March 16, 1927-Aug. 29, 2015
Francesca “Frances” Ann Colombo, 88, died Aug. 29, 2015, at Duke University Hospital, Durham, N.C. She became ill while attending a family reunion in North Carolina.
An intimate ceremony for family was held on Sept. 5, 2015, in New Bern, N.C. A celebration of life will be held in Homer at a time to be announced via family contacts or Francesca’s commemorative website.
Francesca was born in Scranton, Pa., on March 16, 1927, to Antonio and Concetta Conte. Her early years were spent during the Great Depression. As a teenager, she experienced two of her brothers serving in the armed forces during World War II. After the war ended, Francesca married Patrick Carnevale in 1945, and had two children before they moved to Alaska in 1953. Their third child was born in Fairbanks in 1955.
Francesca experienced many challenges adapting to the pioneer lifestyle of 1950s Alaska, but she soon became a respected and trusted member of the Fairbanks/Delta Junction communities. She readily learned to shoot a rifle, chop wood and build a fire. Despite these skills, she always retained her Jackie Kennedy class and style.
Francesca and Patrick divorced in 1963, and she returned to Pennsylvania, settling in Dalton where she again established a good life for herself and her three children. She became known as “Ms. Fantastic” because of her honesty, hard work ethic and care for others less fortunate. She always found time to participate in school functions and fundraisers.
As a single mom, Francesca refused to accept public assistance and worked two full-time jobs to support her three children. During that time, she also became licensed in cosmetology and worked with Max Factor.
In 1968, Francesca married Dominick Colombo and returned to Alaska where she again regained status in the community as an innovative, energetic person who could get things done.
Francesca served on the Delta City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission, organized and launched the Miss Deltana Fair Beauty Pageant, and volunteered at the Delta Junction School. She was also a contributing member of the Ladies Community Club, Our Lady of Sorrows & St. John’s Catholic Church, a Soroptimist volunteer and inductee of the Pioneers of Alaska, having lived in Alaska for more than 50 years.
Francesca and her husband Dominick “Nick” Colombo owned and operated their business, “Delta C” Inc. They engaged in many construction and mechanical contracting projects which include the Colombo Building near the City Center, currently housing Mount McKinley Bank. They also founded the Delta C Bison Ranch.
Francesca relocated to Homer in 2009, where she once again became a beloved member of the community. Despite serious illness and adversity, she inspired all who knew or met her. Her captivating smile, warmth, humor and good-natured flirtations brightened the lives of whomever she touched. Those who knew Francesca knew her as a beautiful woman, but more so, as a person with the uncanny ability and capacity to bring people together.
“Our beautiful and loving mother, Francesca, was the center of our lives. We will remember her for her wisdom, hard work, business savvy, class, sophistication, trend-setting style, elegance, sense of humor and timeless beauty. We will always be eternally grateful for the values, manners and character she modeled and instilled in us. We choose not another,” wrote her family.
Francesca was preceded in death by her late husband Dominick. She is survived by her three children, Patrick John Carnevale, Michelle Renee Massion and Michael Vincent Carnevale; her grandchildren, Michelle Corr, Kirsten Carnevale-Walsh, Katie Carnevale-Walsh, Michael Carnevale, Ashley Carnevale and Fiona Carnevale; her sister, Marion Crowe; numerous nieces and nephews; her son-in-law, Mark Massion; and her daughter-in-law, Jacky Carnevale.
Services will be announced via her memorial website. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to Hospice of Homer at www.hospiceofhomer.org. Anecdotes and photos can be shared at goo.gl/0XIdj9.