A week shy of his 90th birthday, former Rhode Island State Senator (26th District) Francis Angelo Gencarelli passed away in his sleep on June 23, 2020, after 75 years of blissful companionship with the love of his life, Jane (nee Bradshaw).
A skilled basketball player at Westerly High School and president of his class in 1948 and 1949, Gencarelli played a key role in helping his team win Rhode Island state basketball championships in his junior and senior year. These experiences prepared him for later successes in business and politics.
Married in 1953, eight years after their first walk down Granite Street in Westerly, RI, Jane and Francis never looked back after he took her hand that day. He entered the US Army as a 2nd lieutenant after serving two years as the Adjutant General of his ROTC troop at the University of Rhode Island, where he earned a BA in business.
Genc—as he was often lovingly called—and Jane raised four children and guided fifteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren (so far) through competitive sports, stage plays, piano, flute, trumpet and recitals and prize speaking contests. Before the grandchildren appeared, Francis and Jane kept busy singing across from one another on local radio, regional TV, in choir lofts, in local productions of the Westerly Community Chorus and acting in Westerly Players dramatic productions. Gencarelli served two terms on the Westerly Town Council and four terms in the Rhode Island State Senate representing the 26th District that includes Westerly and Block Island. His wife Jane followed him in that same senate seat, serving from 1983 to 1987. Not surprisingly, Rhode politics became known for its singing senators.
Making all this possible was Gencarelli’s career in sales of innovative building materials across the United States and the world. After success selling specialized brick and tile products in the eastern United States, Gencarelli and his SAE fraternity brother, Moe Morcelli, purchased the United States distribution rights to Dryvit, a “green” exterior wall covering product from Germany. He spent the next twenty years creating an international market for Dryvit as well as establishing a building standard based on the product.
Gencarelli is survived by his wife Jane, his son David, and daughters Ann (Robert) Cruso and Lisa (Kirk) Clinkenbeard. His beloved daughter Francesca (Seth) Wish predeceased him in 2016. He is also survived by fifteen loving grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and his beloved sisters Stella (John) Dudenhoefer and Martha (Barry) Novakoff of Naples, Florida. The viewing hours and grave-side service will be private, with a public mass to be held on Saturday, June 27, 2020 at 10:00 A.M. at St. Pius X Church, 44 Elm Street, Westerly, Rhode Island.
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