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Francesco “Frank” Masi
After the many years of hardship through the depression and World War II, Italy was beginning a new chapter as a republic following an institutional referendum in 1946 . In that same year, in the small town of Curinga, Italy, Domenico and Antionetta Masi welcomed a son, Francesco on the second of September – the family would eventually include three boys and three girls.
Growing up in southern Italy, Francesco lived a typical childhood of the times. He attended traditional schools, leaving school in order to work to help the family make ends meet. A personable young man, he made friends easily. But the day nineteen-year-old Francesco Masi met sixteen-year-old Serafina Trillieci, he knew that he had met the girl of his dreams and his life changed forever. Francesco, always the romantic and was known to serenade Serafina from a bridge near her childhood home. One evening he was singing to her from the bridge when he was struck by a car. A shaken Francesco was found in the bushes under the bridge – two days later! A lesser man would have taken that incident as a bad omen, but a smitten Francesco was undaunted and continued to court Serafina – dating for two years before finally working up the courage to propose. Theirs was a true love story – Francesco referring to his beloved Serafina as “Zina” and she referring to him as her “Cicu.” They were destined to be together forevermore – in a way so poignant that no one outside of Hollywood would ever imagine – and were joined in marriage on August 20, 1967, at St. Giovanni Battista Church in their hometown.
Francesco and Serafina had a sense of adventure and felt that life had more in store for them than the small town of Curinga could provide. With excitement and some trepidation, they found their forever home on Holton Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1972. Coming to America was a dream they both shared and the happy couple was eager to build many lasting memories there. Upon arriving, Francesco found many Milwaukeeans would mispronounce his name. Frustrated, his solution was classic, just like him – he simply became Frank.
Both Frank and Serafina were determined to make a good life for themselves and their girls. Aldo’s Italian Restaurant in Milwaukee could see their work ethic and willingness to do whatever it would take to succeed and hired them both. It was during this time that their family grew to include five daughters. Eventually, Frank and Serafina bought Aldo’s when the owner was ready to retire. As they raised their young family, Frank took over the daily operations of the restaurant while Serafina worked a factory job during the day and then cooked at the restaurant every night. When their girls were old enough, each joined their parents working at the restaurant. Working together brought the close-knit family even closer and enabled Frank and Serafina to pass along their strong work ethic to their girls. Eventually, the girls grew up and moved on to other jobs and having families of their own. Eventually, Frank and Serafina found the restaurant becoming too much as they got older and health problems began to take their toll and the sold the restaurant.
Maybe the allure of the slot machines did not pull him quite so strongly or maybe it was the fact that he was allergic to Serafina’s beloved crab legs at the all-you-can-eat buffet, but Frank only occasionally accompanied Serafina on her weekly excursions to Potawatomi Casino. Frank enjoyed his retirement spending time hanging out with his friends. But it was in helping to care for his grandchildren where he found his true enjoyment. He was so proud of them and he was overjoyed when the great-grandchildren began arriving. Frank also enjoyed spending his time watching westerns, Let’s Make A Deal and The Price Is Right. If you arrived at the house on Holton Street at just the right time, you might find him sitting on the front porch playing his accordion for anyone who would listen. And when just the right song played on the radio, you might catch Serafina dancing and it wasn’t too long before Frank would join her and they would be smiling, dancing, and looking at each other just as they did so many years ago in Italy – much to the delight of his girls and their grandchildren.
Frank Masi wasn’t the same after his beloved “Zina” passed away on April 16, 2018. After a brief hospitalization, Serafina welcomed her “Cicu” home on May 17, 2018 to dance, smile and love for eternity. No matter what the doctors may say, Frank’s family knows that he died from a broken heart. He is survived by his beloved daughters, Antoinetta “Tonette,” Isabella “Sabella” (Vergil, Sr.), Domenica “Mima,” Margherita “Margaret,” and Caterina “Cathy;” his loving grandchildren Juan Jr., Anthony, Joseph, Sarah, Ravan, Vergil Jr., Dominique, Alyssa, Janay, Erric, Mikeal, and Jayden. He is further survived by his four cherished great-grandchildren, his siblings, many beloved nieces and nephews, other relatives and many good and dear friends.
Visitation at the Suminski / Weiss Funeral Home, 1901 N. Farwell Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53202 on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Family are greatly appreciated.