Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Celebrating Leo Francos on his 90th Birthday

Text (c) Robert Barry Francos, 2011
Photos credited where known
Photos can be made larger by clicking on them

If he had not passed away in 2006, my dad would have celebrated his 90th birthday on January 12, 2011. This blog is dedicated to him.

This little picture is from one of those Times Square kind of photo booths, just around the time he was enlisted into the army for Dubbya Dubbya Two. He would have been in his very early 20s. Funny thing is as time went on, he refused to smile for these kinds of pictures, especially official ones. Here, his amazing hair at the time

While my dad never had to go overseas during the war, he still had to go through basic training like anyone else. Despite the smile, this was not a happy period for him, being picked on by others because of his height (5'5"), weight (very thin), and his Jewish ethnicity. The other person in the photo is unknown.
Soon after the war, Leo I(right) ran into an old friend he used to know in the Bronx neighborhood in which he grew up, Ralph Schwartzmann (center), and they remained close friends for the rest of their lives (Ralph, who we called Uncle, passed on in the late 70s). The person on the left is unknown.
Leo, with his father (my grandfather), Benjamin Francos, who was fluent in many languages. He was born in Hungary and came to the States in 1910, and passed away in 1963 at age 80.
Leo and Helen Rosen's wedding picture from September 19, 1948.
My dad doing the dishes at their Brooklyn apartment in the very early '50s. [pic: Helen Francos]
Leo Francos, his elder sister Lillian, her then-tyke Stanley, and their dad, Benjamin Francos. I believe this was taken near Benjamin's apartment in the Bronx.
Ralph Schwartmann married Audrey, and they produced a daughter named Karin. During one Seder when the Schwartzmann's were over in the mid-'70s, Karin and I walked about a mile down to White Castle for a very inappropriate cheeseburger.
Leo was an auditor for Sperry Rand company in the government section, and he occasionally had the opportunity to travel, including to some bases.
Could be either one of Leo's sons giving him a hug, either Richard or Robert. [photo: Helen Francos]
Helen and Leo loved to throw (and attend) parties through the '50s and early '60s. Here Leo is in the living room dressed as a beatnik for a Halloween get-together. [photo: Helen Francos]
The parties were toned down by the mid-'60s, but they still happened. Here Leo helps two of the upstairs neighbors (Sandra was from one flight up, Joe from two). Her daughter Elise, and his step-daughter Julie Ann, were in my class [pic: Helen Francos]
At yet another living room gathering.
In 1962, older brother Richard attended sleepaway camp, and on family day was visited by Robert, Helen, Leo and Benjamin (sitting). [pic: Richard Francos]
For a while Robert and Richard attended camp at the same time. Again on a family visiting day, is Leo, Robert (wearing the camp's shirt), and Richard, who had a recent growth spurt. [pic: Helen Francos]
The day of Robert's Bar Mitzvah in 1968, Leo, Robert, Helen and a stylish Richard wait in the living room for everyone to show up. [pic: Audrey Schwartzmann]
Leo shakes Roberts hand after junior high school graduation, held at Brooklyn College. [pic: Helen Francos]
Leo and Helen at Robert's JHS grad. Helen wears her favorite beehive-style haircut. [pic: RBF]
Helen and Leo on vacation at Niagara Fall (Canadian side) in 1970. The Skylon tower can be see behind Leo. [pic: RBF]
Taken during the early '00s at Ken Laffer's house, more than 20 years after Helen's passing in 1981, Helen's sister Elsie Laffer relaxes with her brother-in-law. [pic: RBF]
This is the last photo of Leo with his sister, Lillian Weiner. She passed away about a year after this was taken.
Leo died on December 11, 2006, and was laid to rest beside my mom, who he never got over missing through the more than 25 years they were apart.

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