATEST memories of my life are at the SK8N rinks thoughout the years. Thank you 4 ALLLL the Memories Frank. You and your family made it unforgettable and a home and family for thoes of us who didn’t have a family or ” fit in ” . Thank you. Im Eternally Grateful and Enjoy Heaven Frank and keep da SK8N FLOOR WARM 4 ME !!! SK8 ❤ !!!! 😘

  • John and Gail Rosso Posted February 28, 2020 10:22 am

    Very sorry for your loss. Frank was a true gentleman a always so

  • Julie Hiatt Posted February 28, 2020 10:33 am

    I remember growing up at the rink on 108th St. if I recall the location correctly. I loved skating all the sessions, then joining the artistic figure skating club….loved the circle 8’s. Frank was always kind to me as a kid. So sorry for your loss Scott & family!

  • Kris Wall Friesner Posted February 28, 2020 11:57 am

    Very sorry for the loss of Frank. He was a wonderful man and a dear friend to my father and mother. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Janice & Pete Austen Posted February 28, 2020 12:19 pm

    Our thoughts are with Phyliss and the entire Cernik family

  • Brad Armstrong Posted February 28, 2020 3:29 pm

    Sorry to hear of Frank’s passing. His contributions to our industry are immeasurable. I have had many talks and learned soo much from our founding fathers including frank.. you will be missed and your legacy is strong roll easy frank in my thoughts and prayers

  • Bruce Swenson Posted February 28, 2020 4:07 pm

    Phyllis, so sorry to hear of Franks. Frank was good mentor and friend to. You and family are in my prayers.

  • Mike Fleming Posted February 29, 2020 12:00 am

    I enjoyed my time with Frank and the great insight he gave me in the roller skating industry. He has a special place in my heart.

  • Carol Barker Posted February 29, 2020 12:03 pm

    Dear Diane,Scott, Kevin Julie and family,
    We are so sorry to hear of your loss. Your dad, Frank, was always so quick to give a hug, ask how I was, make sure we came often to the house or to skate. He always had a big smile and I always felt welcome. He was a hard worker and expected that in return, but he also would help anyone however he could. He will be missed!
    Love, Rand and. Carol (Dunn) Barker

  • Bill and Tanya Hoefler Posted February 29, 2020 12:04 pm

    My first interactions with Frank come from my days working with Jim and Nancy Wells, in Wichita, KS. I knew at a young age that he really knew skating. I was later able to benefit from some of the tidbits he shared. Frank’s efforts and contributions to our industry are enduring. A true “Titan” in our industry!

  • Brenda (Matter) Kadtens Posted February 29, 2020 10:27 pm

    Skateland was my home away from home from 85-93. I remember when Frank would stop in to visit the rink it was like having a celebrity there!
    Kevin and Scott…you and your families are in my thoughts during this sad time.
    Phyllis…My heart goes out to you and your family.

  • Adam and Lisa Weiss Posted March 1, 2020 4:52 pm

    Thinking of your family…lots of love to you all!

  • Peggy Young Posted March 1, 2020 6:17 pm

    My deepest sympathies to the entire Cernik family.

  • Donna Eliason Posted March 2, 2020 10:55 am

    talking about old times like they did at Woodcliff. When I return home in May maybe we can get together. Frank will be missed by so many. God bless you and give you the strength that you need for the days ahead.

  • Laura Beerman Posted March 2, 2020 8:34 pm

    Julie and Diane. I am so sorry for your loss. I loved roller skating on Military Ave every Friday night. Also sorry I missed the visitation.

  • Sherry Reese Posted March 3, 2020 1:51 pm

    Dear Kevin and Scott, I was so saddened to hear of the loss of your Dad. What wonderful things he accomplished in his life to help make roller skating “a staple of life”! Thank you, Frank! I have so many wonderful memories of Skateland both 84th and 132nd. They will always live in my heart for those memories are a part of me. I’ll pray for your families in the coming weeks for strength, comfort and peace. May God wrap His loving arms around all of you and that you feel His Love as your Dad is feeling now. Sincerely, Sherry

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