Frank Fornaca



Frank Mario Fornaca passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at the age of 94 at Sharp Memorial Hospital on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, due to congestive heart failure.


Frank was born December 23, 1923, in San Diego, CA, to Maria and Mario Fornaca.  He was the youngest of three children.  During WWII 1944-1945, Frank was a B17 Bomber Pilot. Frank grew up working in his father’s bakery and took over the business with his brother Felice. In 1965, Frank and his brother opened their first car dealership. Today, Frank Motors has 350 employees.


He was introduced to Mary Laricchia, the love of his life, in 1950.  Their cousins conspired to set them up on a blind date.  Three months later, they were engaged and happily married ever since. They were just one month shy of their 59th wedding anniversary before Mary passed away in 2009.  Frank and Mary traveled the world together.   During his life, he was a member of several clubs including the San Diego Country Club, Indian Wells Country Club, PGA West Country Club, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, and Executives Association of San Diego. He loved playing golf and he played in several PGA tournaments including the Bob Hope Classic. 


Frank was a devoted and wonderful father to his children and adored by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  He was known as “Papa.” He taught his grandchildren great family traditions, including Sunday night dinner with the family, celebrating Easter in Palm Desert, trips to Maui, how to play craps in Las Vegas and the importance of giving back to the San Diego community.


He was the most kind, humble and loyal man.  He will be deeply missed by all who loved him and his family is proud to carry on his legacy.


Frank is survived by his children Frank Fornaca, Francine (Gary) Fenelli, Ron (Cathy) Fornaca, grandchildren Marco Fenelli, Marianna (Essam) Khouri, Monica (Robert) Salem, Kate Fornaca, Elise (Chris) Joseph, Nicholas Fornaca, Matthew Fornaca, and great-grandchildren Gianna Fenelli, Kennedy Fenelli, Mia Khouri, Michael Khouri, Isabel Salem and Stella Salem.


A private memorial will be held by his immediate family. 


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Rady Children’s Hospital benefiting the Heart Institute.





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