Frances Molinari

Memorial Mass

10:00 am
Saturday, November 4, 2023
St Aloysius Church
21 Cherry Street
New Canaan, Connecticut, United States

Obituary of Frances A. Molinari

Frances A. Molinari, 89, passed away quietly on Tuesday, October 10th, in New Canaan, CT.

Frances was born September 20, 1934, to John and Mary Molinari and lived her early years in Hopewell, CT in one of the small homes for mill workers and spent any warm day she could playing in Rolling Brook with her sister, Doris.


Her father spent most of 1942 building them a home in Glastonbury into which they moved into in December of that year. Frances reported she spent most of the first day flushing the toilet, as she was flabbergasted by the indoor plumbing that made this modest house more of a palace to an eight-year old girl.


She liked school but found reading difficult; the translation from the page to sound didn’t make sense to her until the third grade, when Mrs. Rosenberg – a warm, welcoming and patient woman who loved poetry asked her to memorize the 23rd Psalm. Once the letter combinations and words were unlocked, Frances’ path was destined. As she got older, she was certain if she could overcome her difficulties, she too, could unlock that cage for other children.


She graduated Glastonbury High School in 1959, went on to Central Connecticut State College and then completed her master’s degree in education in 1967 at the University of Connecticut. She began teaching at South School at the start of the 1959 school year, teaching grade one for 14 years before then fulfilling her destiny as the reading specialist for the school through her retirement in 1991.


Her influence was incontrovertible; no matter when out in town – running errands or sitting down to dinner – it was rare that someone did not approach her to say hello, tell them what a difference she had made in their life and how grateful they were to have had her as a teacher. Quick to laugh and always a twinkle in her eye, there was an inherent desire by all those who knew her to make her proud.


Her second love was travel. She started early in life and no destination was too far flung to explore – China after being opened to the West, the pyramids in Egypt and safaris in Africa. To sit at our Thanksgiving table was to travel the world with her and see it through her eyes. She overcame her reluctance to speak Italian when finally making it to the small, mountaintop town that held the family name. Molinari, Italy now is populated by more goats than people, high above the Po valley, but to see the origin of our family with her own eyes was an important and powerful moment. After retiring, she would make a simple trip up to Maine twice a year in the spring and in the fall to bask in the salt air and rocky coast.


But she always returned to Connecticut - and to New Canaan which she called home for 54 years where she resided with her sister, Doris, and lifelong friend, Mary Feloney. And for a town that she taught to read, they were all better off for it. She is survived by her older sister, Doris, and cousins, Judith Polay, Joseph and Jane Molinari.


A memorial mass will be held for Frances at St. Aloysius Church 21 Cherry Street in New Canaan on Saturday November 4th at 10:00 a.m..

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