OBITUARY

Italo Manfredo Francalancia

May 3, 1931April 15, 2019

Father, brother, husband, friend. Soldier, diplomat, sign maker, storyteller. Photographer, radio DJ, teacher, translator. Italo Manfredo Francalancia lived an extraordinary life of 87 years. He will be remembered by friends for his quiet dignity, kind heart, and abiding sense of humor. He died Monday, April 15, 2019.

A Mobile resident since 1965, Italo was well-known through numerous church and social organizations. Italo was born on May 3, 1931, in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, one of eight children of Antonio and Emilia Francalancia who had emigrated from Italy in the preceding decade. When the family returned to Italy in the early years of World War II, the bilingual 10-year-old became an interpreter for the Allied soldiers occupying his family’s small town of Toro. The soldiers called him “Smitty,” a nickname that endured throughout his life.

The family returned to the United States and settled in New Orleans where his father would serve as a diplomat in the Consular Corps. Italo graduated from Jefferson High School. Early jobs colored his life. A stint in a photography lab led to a lifelong hobby as an amateur photographer. Working alongside his father, he dabbled in radio broadcast, helping to produce The Italian Hour, a program of classical Italian music in New Orleans. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Reserves and was called to active duty stateside during the Korean conflict. Following his discharge, he studied geology at Louisiana State University and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree.

Smitty married his long-time sweetheart, Mary Clair Sevin, in 1960. In 1965 while working as an insurance claims adjuster, he was transferred to Mobile, where he would spend the remainder of his life. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to leave corporate life in the early 1970s and start a small business. Smitty’s Sign Shoppe was a fixture in Mobile for more than three decades. In 1968, he was asked to join the Consular Corps, and was named Honorary Vice Consul d’Italia to Mobile. He was a founder of Mobile’s Italian American Cultural Society, formed to spread an appreciation of the Italian culture. He was a parishioner of St. Dominic’s Catholic Church for more than 50 years.

In his retirement years, Smitty fulfilled a life-long dream of returning to Italy and reuniting with his extended family there. He and Mary Clair made several memorable trips that both would cherish. He continued to do work as a translator throughout his life, and initiated a class teaching Italian language to fellow seniors at the Mobile Senior Community Center.

He is preceded in death by his wife of 57 years. He is survived by his three children, Angie Francalancia (John Brewer) of West Palm Beach, FL, Rebecca Murphy (Kevin) of Atlanta, and Stephen Francalancia (Charlotte), of Mobile; as well as three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Friends may visit at 10 a.m. Saturday at Radney Funeral Home on Dauphin Street. Memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. at Radney with reception to follow.

  • FAMILY

  • Mary Clair Francalancia, Wife
  • Angie Francalancia (John Brewer), Daughter
  • Rebecca Murphy (Kevin), Daughter
  • Stephen Francalancia (Charlotte), Son
  • Three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Services

20 April

Memorial Gathering

10:00 am - 11:00 am

Radney Funeral Home

3155 Dauphin Street
Mobile, Alabama 36606

20 April

Memorial Service

11:00 am

Radney Funeral Home

3155 Dauphin Street
Mobile, Alabama 36606

REMEMBERING

Italo Manfredo Francalancia

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