Francis James Desiderio
Published: December 16, 2012
Francis James Desiderio, age 79, of Russellville, Ark., died Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. He was born Feb. 27, 1933, in Tamaqua, Pa. to Michael and Dorothy Desiderio. He was preceded in death by his parents and a daughter-in-law, Sharon Mullens Desiderio.
"Frank," as his friends knew him was a proud veteran of United States Army during the Korean War era. He was a graduate of Arkansas Tech University, Ed 59', he received his master's from Northeastern Illinois University MOA 69'. He was the director of human resources for Wayne Farms, a member of All Saints Episcopal Church, The American Legion, VA volunteer, AARP volunteer, The Eagles, The Elks, and a longtime member of The Lions Club where he received local and national recognition for his efforts to combat childhood sight issues and blindness. He received recognition as a "Melvin Jones Fellow," awarded the "Edward Dalstrom Distinguished Service Award," and Russellville's "Lion of the Year."
In 1950, he received a football scholarship from New York University. He played football professionally until his induction into the United States Army. He became an Army football coach at Fort Dix, N.J. In the 1970's, he became the defensivecCoordinator at Loyola University of Chicago, and later the DC at North Eastern Illinois University.
Survivors include his wife, Joyce R. Desiderio; three sons and a daughter-in-law, Michael and Nidia Desiderio of Kingsville, Texas, George Desiderio of Maumelle, and Dominic Desiderio of Conway; a sister and brother-in-law, Theresa Marie and Joe Essig of Reading, Pa.; four grandchildren, Nicole, Natalie, Anthony and Catherine; two great-grandchildren; and numerous nephews and nieces.
The family will receive friends from 4:30 to 6 p.m., Monday with a Rosary service to follow at 6 p.m. in the Shinn Chapel. The funeral service will be at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, at All Saints Episcopal Church with the Fr. Jos Tharakan officiating. Burial with military honors will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the National Cemetery at Fort Smith, under the direction of Shinn Funeral Service of Russellville.
Memorials may be made to All Saints Episcopal Church, "Neighbor's Table," 501 South Phoenix Ave, Russellville, Ark. 72801.
The online obituary and guestbook are available at www.shinnfuneral.com.