Frances Marie Carcaterra Smaldone can be defined in many ways, but the three words that best describe her are brilliant, spirited, and loving. An educator in New York City, she spoke four languages, but was most passionate about French. A Francophile from an early age, she dreamed of traveling to Paris and happily, was able to do so when she took a trip to France and Italy one summer with her two daughters, Laurie and Valerie .
In addition to her passion for teaching foreign language to high school students, she was known for her love of learning, whether it was classical literature, music, food, culture, politics, theatre or opera, and she imparted these loves to her children. Frances was vibrant and just plain fun. She knew how to throw a party and be the life of the party. She also knew how to cook, how to get on the floor and play with babies, how to be a disciplinarian with rules, and yet, at the same time, bend the rules when required. Fran loved to teach - she even created home-made work books for her young girls before they started public school.
Raised and educated entirely in New York City, she attended Theodore Roosevelt High School, Hunter College and received her Masters in Education at Columbia University an unusual path at that time for a first generation Italian American woman. Most of her career was spent at Jamaica High School in Queens, where she taught French, Italian and Spanish.
Frances was the light of her family and gave of herself effortlessly and constantly. Although she had the spirit of a world traveler, she was able to settle into a life in the Bronx, have a career, raise children, care for her mother and her husband, Anthony, and support her children as their career demands increased. She was the first person family members sought to soothe others in need; she always knew what to say and what to do.
She was beautiful and elegant, independent, fierce and passionate, and loved everyone in her life deeply. Frances was inclusive of all people. Her friends were made up of different races and sexual orientation back in the 1960’s and all had a place at her bountiful table.
Fran leaves behind her daughters, Dr. Laurie Smaldone Alsup and Valerie Smaldone; sons-in-laws Jim and Rick, and former son-in-law William; grandchildren Alexander, Claire, Maril and Ben, and 6 great-grandchildren. Her husband, Anthony Rodolfo Smaldone, pre-deceased her nearly five years ago.
Frances is greatly missed, but her children and extended family are her living legacy and grateful for all the gifts she has bestowed upon them.
Rest in peace and light our dear maman.