Frank James DeChario, Jr, 89, died Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at Berkshire Medical Center. Born in Bridgeport, CT on October 8, 1932, he was the son of the late Frank James DeChario, Sr. and Minnie Volpe DeChario. Frank was a graduate of Stratford High School in Stratford, CT and proudly served his country in the United States Marine Corp from 1952 to 1955 during the Korean Conflict. While in the military, Frank was a member of the Marine Corps Band, in which he played the French horn. While he was musically gifted to play various horn instruments, the French horn was, by far, his favorite. After his time in the service, Frank joined the Connecticut Yankees Drum and Bugle Corps. In 1960, the Connecticut Yankees traveled to Miami, Florida for a National Competition. He convinced his former girlfriend, Margaret “Marge” (or “Sarah” as he lovingly called her) Lane, to accompany him to the competition but her reply was repeatedly “no”, as her father would not approve of them traveling together as an unwed couple. It was then that Frank proposed to Marge and they were married on April 30, 1960 in Stratford, CT. The Connecticut Yankees Drum and Bugle Corps won the National Drum Corps Championship and Frank always considered his “Sarah” to be his good luck charm. Frank and Marge were married for 46 years until her passing on January 1, 2006.
From an early age, Frank was a creative entrepreneur. At the young age of 8 years old, he built a wagon with high sides and collected papers for money during WWII. On more than one occasion, Frank collected so many papers, he couldn’t deliver them to exchange them for money – the papers had to be picked up at his home by the donation center. In his later years, Frank was a contractor by trade, establishing Yankee Home Remodeling and was the former owner of the Lenox Motel from 1976 to 1981. He was Mr. Frank Sinatra, both for his musical abilities and his life mission – “I did it my way.” His motorboat, previously docked in Florida, was appropriately named, “My Way.” Frank loved his dogs and bred many Boxers and Schnauzers over the years. He was a huge football fan and was a fan of The New York Giants since they played in New Haven.
Frank is survived by two daughters; Suzanne Brunner and her husband, Keith, with whom Frank recently made his home in Pittsfield, and Gina Bednarz and her husband, David, of Denver, CO, as well as a son, Paul DeChario and his wife, Belinda Zeh, of West Virginia. He also leaves 6 grandchildren; Jeremy DeChario, Jillian Steinberg, Jennifer DeChario, Sarah Howie, Alexander Bednarz and Echo Bednarz; 3 great grandchildren, Gage Steinberg, Claire Steinberg and Gunner DeChario, and a sister JoAnne Quinn of Bridgeport, CT. In addition to his parents and beloved wife, Frank was predeceased by his brother Nicholas and great-grandson Jax Steinberg.
A graveside service with full military honors is scheduled for Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 2:00 PM in St. Michael’s Catholic Cemetery in Stratford, CT, where Frank and Marge’s cremated remains will be laid to rest together.
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