Joan A. Franco

NEW HARTFORD – Mrs. Joan A. (Rizzo) Franco, age 74, went home to the Lord in heaven, on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2019, at Upstate University Hospital, Community Campus, Syracuse, New York, with those she so dearly and truly loved continuously at her side.

Born in Ilion, New York, on July 20, 1945, Joan was the daughter of the late Sam and Frances (Smizzi) Rizzo. She was a graduate of Frankfort High School and went on to attend Albany Business College having graduated from there in 1965. Joan was married to Peter A. Franco, on October 15, 1966, at St. Mary’s Church in Frankfort, with Father Michael Fufferd, officiating and from that union came the blessing of their children. Joan and Peter shared a lifetime companionship and were inseparable, together always. They had lived for over forty years on First Avenue Extension, in Frankfort, later having moved closer to their family, in New Hartford.

Throughout the years, Joan held the position of Chairman of the Board of Assessors, Frankfort, New York. Moreover, on a full-time basis she was the Director of Real Property Taxes, Herkimer County, New York. Joan was a member of Zonta, the Red Hat Society, Catholic Charities, New York State Property Directors Association of which she served as Vice President and the New York State Assessors Association.

Joan was always respected and admired for her mild manner and her compassionate heart. She was a devout practicing Catholic, a member of Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church in Frankfort. She was a kind and considerate woman, always praying for others. Joan loved people and they loved her right back. It would not be uncommon for the cashier at the store to yell out her name because they bonded weeks earlier over something. She was welcoming and open and everywhere she went, people gravitated to her warm spirit. Her style was to make time for everyone, family & friends of course ... but also to reach out to everyone she came across with sincere kindness. When speaking with Joan, you felt like you were the only person on earth ... you got her undivided attention and she wanted only the best for you. Her legacy she leaves behind was in that of her most cherished Saint ... St. Therese, the Little Flower ... doing ordinary things with extraordinary love out of her unshakable faith in God.

You could find Joan at everything that involved her 5 beloved grandchildren. She was in the stands, traveling with her husband all over the northeast to attend games and activities that they were a part of. Every day was a holiday when one of the five grandchildren walked through her door. There was not a thing she wouldn’t do for any of them. A talented cook, she would make beautiful meals and it gave her great joy to do so. Her kitchen was open 24/7 and she was even known to travel around town with a full turkey dinner with all the sides ready to drop off at one of her kid’s houses at a moment notice. She was also one of the best gift-givers … never expecting anything in return, she knew just what to get to make someone smile by taking the time to really think about that person and how to please them. Joan’s “little ways” will always be revered as the most amazing gift to all of us. Her warm and welcoming smile was always gracing us in her lovely way. Family was her greatest joy and she was always supporting all of us. Joan exuberated sincere and sensitive ways which will always be remembered.

Joan is survived by her beloved loved ones, her husband, of over 53 years, Peter; her children, Gina Courto, of New Hartford and Peter S. Franco and his wife, Virginia, of New Hartford; her grandchildren, Nicholas Courto, Genna Courto, Elise Courto, Matthew Franco and Alaina Franco; her in-laws, Ed and Anne Franco, Rocco and Rosemarie Franco, John and Rosanne Franco and Mary E. Franco; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. During Joan’s stay at the hospital, her niece Angela went above and beyond and gave her such beautiful special attention which truly was appreciated and deeply felt.

Joan was preceded in death by her parents, Sam and Frances; her father-in-law and mother-in-law, Thomas and Virginia (Palladini) Franco; and her in-laws, Joseph Franco, Thomas Franco, Rita and Anthony “Pop” Cassella, and Raymond and Olga Franco.

The family is grateful to the ICU staff at Upstate Community Campus who treated Joan with respect and compassion, and the many people who remembered her and gave her special attention which was a testimony to the wonderful person she truly was. Dr. David A. Halloran, MD, took exceptional care of Joan and the family as well.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend Joan’s Funeral Service, her Mass of Christian Burial, which will take place on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, at 9:00 AM, at Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church, 412 South Frankfort Street, Frankfort, New York, offered and celebrated by Rev. Francis Vivacqua. The family will greet friends at the conclusion of Mass and then Interment will take place in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Frankfort, where her earthly remains will be laid to rest. We will honor Joan’s wish of no public calling hours.

It is the request of the family that in lieu of floral offerings, donations in memory of Joan be considered to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. Envelopes may be obtained at the church on Tuesday morning and are also always available at The Enea & Ciaccia Family Funeral Home.

Joan’s family has prepared her funeral arrangements with her friends Harry J. & Kevin E. Enea and Martin L. Ciaccia, Funeral Directors at The Enea & Ciaccia Family Funeral Home, 4309 Acme Road, Ilion (Town of Frankfort), New York. (315) 894-8000.

An online memorial page has been established at www.eneafamily.com on the Internet.