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Tuesday, May 30, 2023
4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
11:15 - 11:45 am (Eastern time)
Carl J. Di Franco, DPM, age 88, beloved husband for 55 years of Nancy (née Graham), loving father of Carla Di Franco (husband Jeffrey Packer), Brian Di Franco (wife Anita Marfo-Di Franco), and stepfather of Joseph Graham (wife Melly). Loving son of Serafino and Maria (née Frabotta) Di Franco (both deceased), dearest brother of Robert (wife Grace) Di Franco (both deceased) passed away with his wife and children by his side on May 25, 2023.
Carl was born on April 28, 1935 in Cleveland, a year after his mother and brother emigrated to the United States from Italy, to join his father, who had emigrated to the US in 1923. He grew up in the Woodland neighborhood in Cleveland on East 115th Street. He was very close with his mother and was often her helper as she made trips to the Central Market. He made many ‘pets’ of the live chickens and rabbits she’d bring home ultimately to become dinner, and joined other kids as he skated around the neighborhood on a pair of skates she bought him secretly against his father’s wishes.
He graduated from John Adams High School in 1954 and graduated from Western Reserve University in 1958. He was then drafted into the US Army to serve in San Antonio from 1958 – 1960. While in the military, he worked odd jobs and painted houses to make extra money to send home to his parents. Little did he know at the time, his mother was quietly setting this money aside so that he could buy his first car. After his military service, he attended the Ohio School of Podiatric Medicine, graduating in 1967. After a successful internship in 1968, he started his practice in 1969. He ran a small but successful private practice for 35 years, retiring in 2004. He was an amazing doctor and confidante to his patients. Not only did he take the time to treat their feet, he listened to their stories and troubles. When he broke the news to his patients that he was finally retiring, it was clear how much he meant to them and how much his active listening had supported their physical and mental health.
While he was still attending Western Reserve University, he met his future wife, Nancy. She was working at Doctor’s Hospital, where Carl’s mother was a patient. His mother Maria suggested that Carl meet this nice young lady and that turned out to be destiny for both of them. They dated for many years before marrying on June 24, 1967 in Sandy Lake, PA, where Nancy grew up. At the time of Carl’s death, he and Nancy had been married for 55 years, just shy of their 56th anniversary.
Carl and Nancy worked together in his podiatric practice every day. She managed the business while he served his patients. All those years working and living together formed a strong bond between the two, which was influential as they grew their close-knit family. His daughter Carla was born in 1970, followed by his son Brian in 1973. His model of perseverance, strong ethics, morality, and of course his amazing sense of humor served as a guide to his family as he and Nancy raised their two children. One thing that was always very important to Carl was education, and he and Nancy sacrificed vacations and other things to meet this goal. He encouraged good grades, but also wanted his children to follow their path and be happy in their chosen careers. Thanks to his sacrifices and guidance, both his children attended Catholic grade school & high school, went on to complete college, and are both enjoying successful careers.
Carl had many varied interests, including geology, photography and of course home improvement. There wasn’t a nail he couldn’t hit, or a pipe he couldn’t fix. These talents all came in handy as he worked weekends and evenings to complete the house that he and Nancy built in 1976, where they continued to reside until his death. One of his goals was to ‘finish’ the house, and after his retirement he dived into house and garden projects in earnest. He and Nancy also loved to hike the parks in West Virginia and Virginia, and they often enjoyed travelling to Williamsburg, VA. Their adult children would join them on some of these trips when they could, creating new experiences as a family. On these trips, Carl was able to practice his photography and spend quality time with Nancy. After overcoming his fear of flying, he also made several trips to Washington state to visit his daughter and her husband in Seattle. But the trip he looked forward to most after retirement was a road trip across the US to Seattle in 2006, stopping in places of interest along the way. He always wanted to do that drive again, but never managed to do so.
Although his health issues kept him from many of the activities he enjoyed over the last few years, he still was able to spend quality time with his brother, travel with family, read, and ‘manage’ garden projects with Nancy.
The best testament to his life well-lived is what he leaves behind. His wife and children are his legacy. They were there for him and will be there for each other. Even in his final moments, he knew the depth of their love and devotion. They will continue to honor him in life by following his model of kindness, humility, and curiosity. He will always be loved.
Entombment is at All Souls Cemetery. Family and Friends are invited to gather for Mass of Christian Burial at 10 am Wednesday, May 31 at Saint Mary’s Church, 401 North Street, Chardon, OH 44024.
FRIENDS MAY CALL AT THE FIORITTO FUNERAL HOME, 5236 Mayfield Road, Lyndhurst (East of Richmond Road) on Tuesday, May 30 from 4 to 7 pm.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Carl's memory suggested to The Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Mark, 21800 Chardon Rd., Euclid, OH 44117 or at https://www.billerpayments.com/app/donationsui/?bsn=msjd#/donations/payment