With a life that was filled with hard work, good times, and unending love for his family, Jennaro Fragassi was a blessing in the lives of so many around him.
The 1920s were vibrant years that saw the peak of Broadway, motion pictures that became available in both color and sound, and the emergence of America’s favorite pastime thanks to Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb. Prosperity was the dominant force, and it was with great joy that Louis and Mary Theresa (Maglio) Fragassi were blessed with their firstborn son, Jennaro. He was the oldest child in his family, raised in a traditional Italian home on the east side of Milwaukee alongside his brothers, Salvatore “Tudy,” Andy, Frankie, and Louie. It was as a young boy that he came to be known as Geno.
Life was anything but boring in the Fragassi home. Geno’s maternal grandmother, Nana, lived nearby, and as the matriarch of her family she was well respected and listened to – or else! Sunday afternoons and holidays were always spent at Nana’s house where intense card games were often the after dinner entertainment, usually royal rummy or poker. Later on, the guys could play craps, but only if Nana could play with them, instilling within Geno a lifelong appreciation for the games of chance and gambling. As an adult he genuinely enjoyed a little wager on a sporting event or at the local track from time to time.
As a student Geno attended local schools including Lincoln High School through the 11th grade. It was at his high school that he met the young girl who stole his heart. Her name was Charlotte Toomey, and they were introduced by his brother, Tudy. Their romance blossomed over time, and they were married on May 8, 1950, deeply in love. Together Geno and Charlotte were blessed with the birth of their first daughter, Mary Jean, in 1951, followed by their son, Louis, in 1952 and their daughter, Annette, in 1962
As the provider in his family Geno worked hard. His career began in manufacturing at Ben Hur Company and later took him to Masco Company. In the early 1970’s Geno took an abrupt turn in his career when he leased a tavern on Dousman Street alongside his wife, establishing Geno’s. They later grew their business, purchasing a second tavern on E. Burleigh Street that also became Geno’s. Throughout his life the tavern was the place Geno loved to socialize. They eventually sold the tavern in 1994.
Later in life Geno faced some trials. He was deeply saddened with the death of his beloved Charlotte in 1996. Issues with his lungs affected Geno’s lifestyle during his sunset years.
A beloved man to many, Jennaro “Geno” Fragassi will be deeply missed and warmly remembered.
Jennaro “Geno” Fragassi died on November 13, 2012. Geno’s family includes his children, Mary Jean Sullivan and Louis (Natalie) Fragassi; grandchildren, Chad Sullivan, Gina Sullivan Plichta, Lori Sullivan Fenton, April Sullivan, Dale Fahrnow, and Salvatore Fragassi; great-grandchildren, Ciaran Sullivan and Jaxan Jennaro Fenton; brother, Andrew Fragassi; sister-in-law, Sherry Fragassi; and other relatives and friends. Geno was preceded in death by his wife, Charlotte, and daughter, Annette. Visit with Geno’s family and friends on Sunday, November 18 at the Funeral Home from 4 – 7 p.m. Funeral Mass will be held on Monday, November 19, 2012 at 10:00 AM at Our Lady of Divine Providence – St. Mary’s Site (N. Fratney and E. Burleigh St.) MEET AT CHURCH. Entombment Holy Cross Cemetery. Arrangements provided by Suminski LifeStory Funeral Homes, Suminski / Weiss, 1901 N. Farwell Ave (414) 276-5122. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to leave a memory.