The Daily Star
---- — Frank A. LaMonica
ONEONTA — Frank A. “Diz” LaMonica passed away on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, at Bassett Healthcare, Cooperstown, following a brief illness. His devoted wife, Jo-Ann, and daughter, Judith DiMartin, were at his side. He was 101 and to be 102 on Jan. 9.
Known fondly as “Diz” LaMonica, he was born in Oneonta on Jan. 9, 1911, the son of immigrant parents from Palermo, Sicily.
“Diz” grew up with brothers, Samuel and Carl, and sisters, Marian and Sylvia, who predeceased him, on Market Street and Watkins Avenue in Oneonta.
He worked in the family banana sales company, and family bowling alley business, becoming its president. During the 1940s, “Diz” promoted amateur boxing for the Oneonta Recreation Commission under Dutch Damaschke, and trained local athletes Butch Katanic, Kid Cuyle, Brad Blasetti and Dom Mastro.
In 1949, he opened the LaMonica Beverage Company, serving as its president until his retirement in 1986.
Mr. LaMonica is survived by his wife, the former Jo-Ann Bridger, and they resided at Emmons Heights, Oneonta. He is also survived by his daughter, Judith DiMartin; two grandchildren, Tracey Smith and her husband, Paul, and Frank DiMartin; and three great-grandchildren, Dalton Smith, Dakota Smith and Robert DiMartin.
He was predeceased by his first wife, Mona; a daughter, Michelle; and a son, Frank.
Mr. LaMonica supported community businesses and served on the boards of numerous organizations, including as a director of Wilber National Bank; director of the Oneonta Athletic Corporation, which owned the Oneonta Yankees, then Oneonta Tigers.
“Diz” was a lifelong member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, donating the St. Mary’s School Chapel.
He sponsored a Little League team for over 25 years, and was a steadfast supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, the Oneonta Police Benevolent Association, the Oneonta County Sheriff’s Association, and the Otsego County Red Cross.
Hartwick College named Mr. LaMonica its Citizen of the Year in 1989. He was a long standing member of the Brotherhood of Elks No. 1312, the Sixth Ward Athletic Club, an officer of the Otsego County Boating Association, and a National Bowling Hall of Fame inductee.
City of Oneonta Mayor Richard Miller and the Oneonta Common Council proclaimed Jan. 9, 2011, as “Diz” LaMonica Day in Oneonta. Their Resolution requested that all members of the Oneonta community honor “Diz” and express their affection and admiration in celebration of the life he had led.
“Diz” was a friend to many, including among others, his long standing fellow gin players at the Elks Club.
Family and friends will remember “Diz” as a generous, approachable man with a special sense of good humor and belief in his community.
A funeral Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in St. Mary’s Church, Walnut Street, Oneonta, with the Rev. Joseph Benintende, officiating.
Burial will be in the spring in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Emmons.
Friends may call at St. Mary’s Church from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, at which time the family will be in attendance.
The family has requested, in lieu of flowers, that memorial contributions may be made to Oneonta Elks BPOE 1312.
Condolences to the family may be made online by visiting the website at www.grummonsfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are by the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, Oneonta.