Frank Cavoto
1928 - 2021
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Frank Tony Cavoto

Frank Tony Cavoto served a great purpose on this earth; exhibiting a deep love of life, wisdom, grace, and intelligence from January 14, 1928 until February 18th, 2021.

He was honored to be a first-generation Italian-American as the son of Tomaso and Anna Cavoto who emigrated to the United States in the early 1900's. The San Francisco flat that Frank was born and raised in stands today in the Castro District, still leading with the tiled steps his father had put in. Frank was the 5th child and first son after his beloved sisters: Katherine, Palma, Claudia and Mary.

When Frank was a boy of 15 and wanted to start working, it was his sister Palma who encouraged him to inquire at the hotels. After several days with no luck, he found himself in front of the St. Francis Hotel and wondered if he dared go in as it was so prestigious. He did enter and was told they were looking for a pageboy but they did not have a uniform to fit him. He was small for his age still not showing the signs of his eventual 6'1" height. Somehow, he convinced them to alter the double-breasted, dark blue suit to his size, with a determination that would continue to benefit him throughout his life.

Frank was proud to serve his country in WW11, as an army band member stationed in Japan. He loved his country and recently created baseball caps with the phrase "Make USA More United."

After the war he went to San Francisco State University on the GI Bill, earning his BA in Music.
He continued his education later in life, receiving credentials in teaching and administration.

In 1955 he moved to Modesto for his first teaching job at Del High Elementary. This is where he met and married the love of his life, Freda Doerksen.

Frank and Freda eventually moved and made Concord their home for 43 years. Frank worked for the Mt. Diablo School District for over 20 years. First as a band leader at Clayton Valley H.S., and later moving into administration, as vice principle at College Park, Pleasant Hill and Mt. Diablo High Schools.

After retiring from the school district Frank got his real estate license and enjoyed a new career as an agent for Centex Realty. He recently remembered these years of selling homes during the day, returning home for a swim in the pool, a chilled martini and dinner with Freda, as "golden days".

Frank enjoyed sports; playing tennis and golf throughout much of his life. He was a lifelong avid football fan all the way to the 2021 Superbowl.

Frank was devastated by the loss of his wife, Freda in 1995, but persevered to create a new and fulfilling life in Benicia. He enjoyed a healthy social life as a member and musical coordinator of the Benicia Yacht Club. He also continued to serve his love of music as the conductor of the Diablo Regional Band. The Benicia Library manager, Fran, says that she'll never forget the conversation she had with Frank that convinced the Library to open the fireplace area for concerts. "It totally changed how we did things. Frank had walked back there and was impressed with how great the acoustics were. His audience capacity went from 40-85 people. I remember some Christmas concerts where I just kept bringing more chairs out. He was a special man."

Frank enjoyed many jobs and careers including in his city days as a detective for the San Francisco Burnes Agency, but when asked which career he would like to try he said, "I'd like to be a working cowboy, moving the cattle." He loved riding horses as a young man, old Western movies, and never tired of starting his day by watching Gunsmoke while eating breakfast.

Frank's legacy will continue to shine and thrive through those who knew and loved him: his three cherished daughters Amy, Judea, Karen, his much-loved son-in law Mark, his many nephews and nieces, their children, and grand-children. Those special in his heart who will remember his presence: Deborah Selman, his music students, Benicia Yacht Club members and the artists he promoted and supported with his nearly 20 years of Jazz-Wine-Art events. We also remember the special bond he shared with his other son-in-law, Phil, and his dear friends Sam and Nancy.

In lieu of flowers please send donations to Habitat for Humanity. Arrangements under the direction of Passalacqua Funeral Chapel, Benicia. Please visit the online tribute at

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Feb. 25 to Feb. 28, 2021.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Passalacqua Funeral Chapel
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7 entries
March 22, 2021
Frank was my landlord at the house in Forestville. I have been living here for ten years, and that's the longest I've ever lived in one place. I grew to love this home, that Frank built with his Father and family, I also grew quite fond of Frank over the years. I will miss talking with him, and I offer my deepest sympathies to the rest of the family. God Bless. Derek
Derek Reid
March 1, 2021
Mr. Cavoto was the orchestra teacher at Clayton Valley High School when I was a student. I played the viola, and graduated in 1964. He was an excellent teacher, and a sweet, kind man.
Lynn Dalton Walford
February 28, 2021
My sincere condolences to his family and friends. Mr. Cavoto was a favorite teacher as the Music Director at Clayton Valley High School. I have very fond memories of my two years in 1965-66 while playing trombone. His bands were consistently excelled; among the finest in the east bay area. His positive influence has stayed with me for a lifetime.
Bob Clay
February 28, 2021
Frank touched me deeply when he approached me to be; The Voice, for The Diablo Regional Concert Band. He was sure it was a position for me. Me, not so sure. For three years I full filled the role; as The Voice. Frank brought out the best in all he met. If you knew Frank, you loved him. Truly a man to admire. Will miss you; so glad we had long conversation a few months back. RIP dear one.
Barbra Brooks
February 25, 2021
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
February 25, 2021
My condolences to the family . May you find comfort in your treasured memories and Gods promise to return our loved ones . 1st Thessalonians 4 : 13 & 14 .
February 25, 2021
Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.
Passalacqua Funeral Chapel
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