1922 - 2008 (December 11)
Frank Cucinotta was born on August 31, 1922, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one of two sons and a daughter of Ambrose Cucinotta and Josephine Martorano. He was baptized on October 1, 1922, at Saint Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi Church, Philadelphia. Frank attended elementary school and Bok Vocational High School in South Philadelphia, and in 1942 he joined the US Army Air Corps and fought in World War II as a flight engineer/upper turret gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism, as well as receiving the Air Medal four times.
After the war, Frank joined the Merchant Marines and held jobs in Philadelphia, until he was employed as a mechanic at the Millville, New Jersey, airport. From childhood on, he came to know the Augustinians through St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish in South Philadelphia, PA, and Saint Mary Parish, East Vineland, N.J., near where his relatives had a farm in Rosenhayn, N.J. In 1950 he began serving as sacristan at Saint Mary Parish, as well as maintenance man for the friars’ community. He entered the Order as a postulant in 1956 for the Italian Vice Province, was received as a novice on April 25, 1962 and after a year at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, NY, he professed first vows on April 26, 1963. He made his solemn profession on April 26, 1966.
In 1958, Brother Frank “discovered” the property, Red Oaks Estate, which was to become Saint Augustine College Preparatory School in Richland, N.J. The Vice Province bought the property and opened the school in 1959.
Brother Frank spent all of his years as a religious at Saint Augustine Prep, serving the school and the local Augustinian community in a variety of capacities. He supervised the renovations to the original house on the property, now used as the friary, and later oversaw the construction of other school buildings. He also served the school as secretary and as bookkeeper. Brother Frank was always an affable, gracious, dedicated and quiet presence.
In 1994, when the Vice Province was suppressed, Brother Frank became a member of the Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova. After suffering patiently and quietly with cancer for a good while, in December 2008, he moved to the Health Care Center at Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, Pa. He died on the evening of December 11, 2008, at the age of 86. He is buried in the Augustinian plot of Saint Mary’s Cemetery, East Vineland, N.J.