February 25, 1930 - January 17, 2021
WHITESBORO - Mr. Frank A. Cannistra, Ret. UPD, age 90, went home to the Lord on Sunday, January 17, 2021 when he passed away unexpectedly with his wife, and grandson Dante by his side, and those he loved most in his heart. His family had the greatest admiration and love for him, and he will be sorely missed. Born in Utica on February 25, 1930, Frank was the son of the late Vincenzo and Maria (Coschino) Cannistra. He attended St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Grammar School where he excelled in the sport of basketball and attended T.R. Proctor High School. A veteran of the United States Army, Frank honorably served his country during the Korean War as a member of the Military Police stationed stateside. On June 6, 1953, after he respectfully courted her, he married the former Angeline “Shirley” Leone and during all their 68 years together, they embraced and loved one another. They felt blessed to have each other, but as we all know, the blessing of their children made their love as a couple even stronger. Frank worked alongside his dad as a well-known bricklayer, but he always aspired to be a policeman and member of the Utica Police Department, and in 1956, his dream to protect, defend, and respect the rights and dignity of the people he served came true. He began his career as a Patrolman and worked his way up through the ranks to Detective, and Senior Investigator. He was a champion for those who needed help, and for that, he was loved. He accrued years of experience, was admired and respected, and was proud to protect this community for 39 1/2 years. He also worked at Chicago Market in the Deli Department, and concurrently, as with many other officers, he patrolled local events and venues. He was known to be the go-to man for advice or assistance. Chief of Police Benny Rotundo and Frank were best of friends, and the Chief, in earnest, spoke these words about his friend on the force, “If I ever needed someone to watch my back, it was Frank”. An interactive patriarch, Frank loved raising his kids and enjoying his multigenerational family. He always carved time out for each of his children and Vincent especially enjoyed one on one occasions bass fishing with his dad at Lake Moraine. It was expected that Frank’s son would play baseball as well as his grandsons who followed. Papa was the chauffeur to all the grandchildren and he was always prompt. His first-born granddaughter, Nicole, held the memory of Papa driving about, showing her the homes that were decorated for Christmas, as well as the infamous Trinkaus Manor. That’s how memories were made among the little ones as they grew. His grandchildren knew that he was in the audience of all the girls’ performances, was a fan who attended all his grandsons’ baseball and football games, and on occasion, he might try to tell the umpire that his call was wrong. He was more than attentive to the great-grandchildren’s activities, and he never missed one — all out of love! Frank’s family was first and foremost, always. If it was something regarding his family, it was important to him, too. Starting out as a “Pin Boy”, Frank became fascinated with bowling, a sport that he managed to play until the age of 85! He was a member of leagues, upon leagues, and he rolled multiple 300 games! He was inducted into the New York State Bowling Conference (USBC) Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 2008 as well as the Utica Bowling Hall of Fame in 1984, served as president of the Utica Bowling Association and was awarded many medals in the Police Olympic Bowling Competition which he proudly displayed in his home. In the summer, he was a golfer, hitting the fairways at Valley View Golf Course, and upon a phone call, he would be a dependable substitute for any member who could not make a tournament or event for either sport. He was also fond of friendly games of poker, and he was a lifelong fan of the New York Yankees. Frank was such a sportsman that when it came time for him to be among his nephews at the bowling alley, he was affectionately called upon as “Uncle Frank”, who gave his counsel and advice whether solicited or not! Frank was a member of the American Legion Fort Schuyler Post, and a parishioner of St. Anthony & St. Agnes Church. The most amazing thing for Frank and Shirley was watching 3 generations of their children grow to adults who they loved and were so proud of. They were blessed with a great life filled with love, laughter, years of fun and fond memories, many friendships, and a gracious, large “Cannistra and Leone” families which could gather hundreds together at any given time. The family’s tradition for Sunday dinner was so pleasing to Frank. Shirley cooked the food, and the kids brought the dessert. They shared savory meals and glorious “green cake!” The foundation of this entire family was the solid link between Frank and Shirley and the many beloved extended family members who made their life so meaningful for so many decades. Amen to the old ways of keeping family together! Frank is survived by his devoted wife, Shirley; the lights of his life, his children and their spouses, Maria and Michael Hammill, Vincent and Ava Cannistra, and Sharon and Dominick Rose; grandchildren, Nicole and David Lazar, and Alessandra Hammill and Ross Hammond; Frank Anthony and Julie Cannistra, Melaina, and Valerie Cannistra; Valentina Rose and fiancé Ray Ulrich, Dominick Rose and fiancée Amanda Kugler, twins Dante Rose and Kaitlyn Di’Flo, and Julianna Rose and Brandon Ayala; great-grandchildren, Dane, Gabriella, Sophia Angelina, twins Roman and Camilla, Alex, Sydney, and Ethan; Vincent Frank, Anthony James; and Leah. He also leaves many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins; in-laws, Mary DiGristina, Anthony P. Leone Sr., Russell F. and Laura Leone, Flora Leone, and Violet A. Leone; and friends too many to mention from a wonderful life filled with great times. He was predeceased by his great-granddaughter, Audrianna Nicole Dichiera; brother and sister-in-law, Anthony P. and Katherine “Kaye” (Salvo) Cannistra; infant sister Congetta; sisters and brothers-in-law, Carmella and John J. Caputo, Theresa M. and Alfred Stivali, Lena M. Bruzzese Papa and first husband Paul Bruzzese and second husband Anthony P. Papa, and Kathryn A. and Frank Delia; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Victor C. Sr. and Carmella “Cora” Leone, Rocco A. Sr. and Angeline Leone, Frank B. Sr. and Grace N. Leone, Patsy L. Leone Jr., Joseph V. Leone Sr., and Charles “Charlie” DiGristina; nephew, Pasquale V. “Pat” and Marilyn A. Leone; and his nieces, Debra Lynne Leone, and Florence R. “Florie” Rizzo. The family extends their appreciation to Dr. Javeria Shabbir for her gentle understanding and unforgettable, empathetic way; and Samantha “Sam” Prendergast/NP for her kindness of heart and concern for the family awaiting information. Due to the abatement of Covid-19 restrictions, family and friends are respectfully invited to attend a Memorial Mass that will be on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at 1:00 at St. Anthony & St. Agnes Church to celebrate Frank’s life. Memorial contributions may be considered to the American Cancer Society online at https://donate3.cancer.org/ or by mail to 100 Lomond Ct, Ste 6, Utica, NY 13502. Interment took place in Calvary Cemetery.
WHITESBORO - Mr. Frank A. Cannistra, Ret. UPD, age 90, went home to the Lord on Sunday, January 17, 2021 when he passed away unexpectedly with his wife, and grandson Dante by his side, and those he loved most in his heart. His family had the... View Obituary & Service Information
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