1929 – 2015

AUBURN — Frank Talarico, 86, of 243 Central Ave., Lewiston, died Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, at Clover Health Care in Auburn.

Born in Lewiston on Jan. 6, 1929, he was the son of Salvatore and Carmila (Galelli) Talarico, Italian immigrants so new to America that even their oldest child and Frank’s brother, Luiggi “Louis” Carmino Talarico, 14 years his senior, was born in Italy.

Born just prior to the beginning of The Great Depression, Frank was 3 years old when his father died. His mother never remarried.

Frank was raised and educated in Lewiston, along with three sisters and a younger brother.

Frank graduated from Lewiston High School and was gifted in mathematics and immediately enrolled in Bliss College, where he earned a business certificate in accounting. Shortly after, he was hired by Bates Manufacturing to perform accounting work, a position that he stayed with until his older brother appealed to Frank to join his brother’s family business, Luiggi’s Pizzeria.

For the next 40 years, Frank would play a central role in managing daily operations, as well as actively interacting with Luiggi’s customers. His reputation for maintaining a dependable operation and happy customers became one of local lore — from calmly managing Luiggi’s second-floor area in the 1960s, dedicated to teens, to whom Frank was known as “the coolest man in Lewiston” to Frank’s iconic initiative to create a special sandwich, “The Fergy,” for Lewiston police officer and good friend, Sgt. Arthur Ferguson.

Having married the former Marcella T. Labonte on May 21, 1949, prior to beginning his employment at Luiggi’s, Frank and Marcella raised and encouraged their two children, Frank Jr. and Donna, during the course of Frank’s Luiggi’s career.

Active with interests outside his career, Frank loved children, music and dancing, and he was a fabulous dancer to the big bands in his youth, frequenting both Lewiston City Hall’s jumping second-floor dance hall and the Lewiston Armory, as it blasted out the sounds of the then-premiere area band, led by Lloyd Rafnell. Frank loved playing cards with his brothers, sisters and in-laws, handicapping horse races and supporting and attending his Catholic church, St. Joseph’s Church, and later, Prince of Peace. He loved his favorite relaxation, taking long walks with Marcella.

In fact, both Talaricos had a great love for outdoor activities. Frank rode his bicycle until age 82 and Marcella roller-skated until age 68 and ice-skated until age 75. Frank greatly enjoyed watching the joy by which Marcella so loved to ice-skate.

Once retired from Luiggi’s, Frank could not sit still and began volunteering to deliver the mail at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center.

When his beloved Marcella developed ill health in her mid-80s, Frank stayed home and attended to her needs for several years, until her passing on Sept. 4, 2011, ending over 62 years of immeasurable happiness with his one and only true love of his lifetime.

He was inconsolable for the next year and a half, Frank’s life and health systematically spiraled downward to the point that a local hospice was initiated. Still hopeful, his children followed a suggestion by a friend and sought out a live-in caregiver, Randy Curtis, hoping that he could perhaps provide some form of stability to their father’s fading life.

What followed Frank’s final two and a half years was remarkable, akin to catching “lightning in a bottle.” He was uplifted by the ending of hospice and introduction of steady meals, sleeping habits, exercising and a singular commitment by his new caregiver to rebuild and expand Frank’s quality of life. Frank found a dynamic new lease on life, one filled with active socializing and inclusion in diverse celebratory functions, where Frank now found himself a highly desired guest on a myriad of guest lists. His new love for living became so active that for those around him, they sometimes needed to be reminded that Frank was in his mid-80s.

This newfound zest for life and independence would stay with Frank up until just 10 weeks before his eventual passing. Yet even during this final period, the joy and heartfelt natural ease in Frank’s care for others — care that had been Frank’s reputation during his 40-year career at Luiggi’s — was still vibrant during his final days at Clover Health Care.

In his final moments, Frank’s children and caregiver were able to be present, all having just spent a fabulous Christmas Day together only five days earlier.

The passing of Frank Talarico ended a life spent caring for others — from his early childhood, helping to earn money with the other Talarico children that helped their fatherless family live, to Frank’s marriage, family, business career and acts of volunteerism. Frank Talarico spent his lifetime actively seeking to help, encourage and uplift others, as well as to offer hope to those in need and those seeking to turn potential into reality.

For Frank Talarico, life had come full circle. From his natural acts of caring for others over the significant majority of his life, Frank’s closing years now enjoyed the care and goodness that he had spent a near-lifetime giving, without fanfare, as Frank became an object of sincere appreciation during his second lease on life.

Frank Talarico was a plain-spoken man, true to his proudly Catholic heritage, that was filled with grace and service to others. He will be missed by his family, by his extensive extended family and by widespread friends and fellow citizens throughout his community.

Frank is survived by his son, Frank Talarico Jr. of Carrabassett Valley; his daughter, Donna Talarico of North Yarmouth; his grandchildren, Nana Kjaer-Larsen and Jens Kjaer; and his younger brother, Nick, of Lewiston.

In addition to wife, Marcella, Frank is predeceased by his brother, Louis Talarico; and all three of his sisters, Mamie Beaulieu, Mary Angelides Dennis and Dorothy Libby; as well as his son-in-law, Klaus Kjaer.

Immeasurable gratitude by the family is expressed to Randy Curtis, for his tireless efforts and unwavering pursuit of excellence in seeing that Frank was always provided with the best possible care and life experiences available to him during his remaining years. What Frank ultimately experienced was unimaginable when Randy began, and the places that Frank would go and the numerous new friends that Frank would make so greatly enriched his life and final years, much less that this had occurred after Frank had lost his perfect soul mate of over 62 years, Marcella.

The family also wishes to thank Deb Cusson for both her genuine love and professional care of Frank and also for her suggestion two and a half years ago, after seeing that her friend, Frank, was in understandable need. It was Deb who informed Frank’s children that she knew of another friend, Randy Curtis, that the family may want to hire.

Finally, the family wishes to thank the Clover Health Care staff and Beacon Hospice for their kindness and thoughtful care.

Online condolences may be shared at www.fortingrouplewiston.com.

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