Vincent F. Francioli, age 96, passed away October 17. Beloved husband for 67 years of the late Evelyn (nee Tonti) and beloved father of Gail and Mark. He is the son of the late Frank and Elisa Francioli, who emigrated from Foggia, Italy, and the brother of Phyllis Vecchione (Frank), both deceased, and the late Mary and Frank. He is the brother-in-law of the late Gene Tonti (Marge) and Ernestine.
Vince was born in Little Italy, where his father had a store, then moved to Youngstown, Collinwood and eventually the Woodland neighborhoods. He graduated from Collinwood High School in 1943 and served as a combat engineer with the 36th Infantry Division in World War II when the division broke the Siegfried Line and later opened up concentration camps. He wrote his memoirs in the book From Cleveland to Nazi Germany, a few years ago. A graduate of Collinwood High School, he attended John Carroll University and Western Reserve University (CWRU) after the war, receiving a B.A. and M.A., respectively, in history. He taught history, economics and government at Benedictine High School in the 50's and 60's and and chaired the social studies department. He also moderated the Model United Nations Group. With the principal, Fr. Robert Wilkes, Vince set up the first lay teachers' retirement plan in the Cleveland diocese. He later was president of the Benedictine school board and chaired the St. Andrew Abbey Benefit Fund. After teaching, he was the representative of the Secretary of State of Ohio for election laws, the director of the Cleveland Civil Service Program, Director of the CETA Program, Marketing Director of the newly formed Ohio Lottery and Director of Education of the Cuyahoga County Youth Services Program.
He was at one time a member of the Executive and Central Committees of the Cuyahoga Republican Party and formed the Republic Veterans Committee and Awards. He was active on the campaign committees of Cleveland mayoral candidates Seth Taft, Ralph Perk and George Voinovich as well as numerous judges and council candidates. In his retirement, he taught courses and Cuyahoga Community College in the history of Cleveland, Dante and humor and was president of the Ohio Board of Proprietary Schools and a member of the Civilian Police Review Board.
In 1970, Vince founded in his backyard with 40 neighbors the Fairwood Community Association and was elected president several times over the next few decades. Although not a businessman himself, he organized those businesses remaining on upper Woodland in the late 70's into the Larchmere Business Association, with the intention of creating a special identity for the area. He served on the board of the Italian Cultural Foundation and was a member of Il Cenacolo Italiano di Cleveland Club and the Cleveland Early Settlers Association and enjoyed giving lectures and tours of the city. He served on the parish council of Our Lady of Peace Church. His pastimes included gardening, painting, watching old movies and meeting with friends. Vince believed in America, and that it was always better to "light one candle than curse the darkness." He leaves behind a legacy of deeds that have touched thousands.
Entombment All Souls Cemetery. FAMILY AND FRIENDS ARE INVITED TO GATHER FOR MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL 11 am FRIDAY AT ST. ANDREW ABBEY, 10510 BUCKEYE RD., CLEVELAND, OH 44104. FRIENDS MAY CALL AT THE FIORITTO FUNERAL HOME, 5236 MAYFIELD RD., LYNDHURST (EAST OF RICHMOND RD.) THURSDAY FROM 4-8 p.m.
SOCIAL DISTANCING AND MASKS ARE REQUIRED FOR VISITATION AND MASS. WE WILL ONLY INVITE A LIMITED NUMBER OF GUESTS IN AT A TIME, YOU MAY EXPERIENCE A WAIT TO ENTER THE FUNERAL HOME. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING.
Donations in Vince's memory may be made to Benedictine High School, 2900 M. L. King Jr. Drive, Cleveland, 44104, St. Andrew Abbey, 10510 Buckeye Rd., Cleveland, 44104, or a veteran's group of your choice.