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Frank Petrella Jr.

1930 - 2020
Frank Petrella, Jr., 89

Worcester - Frank Petrella, Jr, 89, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the College of the Holy Cross, died on January 12, 2020 at Saint Vincent's Hospital.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Eleanor Jane (McGinley) Petrella, his brother John and his wife Mary Ann of Pittsburgh, PA; his son John of Worcester, and his wife Siobhan; his daughters, Bonnie of Auburn, MA, and her husband, Paul Croteau; Teresa of Auburn, MA and her husband Walter Wheeler; Karen of Frankfurt, Germany and her husband, Raimund Vogelsberger. He is also survived by seven grandchildren; Michael Croteau and his wife Brianna of Charlton, MA; Jeffrey Croteau of Portsmouth, NH; Jeanelle Wheeler of Auburn; Giovanni and Ciorstaidh Petrella of Worcester; and Erik and Markus Vogelsberger of Frankfurt, Germany. He was predeceased by his father, Frank Petrella, Sr. (1985); his mother, Lucille Rose (Marnell) Petrella, (2001); and his sons, James (2004) and Thomas (2010).

He was born in Detroit, Michigan on August 29, 1930; however because of the "Great Depression" of the 1930s, and his father's job loss at the Ford Motor Company, his family was forced to move to Connellsville, PA in 1933, and later to Clairton, PA in 1937. Frank did well in high school, and following graduation in 1948, he hoped to attend college. At that time, he would have been the first member of the extended Petrella and Marnell families to attend college. Unfortunately, it was a dream too costly to realize.

Thus, ten days after graduating from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army serving from 1948 to 1952. During this period, he participated in several major pre-Korean War maneuvers: one in Fort Bragg, NC in early 1949; another in Oahu, Hawaii (Operation Miki) from August to October, 1949; and finally, Operation Portrex, held during the early months of 1950 on Vieques, a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico. After the outbreak of the Korean War on June 25, 1950, he served in Korea from early September 1950, through late 1951.

After discharge from the Army in 1952, the newly enacted Korean War G.I. Bill enabled Frank to attend the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. On August 14, 1954, the end of his college sophomore year, he married the "love of his life," Eleanor Jane McGinley, a resident of Wheeling, West Virginia and 1954 graduate of Mount St. Joseph College in Cincinnati, Ohio.

At Notre Dame, Frank and Jane lived in married student housing, primarily with Veterans, from 1954-1960. They were housed in reconditioned German and Italian prisoner-of-war barracks purchased by the university after World War II. "Vetville," as it was called, was a distinct and active "self-governing" small community, consisting of 120 units with three apartments in each, within the larger Notre Dame community. It fostered relationships which created many life-long friends for Frank and Jane. It was also an ideal place – pleasant and safe – to raise a young family, typically very large families. Four of their children were born in Vetville: Thomas (1955); Bonnie (1956); James (1958); and Karen (1959). Teresa (1961) and John (1963) were born in Worcester, MA.

While at Notre Dame, Frank received his Bachelors (1956), Masters (1957), and Doctorate (1961) degrees in Economics. He was a Teaching Fellow for two years and a Graduate Teaching Instructor his final year on the faculty.

In the summer of 1960, Frank accepted an appointment to the Holy Cross economics faculty. He remained a member of the faculty until his retirement in 1995 as Professor Emeritus. After retiring, Frank retained his office at Holy Cross for seven years, continuing to do research, write, and help the Economics Department. As a member of the faculty, he found teaching challenging, rewarding, and exciting. He once said he could not wait to get to campus in the morning and share some news article or idea with a class.

In addition, he served as Department Chair from 1969 to 1973, and throughout his career, he remained very active in both the "community" and "committee" life of the college. He was a member of several professional Economic societies, but particularly interested and active in the Economic History Association and History of Economics Society. A specialist in the History of Economic Analysis, he published numerous articles and book reviews in scholarly journals. At least ten of his major articles were reprinted in several published anthologies.

He was a member of the St. Catherine of Sweden Church and a long-time member of the parish Finance Committee. Also, at one time, he served as lector and as chair of the parish CCD committee.

After retiring, Frank regularly had coffee three times a day at Helen's Bakery in Quinsigamond Village across the street from his home. There he socialized with family and friends and made many new friends over the years. His generosity, dependability, and kindness will be missed by all who knew him.

Family and friends will gather to celebrate Frank's life on Friday, January 17th from 4:00pm until 7:00pm at the Callahan, Fay & Caswell Life Celebration Home, 61 Myrtle St., Worcester. His funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00am on Saturday, January 18th at Sacred Heart - St. Catherine of Sweden Parish, 596 Cambridge St., Worcester. Entombment will follow at St. John's Mausoleum, 260 Cambridge St., Worcester.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Worcester County Food Bank, Catholic Charities, or to the library fund of the Quinsigamond Elementary School

Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Jan. 13 to Jan. 16, 2020
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