was born June 13th, 1937 and raised in Brooklyn N.Y. Joseph Crovino and Mary Soldano had three daughters; Frances was their first-born child, Marie was the youngest, and surviving sibling Connie. They lived a simple life with old fashion, Italian traditions, well known in Brooklyn, which included but were not limited to extended family living in the neighborhood, church, and weekly gatherings on Sunday's for pasta dinner-a tradition that still exists today and one that we honored as a family this past Sunday, despite the sad set of circumstances.Fran, as we commonly referred to her, met the love of her life, Octavio Caratozzolo, better known as Artie, married in 1959, and settled in Smithtown N.Y. Artie owned and operated several funeral homes with other family members which afforded them a life style in Long Island with a stylish home, travel, and eventually having three beautiful children. Donna and Bruno were the first born in the family, close in age and lived in Brooklyn before Karen was born a few years later, which prompted Artie and Fran to move to the suburbs to provide greater opportunities and growth. Many watchful eyes in those early years in Brooklyn, which established strong discipline and accountability as was the tradition, but somewhat relaxed with Karen, as the life style in the burbs was definitely more laid back and private. The new chapter in their lives began with most vacation time spent lounging around the home, enjoying the luxurious, built- in pool, and hosting card games with friends and family. There was an occasional trip to Montauk with the family, but it was the trips to Hawaii, Greece, and Bermuda that Fran loved the most. Fran had a great sense of humor and loved to tell the story of the time before the family when the guys went out to get lobster, the girls stayed at home to prep and a fire in the Brooklyn apartment broke out. Perhaps at the time it wasn't very humorous, but when Artie returned with the lobsters, saw the burning building, his first and only response was to put the butter on the ledge while the flames were still hot-true story. The fact is that Artie and Fran were a wonderful, light-hearted and compassionate couple that the children in the neighborhood, cousins, and friends flocked to and loved being around. They were firm, yet fair and in an age when using the belt, severe groundings, and by today's standards extraordinary measures were used to discipline children, it was Artie and Fran that would come to the rescue. Cousin Gracie may want to tell this side of the story in person on one particular visit to the 'country.'Life for Fran took a drastic turn when Artie passed away from Cancer at a young, tender age, leaving this stay at home mom with no training, no drivers' license and three young adolescents to raise on her own. The family business, source of income, and the love of her life were all completely stripped away in a heartbeat. Faced with the challenge of a lifetime, Fran showed her true colors. She found employment at the local OTB and worked a second job as a phototypesetter. The truth of the matter is that this was actually a third, fourth, and fifth job as she was also a single mother, worked with the cub scouts, and continued the unofficial job as neighborhood mom. Although Artie was the true artist in the family as a side talent from the business, Fran demonstrated ability and a crafty nature as she built statues out of nuts, forts from Popsicle sticks, and a nativity set using clay, and a turkey platter out of love. She meticulously paid careful attention to the details, much in the way in which she cared for her children and every person she came to meet throughout her life. Fran loved to cook, bake, and prepare scrumptious dishes for family and friends. She was best known for her home made apple sauce pies, rice balls at thanksgiving, and ring cake at Christmas with decorative Santa atop this gourmet specialty. Fran loved the holidays, gave generously and set a prime example for her children that continue this loving, giving, heart felt tradition to this day. She spent time and opened her home to the late, great aunt Edna, who had a profound effect on our family through her gracious and generous disposition. Fran loved her fish, having an extraordinary pond built in the yard to house these gorgeous sea creatures, with decorative waterfall and artsy figurines complimenting the scene. She loved her dogs and when 'Lady' ate the entire roast beef, leaving only the string behind, she quickly hid the evidence to avoid the potential consequences Artie would have fairly delivered. She knew the German Shepard would already suffer the consequences of engulfing an entire roast beef and let nature dish out that days' punishment. Firm, yet fair! Fran continued in this way well after Artie. Despite her very difficult and challenging circumstances, she managed to hold on to her sense of humor, enjoyed life, and maintained her adventurous nature. On one occasion, while at work, Fran decided to try out roller blading, something she had never done before, but figured it was just like roller-skating that she enjoyed as a child. It was only two weeks prior to her daughter Karen's wedding, and Fran had shattered her elbow! It was at this point that the hospital discovered some issues with her heart from the trauma, which turned into a follow up of a previous surgery on her Carotid arteries several years earlier. The hospital attempted to keep Fran for further observation, refusing to sign the release forms. They had no idea who they were dealing with as Fran stood up, got dressed and walked out the door letting them know that nothing, and she meant nothing will prevent her from walking down the aisle in a few weeks at her daughters' wedding. It was this kind of strength, will, and determination that lead the charge for her throughout her entire life. She was always properly dressed, liked to have her hair done regularly, and enjoyed sporting her jewelry regardless of any given days events. On one occasion when paying a casual visit she would say, 'Ka, can you please run upstairs and get my diamond earrings.' She was always polite, soft spoken, and articulated her words with a most calming and inviting tone. She was beautiful in every way and destroyed, crushed, absolutely annihilated any and every stereotypical notion of the evil stepmother syndrome. Fran loved her children and proudly boasted about Bruno following his Dad's footsteps as a Funeral Manager, Donna as the Senior Director of Information Technology at a Major Corporation, Karen as a Construction Estimator, Jim as a Physical Education teacher, all together spanning a total of 120 years as consistency, hard work, and commitment trickled down to all of her children. But the thing that tickled Fran's fancy most was her grand children, Casey and Amy. She lit up with joy and pride upon any phone call or visit, always rejoicing when the holidays came around, continuing with traditions that built this family. Fran was the kind of person that always made everyone feel welcomed, well loved, and special. We celebrate our dear Fran's life today and pray that we can carry on her legacy that will forever make this world a better place. God bless you Fran, please set a place at your table that we may join you peacefully, joyfully, and eternally one day soon.

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  1. It is with a heavy heart we say goodbye to our dear friend Fran. You were such a wonderful friend and a lovely woman who we loved very much. Wishing your entire family love and strength to get through this difficult time. May you RIP Amen.

  2. Donna,Bruno & Karen,I am so sorry for your loss. Your Mom was such a wonderful person & so full of life. I remember how our parents used to get together and play cards. You are all in my thoughts & prayers at this time. Love, Maureen

  3. Our prayers and thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time. I know you must feel so alone on this journey of losing your mom. I want you to know that We are here for you whenever you need a hug.

  4. Donna, I’m so sorry for your loss. I know how close you are with your mom. We are praying for you. Praying that God will give you peace during this time. Praying that God will let you know He is with you. You are such a wonderful person and are so special to our family. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there today, but I’m so glad my sisters and mother were able to be there with you. We love you. We are always here for you.

  5. Words cannot express the sense of deep personal loss that I fell with the passing of my cousin Fran. Condolences to her family and friends. Beside being the head of her family Fran was also head of the entire Soldano family. I will deeply miss my talks with her. A requiem mass will be celebrated for her at Holy Faith Catholic Church in Gainesville Florida.Rest in peace Fran.

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