Obituaries » FRANK D. DEFALCO
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Frank D. DeFalco passed peacefully in the company of family in Florida. Frank had a stroke Labor-Day weekend, 2017, passing on 13 November 2020 at age 86. Family and friends were by his side throughout his illness.
Frank was born 25 April 1934, the 3rd of 4 children of Rose Marie Paika and Vincent Peter DeFalco. Frank attended Worcester Classical High School, having spent summers at Camp Blanchard as a Counselor. These summers were rooted in his long support of the Worcester ” Y ” and a love of teaching.
In 1956 Frank married the love of his life and high-school sweetheart, Mary Jane, renewing their vows in 2016. Frank is survived by his wife Mary-Jane, daughter Lisa-Ann and sister Joan. Jane resides in their retirement home in Naples, Florida. Lisa in Charlotte, North Carolina and Joan in Miami, Florida.
Frank was pre-deceased by his younger and older Brothers, David and Vincent.
In his youth, Frank excelled in Football, Baseball and Track at Classical. Mary-Jane was a Cheerleader. Frank was also an Ionic Avenue Golden Glove Boxing Champion.
Earning a BS (1958) and MSCE (1960) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute ( WPI ), Frank went on to achieve a PhD at the University of Connecticut returning to WPI for a sixty-plus year career in teaching Civil Engineering and Land Surveying. The research in Frank’s PhD Thesis is referenced in the 9/11 report.
Frank was a world traveler having spent a lifetime exploring the globe. Early-on Frank was awarded a Fulbright Grant, gathering family for two year’s teaching in Baghdad, Iraq in 1965.
Likely one of the finest Structural Engineers on the east-coast, Frank was a licensed Professional Engineer for more than 55-years. He was also an accomplished Professional Land Surveyor, holding a Survey registration for some 58-years.
Recognized by the Boston Society of Civil Engineers and Steel Institute, Frank’s accomplishments, achievements and awards are too numerous to list here ( or anywhere else ) ….
A consummate Expert Witness, Frank accomplished dozens of Forensic Investigations. Credited as the Father of GPS, his testimonies were incredibly credible. It was Frank that made the definitive determination of the Worcester Airport Runway length.
Raised in Worcester and having been a Worcester Resident for many years, Frank was quite proud of having served on the Worcester Planning Board as both a member and Chair.
A native of Worcester, Frank spent a portion of nearly every day for 35-years at his engineering office in Lancaster. After retiring to Naples, Florida, Frank would return to Lancaster for months at a time to Survey in rural central-mass spending time with his many friends.
We credit DeFalco Engineering with more reduced billing and Pro-Bono service to the community than any other area firm of comparable size and resource. The essence of Humanity & Science, the root of WPI philosophy. WPI is the oldest Engineering College in the United States.
In college, Frank worked as a Surveyor on the Radar Line in Greenland in a no electricity environment making computations with slide-rule, tables and Curta-Calculator.
Frank played piano for years, never had a home without a good piano. In 2016, Frank sat at the famous piano in the Rick’s Café located in Casablanca, Morocco.
Having many nieces and nephews, Uncle Frank was a great photographer and was always excited about time with family.
Dr. DeFalco was a fixture at WPI, always active, it was likely his favorite place. He was the Faculty Advisor to the Wrestling Team for 30-plus years. Always prime for an adventure, Frank participated heavily in Student Projects taking a dozen students at a time to Project Centers for 14-week study semesters. Too many to list, Project Centers in Amsterdam, Los-Angeles and Turks-Caicos to name a few.
Frank was repeatedly voted Teacher of the Year at WPI. Not just teaching but forming lifelong genuine friendships, making life-impacts on very literally thousands of Engineers.
As Professor-Emeritus, Frank oversaw the construction, disassembly, shipment and reassembly of the WPI Solar-House participating in an international competition in 2013, held China. Frank often spoke of what a privilege and thrill it was to travel with WPI’s President Laurie Lashin to the opening of the rebuilt Panama Canal as part of the group from WPI in 2014.
Into his 80-s, Frank was an incredible athlete, avid skier, squash player and golfer. Frank would never miss an annual trip west to downhill ski with his Squash Buddies or winter trip south to golf. For years, he was an avid, tournament winning, Golfer. Hole-in-One’s were not unusual.
When the pandemic eases, a gathering of friends will be held at WPI to remember Frank. All will be welcome, bring your best story.
Frank was there at the beginning, creating the Worcester County Memorial Park in Paxton. His ashes will be entrusted to his friends there in a favorite location, to rest with so many prior departed friends.
Donations are welcome and can be made to the Dr. Frank D. DeFalco Endowment for Wrestling.
Donations can be made on-line through WPI’s annual fund giving page or checks can be sent to the WPI Athletics Department, 100 Institute Road, Worcester, MA 01609