The funeral was last Saturday at a Catholic church in Edmonds, Washington.
It was just as Granddad had wanted–down to every last detail. What a man; what a life well-lived.
James DeFrancesco entered my life in the mid- ’80s when I began dating his son, John.
John & I lived together in a tiny studio apartment in Burbank. Granddad came to visit (Grandma had refused considering the living situation). We had no chairs–just a giant waterbed, dresser and a toaster oven. Granddad was gracious as always, and found a spot to perch on the edge of the bed. That day, I had already become a fan.My dad, Tom, O’Hara died suddenly less than a year later, and James and Tom never had a chance to meet. I think they would have gotten along well, those two WWII vets.Granddad was the antithesis of my boisterous, larger-than-life dad in every way. My dad peppered his speech with a profusion of profanities and loved nothing better than a good debate—about anything. (He was a lawyer after all.) I adored my father, and was devastated by his death.As the years went by, I got to know a different kind of dad. Over time, Granddad helped fill the void. He was soft-spoken, but exuded such a quiet strength. He was incredibly patient, kind and always fair. He was never mean-spirited or judgmental—ever. He always spoke the truth, and always treated me as if I were his own daughter.That patience, that kindness—that gentle spirit—I see it often in my daughter. I’ve always known it came from Granddad; never had a doubt about that.Over the years, I’d occasionally tell John how fortunate he was to have such a wonderful dad. How fortunate we all were to have had him in our lives for so long!
Read his obituary here>>