Frank was born and raised on Federal Hill and lived on Gesler Street in Providence until 18 years old. He always worked in the food business from a young age. As an early teen, he worked at his uncle’s butcher shop meat market. He was a graduate of Mount Pleasant High School. He always talked about his favorite car that he owned, his old Cadillac Convertible. His father worked hard and had numerous ventures. His dad worked at the Biltmore Hotel as a lead chef. When he was 15 years old, his father became severely ill and needed treatment and time off from work. The Biltmore Hotel allowed Frank to work at 15 years old using his father’s name so the bills for the family could be paid and so that his dad would not lose his job. When his dad recovered, The Biltmore allowed both of them to work in the kitchen as chefs. When Frank was 18, he moved with his brother John, his sister Connie, and his parents to a farmhouse on Baltimore Street in Providence. The house sat on farmland with many small barns and was considered the last farm within city limits. They grew rabbits, goats, and chickens and grew some fresh farm to table foods. He helped his family work the land and the animals. They had a long walk-under grape vine arbor, lettuce crop, and apple, pear and cherry trees. His mother enjoyed horticulture and planting flowers and working a small greenhouse. Their tree in the front yard was so large that his family was approached one year by the mayor of providence to make it the City’s Christmas tree.
By 1950, when Frank was 20, he was drafted to the army and sent to Korea. He spoke about his trip to Korea via boat with a stop in Honolulu many times. When the officers found out that he was a chef at the Biltmore, they placed him as the chef in their barracks near the front lines in Korea immediately. After 2 years in Korea, he was released and came back to work at the Biltmore.
Then, one day, he had a cousin's wedding to go to. There, he met the woman of his dreams, Dorothy Ann Bova. Ironically, her cousins were already friends of the family... some of The Bova’s lived on Gesler Street on Federal Hill. Married in ‘64, they built a home at 34 Baltimore Street, next door to his parents. By 1967, they decided to adopt a child. In March 1968, they adopted their son, Frank David. A year later, they were blessed with a pregnancy. And on November 7th, 1970, they had their daughter, Kristin Elizabeth.
In 1974, Frank had an opportunity to work as a Culinary Instructor for Rhode Island School of Design’s Culinary Department. Frank specialized in Food Preparation and Meats. He worked and organized many events for mayors and governors at Rhode Island School of Design. He helped many great chefs graduate to become who they are today. He worked there together with some of the greats like Frank Terranova from NBC 10’s “A Class of Cooking”.
Frank was known to his close family and friends for the best food layouts during the holidays. Frank made every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner absolutely perfect. If there were friends or family visiting, he would be known to teach anyone how to properly bone a chicken! Frank loved family and friends visiting and would be known to have late nights with Dorothy entertaining guests.
Frank worked hard his entire life... probably taught that by his father’s work ethics. He always worked to ensure his family had everything to be happy. He always put himself last when it came time to relax. He worked tirelessly from early mornings to late nights, to get the extra money to be able to pay for his family’s summer vacation every year. Every year, the family took a vacation... Niagra Falls was his favorite, but he always spoke of his visit to Cooperstown.
Frank had little time for personal hobbies as he always put his hard effort in to supporting his family. He would enjoy taking care of the yard or working in the garage and making everything perfect for the family. He loved his cars and especially his 1969 Chevelle that he got from his father-in-law.
His peace came from taking his family out for dinner or a quick ice-cream stand visit. The former Mainelli’s on Chalkstone Avenue, and Smith’s Restaurant on Atwells Avenue along with Chelos Restaurant and Twin Oaks in Cranston and Wright’s Farm were his favorite restaurants. Birthdays and anniversaries were always at one of those.
Then, his life changed in the late 80’s when Dorothy was diagnosed with cancer. He spent every moment of every day caring for her. He loved his wife more than imaginable.
Frank retired from Rhode Island School of Design in 1992, at 62 years old, to better care for Dorothy. In 1993, they learned that their first grandchild was on the way. And, after 10 years of challenges, successes and setbacks Dorothy passed away in January 1994.
Frank spent the next few years finding a way to cope and enjoying long walks at the park. He spent time with his new grandchildren and visited them often. He found an escape working in his yard and talking to new friends he made at Rhode Island College walking track. He visited his son often at work and brought the employees donuts.
Frank absolutely loved talking to people. He loved his friends. And he cherished his family.
In 2007 he sold his beloved home on Baltimore Street to live with his daughter, Kristin, for a number of years. He enjoyed driving to local grocery stores and picking out meals to bring home for his daughter to prepare. He spent his time walking around the neighborhood and getting the mail. He loved watching “Law and Order” or “2 and a Half Men”.
Then, in July 2018, he took his son up on an offer to move to Clearwater, Florida to live in the sun. Those next 3 years of his life were completely full of love, fun, and adventure in a new town, a new life. He loved meeting new friends. He loved meeting his son’s friends and having hours-long talks about the good-ole-days. He lived in a gated community with a beautiful walking path overlooking Tampa Bay. There, he walked a mile a day, met new friends, and fell in love with sitting by the pool watching his son play Volleyball. He enjoyed his Sunday breakfast at a restaurant of his choice. He loved checking out new areas around Clearwater and complaining about the food... he was very particular about food! He tried almost every fine restaurant in the area... and found almost none that could make Chicken Cacciatore the way it was supposed to be made. He loved the beach and sitting in the sun. He loved his morning coffee. And each day was always made... His Way. Each night, he would be found waiting by the window for his son to arrive from work so he could complete his night.
Those last few years were a new lease on life, to him, and his son.
Then, one day in early 2022, he fell and hurt himself in his bedroom. He was always up for a challenge, so he worked hard at recovery. And, although he had to take up residence at Freedom Square Nursing Center that year, he still found ways to walk again, and meet new friends. He started enjoying a newly found hobby of singing to nurses and friends songs of his childhood. He would sing songs that made him happy and put a smile on someone's face.
Being away from his family up north, and living in a nursing home, took him away from his daughter. A decision was made to move back to Rhode Island to be closer. He settled in at Briarcliff Manor in Johnston. In no time, he was making new friends. His last new friend had the same name as him.... Frank. And they hit it off.
Frank’s last days were filled with smiles, laughter, his own singing, a good smoothie that he always had to have, his children Frank and Kristin, and a long wave goodbye out the overlook window to his son on the Sunday before he died. This GREAT man left in peace, his way, and on July 4th.... Independence Day... Perfect for the Korean War Veteran. God Speed, Dad. I LOVE YOU.... ALWAYS AND FOREVER!!!
His funeral service will be held on Tuesday July 10 at 10 a.m. in the ‘’WOODLAWN’’ Funeral Home, 600 Pontiac Ave., Cranston. Burial with Military Honors will follow in St. Ann’s Cemetery. VISITATION Monday 4-7 p.m. Please share memories and condolences at www.WoodlawnRI.com