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Francis Mario Tavaglione


1915 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Francis Mario Tavaglione Obituary
FRANCIS MARIO TAVAGLIONE The son of Nick and Mary Tavaglione, Francis (Frank) M. Tavaglione passed away January 16, 2015. He was 99 years old. Born June 26, 1915 in Pittston, PA, Frank was an 88 year resident of Riverside, CA, having moved here with his parents and family in 1927. While attending Riverside Poly High H. Norman Spohr, who taught glee club and choir, told Frank he had a wonderful speaking voice and that he should try singing. He took Mr. Spohr up on his offer. In 1936, Frank, a baritone, won a state-wide KFI radio contest for his singing skills. And not long afterward he was in New York as the featured soloist on the nationally syndicated Maxwell House Radio program. Using the stage name Frank Travis, he appeared with Lucille Ball, Fanny Brice, Edward Arnold, Adolphe Menjou and Walter Huston to name a few. His passion was opera where he performed across the nation and in Europe with the likes of John Raitt and George London. During World War II he served with the 38th Infantry as a sergeant. He was awarded a Good Conduct medal, American Defense Service medal, and an African Middle Eastern Campaign medal. He was the first to sing on the BBC in uniform and was asked to perform for King Peter and Princess Alexandrea of Yugoslavia. After his performing career he taught voice at UC Riverside for many years and continued as a private voice instructor right up until the last few months of his life. In 1942 Frank married Betty Pearson of Fillmore, California. They were married for 73 years. His wife Betty, an accomplished pianist and singer in her own right, accompanied Frank for most of his singer career. Together they raised two children Linda and Steve. Frank is survived by his wife Betty 93; daughter and son-in-law Linda J. and Peter Spiers; son and daughter-in-law Steve A. and Sally Tavaglione; his cousins Joe, Louie and Nick Tavaglione; four grandchildren, Bill, Nick, Leah and Barrett, 11 great-grandchildren and 1 great, great grandchild and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and countless friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters Grace Icampo and Grace Tavaglione (infant death) and brothers James Tavaglione, Anthony Tavaglione and Leonard Tavaglione. A passionate and faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Frank was a member of 1st Baptist Church of Riverside for 70 years. Funeral Service will be held on Friday, January 23, 2015, 2pm at Acheson and Graham Garden of Prayer Mortuary in Riverside, CA with burial at Riverside National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be made to the Alzheimers Foundation of America.
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Published in Press-Enterprise on Jan. 21, 2015
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