Frank passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by loving family, on December 24, 2020, following a brief illness of cancer.
Frank was born in Merced on September 18, 1934 to Italian immigrants, John and Domenica Muratore. They spoke only Piemontese at home, so they sent him to kindergarten to learn English which helped him get a better start in school. At Merced High School, he enjoyed playing drum in the school band. After graduating in 1952, he went to Fresno State College to study engineering. During that time, he also benefitted as a technical student with the Southern Pacific Railroad. He graduated from Fresno State in 1957 with a BS Degree in Engineering and an Air Force ROTC commission.
He reported for Air Force duty in August 1957. He was selected for advanced study at Stanford University where he earned an MS Degree in Civil Engineering. From there, his career as a Civil Engineering Officer took him to bases across the United States, South Korea, the Philippines and Japan. While at Whiteman AFB, Missouri, he met Jeanette Morris, an Air Force nurse whom he married in 1967. His last duty station was at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, where he received recognition by the naming of a new street on the base as Merced Street. His military awards included the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.
He was proud of his 22 years of dedicated service, retired as a lieutenant colonel, and returned with his family to Merced. He started anew as an Assistant Engineer for the City of Turlock which suited him well. In 1987, he transferred to Merced County Public Works, where he took over the Solid Waste Division. There, he took the lead on expanding the Highway 59 Landfill site. At the same time, he enjoyed maintaining his family almond orchard.
In the Merced area, he was an active member of the local Branch of the Italian Catholic Federation and of the Italo-American Lodge, serving as president of both. He was also a life member of the American Legion and Knights of Columbus and an active member of the Merced County Historical Society. He kept himself healthy and fit by taking daily fitness classes and hiking. Other interests included travel, especially to Italy, music including strumming ukulele and line dancing, and working with his wife on family reunion picnics and other projects.
He was proud of his family and Italian heritage and a faithful parishioner at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, where he actively served in multiple roles. Frank had a clear sense of duty and service to his country, his family, and his community. He had a quiet determination and was friendly, caring and helpful. Along with that, he was grateful for all the opportunities and support he received over the years.
Frank is survived by his wife of 53 years, Jeanette; his son, John/Deanna and grandson, Leonel Francesco; his daughter Lisa/Robert Beckelhymer; his sister Joanne/David Arata; numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: the Italo-American Lodge Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 949, Merced, CA 95341-0949; Merced Theatre Foundation, 301 W. Main Street, Merced, CA 95340; Hinds Hospice, 2490 W. Shaw Ave, Fresno, CA 93711; or St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 671 E. Yosemite Ave., Merced, CA 95340.
The family wishes to thank all those who sent cards and kept Frank in their thoughts and prayers over the last month.
Private burial will be with military honors at the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in January 2021. A memorial Mass will be held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Merced at a later date in 2021.
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