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Jones, Rich & Barnes Funeral Home

199 Woodford Street, Portland, ME

OBITUARY

Frank M. Nappi Sr.

February 1, 1933January 6, 2020
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Gorham, ME- On January 6, 2020, Frank Michael Nappi Sr., chairman and cofounder of Nappi Distributors, passed away in Gorham, a few weeks shy of his 87th birthday.

Frank was born in Portland on February 1, 1933 to Giovanni (John) and Lucrezia (Montecalvo) Nappi, the 12th of 15 children. With his late brothers, Sam and Nick, Frank began working at a young age for the beer distributorship their father established in 1933.

The three started Nappi Distributors in 1959 in a small warehouse on Forest Avenue. Today, Nappi Distributors employs approximately 200 people and operates out of a 155,000-square foot facility in Gorham. It is one of Maine’s largest beer and wine wholesalers with a southern Maine territory. Frank was also a partner in Fore Street Associates and Maine Beverage Recycling.

He loved to share stories of Nappi Distributors challenging early days and would talk about the “country run” he’d make up Route 302 trying to sell a car full of beer. He’d explain that the beer brands they sold at the time weren’t the most popular and he often felt he couldn’t give it away.

He’d sometimes meet up with Bill Bourque, founder of the former Cumberland & York Distributors, who was also trying to sell beer in the same area. If they were having a hard time making sales, they’d decide to go fishing instead. With no employees, other than his brothers, Frank loaded trucks, drove the routes, delivered wooden barrels and even fixed the trucks.

Growing up on a farm in Yarmouth, Frank gained his life-long love of cooking from his mother, learning how to perfect her Italian “peasant food.” His culinary creations later expanded to include dishes like baked, stuffed lobster, which he enjoyed making for others on special occasions.

As a young man, Frank’s hobbies included drawing and photography—a passion he shared with his son, Frank Jr. He later turned his creative talents to carpentry, making unique tables from antique windows as well as building his beloved home on Forest Lake in Gray. He also discovered a love of cars, collecting old T-birds and restoring a 1941 Cadillac Fleetwood.

Shortly after serving in the U.S. Army, Frank married Sally Walsh to whom he was married for 47 years until her death in 2003. They had two children, Frank Jr. and Francesca (Frannie).

Frank had a unique sense of humor and he liked to make people laugh, often at themselves. His Deering High School classmates even voted him Class Wit. He was known for his big heart, and was always willing to help his family and friends, and he was a generous supporter of many local organizations, including Boys & Girls Club, St. Peter’s Catholic Church and Maine Special Olympics, in which his daughter Frannie participated.

One of the things he enjoyed about his work was the social aspect and the occasional round of golf with his customers, his brothers and his good friends, including the late Red Breggia. Whenever Red and Frank got together there were always stories of Portland that painted vivid pictures of long-gone 1950s clubs and lounges.

After stepping back from day-to-day management of Nappi Distributors, Frank and his longtime partner, Carol Johnson, traveled and split their time between Gray, Maine and North Palm Beach. Florida. He enjoyed spending time with the extended Johnson family, whether traveling together or having a cookout at the lake.

Frank is predeceased by his parents, his wife Sally and his siblings Sam, Nick, Tony, Michael, John, Chris, Mary, Albert, Carroll and many dear friends. He is survived by his son, Frank Jr., and daughter-in-law Venus of Gorham; his daughter Frannie of Gorham; granddaughters Leanna, Gabrielle and Nicole; great-granddaughters Elexis, Emma, Mary, McKenzie and Kloey-Ann; sisters Lucy and Rose; brothers Sava, Joey and Philip; and partner Carol Johnson.

Visiting hours will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 11, 2020, at Jones, Rich & Barnes Funeral Home, 199 Woodfords St., Portland, where a funeral service will follow immediately at 2 pm. Burial will be held in the spring.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift in Frank’s memory to Special Olympics Maine, 125 John Roberts Rd., South Portland, ME 04106 or online at www.somaine.org.

Please visit www.jonesrichandbarnes.com to sign Frank’s online guest book.

  • FAMILY

  • Giovanni (John) Nappi, Father (deceased)
  • Lucrezia (Montecalvo) Nappi, Mother (deceased)
  • Sally Nappi, Wife (deceased)
  • Frank Michael Nappi, Jr. (Venus Nappi), Son
  • Frannie (Nappi), Daughter
  • Sam Nappi, Brother (deceased)
  • Nick Nappi, Brother (deceased)
  • Tony Nappi, Brother (deceased)
  • Michael Nappi, Brother (deceased)
  • John Nappi, Brother (deceased)
  • Chris Nappi, Brother (deceased)
  • Mary (Nappi), Sister (deceased)
  • Albert Nappi, Brother (deceased)
  • Carroll Nappi, Brother (deceased)
  • Frank is also survived by his granddaughters Leanna, Gabrielle and Nicole; great-granddaughters Elexis, Emma, Mary, McKenzie and Kloey-Ann; sisters Lucy and Rose; brothers Sava, Joey and Philip; and partner Carol Johnson.

Services

  • Visiting Hours Saturday, January 11, 2020
  • Funeral Service Saturday, January 11, 2020

Memories

Frank M. Nappi Sr.

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Frank Nappi

January 11, 2020

My deepest heartfelt condolences to your family. Frank and Janice Nappi

Neil Santorella

January 10, 2020

Frank was a true pioneer in the beverage business. He had a great vision for understanding strategies to move the family business forward as evidenced by the number of acquisitions and years in the business. He was grounded in the basics as he actually did the work from loading trucks, to selling products, fixing draft systems and providing leadership as an owner. Frank was truly a gentleman with a tremendous sense of humor. As a true pioneer Frank wasn't afraid to take risks knowing that the burden would fail on his shoulders. He was great at calculating risk and seemingly always came out on top. That's what winning looks like!

My sincere condolences to the family, Carol and friends during this difficult time of loss.

Brian McAuliffe

January 9, 2020

I only worked at Nappi Distributors for a couple of years in the early 2000’s but I remember Mr Nappi as a true gentleman and a wonderful soul. I’m sure there are countless amazing stories being shared about this great man. Rest easy sir. Cheers to you and all of those whose lives you have touched.

Steven D. Roberts

January 9, 2020

I will never forget meeting you Mr. Frank Nappi . Meeting you & working for you was the best work that I ever had in my LIFE time . I learned so much , not just from you but the people that worked at Nappi's . Thank You & I Will Never Forget . Please Rest In Peace . My Prayers All Ways ....

Your Friend Always,

Steven D. Roberts

Beverly Goodine

January 9, 2020

My deepest sympathy in the loss of Frank. He had a very kind heart and was loved by all that knew him.

Victoria Saniuk

January 9, 2020

Dearest Antoinette
So sorry to hear of your loss
Deepest heartfelt condolences
Victoria Saniuk

Shelly Bickford

January 9, 2020

My deepest heartfelt condolences.

Anthony and Viann Nappi

January 9, 2020

Dear Carol, Frank, Venus and Francesca,
We are so sorry to hear about Frank Sr.
He was one of a kind!
Anthony and Viann Nappi, we send our love and prayers!

John Dubail

January 9, 2020

Love this man my first beer was at 16 in the house on woodfords years past Frankie gave me a job driving for Nappi's him and Nick sr treated us all like family. God bless him Prayer's for the family Frankie you will truly be missed

Maria & Peter Quatrano

January 9, 2020

May he Rest in Peace, our sincere sympathy to his family.
Frank was a great guy, could always make you laugh.

FROM THE FAMILY
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