Frank "Rocco" Montesano

July 27, 1949April 13, 2018

Frank “Rocco” Montesano passed away April 13, 2018, at the age of 68. Rocco was born on July 27, 1949 to Ann and Rocco Montesano in Passaic, New Jersey, but was raised in Hackensack, New Jersey. Rocco graduated from The United States Naval Academy in 1971, and served in the U.S. Navy from 1971-1998. Rocco was promoted to Captain and was awarded two Legion of Merit medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal, and five Sea Service ribbons. He also served during Operation Desert Storm and was Commanding Officer of A6 Squadron VA176 (Thunderbolts) where he won three consecutive “Battle E” awards as XO and CO. He accumulated over 5500 Flight hours and over 900 carrier landings. Rocco moved to Corpus Christi in July of 1994 as Commanding Officer of NASCC and was proud to call it home.

He married his wife of 46 years on March 4, 1972. Rocco was the executive director of U.S.S. Lexington Museum on the Bay for 20 years. He was a loving husband and father, who enjoyed participating in the Corpus Christi Mustangs, Corpus Christi Housing Authority, and Corpus Christi Rotary. He will always be remembered for his fantastic sense of humor, service to his country and community, love of sports, and exceptional devotion to his family. He played golf, basketball, and loved to garden.

Captain Montesano is survived by his wife, Joanne Montesano, son, Michael Montesano, daughter, Dr. Cariann Galloway, his sisters: Sue Connolly and Rosanne Rotondo; his brothers: Joe, Charlie, Jimmy, and Roy Montesano; son-in-law, Clint Galloway; Grandchildren: Kyleigh and Kase Galloway.

In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations sent to the U.S.S. Lexington Museum in his honor at (click on the link to this site on the bottom of this page under DONATIONS USS Lexington which is underlined in teal).

Condolences may be offered at


  • Joanne Montesano, Wife
  • Michael Montesano, Son
  • Cariann Galloway, Daughter
  • Clint Galloway, Son-in-law
  • Sue Connolly, Sister
  • Rosanne Rotondo, Sister
  • Joe Montesano, Brother
  • Charlie Montesano, Brother
  • Jimmy Montesano, Brother
  • Roy Montesano, Brother
  • Kyleigh Galloway, Grandchild
  • Kase Galloway, Grandchild


29 April


5:00 p.m.



In lieu of flowers, please make donations to U.S.S. Lexington in honor of Captian Rocco

Frank "Rocco" Montesano

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Mike West

April 18, 2018

I want to add my condolences here. I am Mike West, who rowed for the Univ. of Pennsylvania. In the spring of 1968, Frank and I were rowing counterparts... I rowed in the 5-seat of the heavy Penn Frosh boat and Frank was the 5-man in the Navy heavy Plebe boat. I still have the three Navy racing shirts I took from him that year, and all these years later I still recall meeting/talking to Frank on the dock of Hubbard Hall after the race. I also chose "Navy" as a career (was a destroyer guy), and I'd track down/call Frank every 5 years or so, or whenever I saw his name in the message traffic or on a promotion list. I always held him in the highest esteem, not only for his success in rowing (his '71 Navy varsity crew was GREAT), but also, as the son of a career naval aviator, for his flying exploits (interestingly, one of Frank's midshipman cruises was on the USS ESSEX, a carrier my father commanded, though not when Frank was aboard...small world, indeed.) Perhaps a year ago, I re-established comms with Frank to propose a photo project involving LEXINGTON that I've been working on in my mind for years, and he was totally forthcoming with his intent to support the project. Frank, I will miss not ever being able to talk to you again, to trade rowing and flying stories, but I know you're flying with the angels now and showing 'em how. Thank you for your dedication and service to the Naval Service and the Nation.

Daisy Morgan

April 18, 2018

I extend my sincere heartfelt compassion and prayers to the Montesano's family. Take comfort in knowing the CAPT is in eternal rest from all his military and community "over the top" service to our grateful nation; especially the past 20 years as CEO of USS LEXINGTON, Historical Museum on the Bay. It was my honor and pleasure of meeting and sharing with Captain Montesano twice during our ship reunion visits on board...LEX made Navy history as the first aircraft carrier to have female sailors the initial group of women and I was the only enlisted black woman petty officer assigned to Lady LEX in Jul 1980. In 2007, my first time to return with the ship's reunion and was "over the moon" in tears upon seeing a display of a female uniform and my picture from the Navy Memorial Log, Washington, D.C. and other artifacts donated. Thanks CAPTAIN MONTESANO for your HUMANITARIANISM. A legacy indeed!

Daisy M. Morgan
Admin Div Jul 1980-Oct 1983

Al Chaker

April 18, 2018

As Executive Officer, then Commanding Officer, of Attack Squadron 176, Rocco was one of the best leaders with whom I'd ever had the pleasure of serving. I kind-of knew it at the time, but didn't fully appreciate it until some time later. This was because his leadership style, while always professional, was so affable and natural, that he made it easy to work hard for him. You can read books on leadership, follow basic principles, and perhaps succeed, but Rocco didn't need that; I think those books are about him. He never inflicted power on us, and never put himself first; he inspired by setting the right example, always doing the right thing, taking care of his people, and just plain being a nice, decent human being. And one heck of a fun guy. I would say that the junior officers considered him, "one of us."


April 17, 2018

I have many great memories of Frank during our years rowing together on the Naval Academy crew team. He was an outstanding oarsman. I never heard him complain no matter how difficult our workouts were. He had an amazing sense of humor. I remember one afternoon the weather was terrible and most of us were grumbling. As we were lowering the boat into the water, Frank said, "It may be cold but at least it's raining." Cracked me up! The lousy conditions didn't change at all but my mood sure did. Frank had a very positive influence on me and was a great friend.
Joanne, we will continue to pray for you and your family. Please take time to share memories, laugh, cry, and comfort each other. Our hearts go out to you as you deal with his passing.
Mark and Ginni

Bob Besal

April 17, 2018

I will always remember the great times we enjoyed in our squadron "glory days" as Naval Aviators! God bless you for your friendship.....

Jerry Henry

April 16, 2018

Thoughts and prayers to the Montesano family.

Thank you Rocco for you dedication and service to this Nation and community.

Fair winds and following Seas! We have the watch shipmate, you stand relieved.

Jerry Henry, ABFC(AW) Ret

Juan Garcia

April 16, 2018

The quintessential 'officer and gentleman.' Perfect example of a life well-lived, with selfless, quiet service to God, Family, and Country. A role model to all who knew him. Was an honor to know you Shipmate-
Fly Navy,
Juan Garcia

Nelda Martinez

April 16, 2018

Dearest Joanne and Montesano Family,
Thank you for sharing your wonderful Rocco with our community. He has left his positive and hard working hand print all over our community and in many hearts. Rocco was quick to smile, share his storehouse of knowledge and give encouraging words. He was wise and compassionate which made him a very special man. I will miss my friend so much. My prayers are with you Montesano Family. The endless trail of beautiful memories will out last the tears. I love you familia.
Showers of God's Graces,

Sacha Pouliot

April 16, 2018

My family and I would like to offer our sympathies to the Montesano family. Please accept our heartfelt condolences on the loss of your loved one. May you always hold fond memories of Rocco's life with you.

Our deepest condolences.

Sue Weikum

April 16, 2018

Ron and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the Montesano family. What a legacy of commitment and love "Rocco" leaves for us all! May God provide comfort and peace to all who mourn the loss of this great man and hope in knowing that a blessed heavenly reunion will be held one fine day.

Peace be with you.