Frank T. Caruso (1920 - 2013)

Obituary
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Frank T. Caruso, long-time citizen and community volunteer of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., entered eternal life on April 5, 2013. Bettye, loving wife of 69 years, survives him. Also surviving him are his sister and brother-in-law, Marion and Mario Marini; sister-in-law, Mary Hill; children, Sandy Wendt (John), Tom (Carol), Tony (Shelley), Joe, and Diane David (Don); grandchildren, Brian Caruso, Cathy Wendt, Don David IV, Laura Caruso, Chris Caruso, Matt Caruso, and J.T. Caruso; nephew, Anthony Capuano; and nieces, Karen Hartzler and Linda Katrick. Predeceasing him were his parents, Louis and Lucy Caruso; brother, Anthony; sister, Antoinette Capuano. Frank was born and raised in New York City. He joined the Army Air Corps at the outset of WW II. Frank met Bettye, a beautiful local girl, while stationed in Tennessee. They fell in love and married. After the War and completion of his education in Aeronautical Mechanical Engineering, he moved to Fort Walton Beach in 1949 to work at Eglin Air Force Base. He served as Deputy Chief of Quality Control for many years, earning numerous Commendations, and his impeccable background allowed him to have a Top Secret security clearance. In 1981, the U.S. Air Force Vice Commander in Chief cited him for outstanding support to the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. His work in support of Eglin Air Force Base Open House-Air Shows in 1982, 1983 and 1984 resulted in the Base Commander's Certificate of Appreciation. In 1984, the Department of the Air Force presented him the Award for Notable Achievement for significant contributions to the accomplishment of the U.S. Air Force mission. He was one of the founders of the Eglin Federal Credit Union in 1954 and enjoyed serving in various posts until March 2013. In 1957, he became a Charter member of the Knights of Columbus Council #4444. He became a 4th Degree Knight and is a Past Grand Knight. The "Frank Caruso College Scholarship" is given in his honor. Former Adjutant of American Legion Post #235, he was also a member of VFW Post 10090. In recent years, he was rarely seen without his proudly worn "WW II Veteran" cap. Frank was a member of the Sons of Italy Lodge 2422 and helped with the "Festa Italiana." In 1961, Frank became Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 506 and served for 40 years. He leaves a legacy of Scouting memories and training to hundreds of former Boy Scouts who call him "Mr. C." He served 25 years on the Gulf Coast Council Camping Committee and was Chairman of the Council's Boy Scout Religious Emblem Program, Chairman of the Catholic Committee on Scouting for the Diocese and a member of the National Catholic Scouting Committee. In 1994, the Boy Scouts of America National President joined the National Eagle Scouts Assoc. in awarding him the Scoutmaster Award of Merit. In 1995, he attended the Philmont Religious Emblem Course at Philmont National Boy Scout Camp in Cimarron, N.M. He received many other Scout honors, including the District Award of Merit, Silver Spade Award, the Scouter's Key and the Silver Beaver Award – the highest BSA District medal for distinguished service. He earned the prestigious Wood Badge and was a member of the Order of the Arrow. The Catholic Diocese presented him the St. George Award. In 2005, he received a Papal blessing in recognition of his work with the Boy Scouts. On the 40th anniversary of the Spanish Trail Scout Reservation, the District created the "Frank T. Caruso Camp Loyalty Award" which recognizes the Troop with the most consecutive years of Summer Camp attendance. "Mr. C" led Troop 506 to Summer Camp for 40 consecutive years beginning with it's opening in 1961. Eagle Scout Ed Babiak, like a son to Mr. C, continues his Boy Scout legacy as Scoutmaster of Troop 506. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 13, 2013, at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Fort Walton Beach. Pallbearers will be Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus. Friends are invited to join the family at a reception in the St. Mary Parish Life Center following services. The family suggests donations be made to K of C Council #4444 "Frank Caruso Scholarship Fund" P.O. Box 448, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32549, or St. Mary Parish Life Center 110 St. Mary Ave. Fort Walton Beach, or Covenant Hospice, Fort Walton Beach. Inurnment will be at Barrancas National Cemetery with Military Honors at a later date.
Published Online in Northwest Florida Daily News on Apr. 10, 2013
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