St. John’s Mourns the Passing of Jack Franzetti ’45UC, ’46G, ’56Ph.D.

December 14, 2020

St. John’s mourns the passing of Jack Franzetti ’45UC, ’46G, ’56Ph.D., retired professor, Division of English and Speech, The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies (CCPS).

"Jack Franzetti devoted his life to St. John's University, and his legacy and impact on multiple generations of students, including myself, will long endure,” said Glenn Gerstner, Ed.D., ’81SVC, Interim Dean, CCPS. “As a triple alum of St. John’s, he leaves behind lasting memories of living, learning, and loving a University that he was proud to call home. May his memory be a blessing."

After 58 years of service to the University, Dr. Franzetti retired in 2014 and was the longest-serving member of the faculty at the time. He was featured in St. John’s University Magazine in 2008 as one of several faculty with more than 40 years of service. He explained the special connection that senior faculty have to the University.

“Those of us who’ve been here all these years have a special affinity with the University,” he said. “We’re happy being here because we feel we’re doing something important—we’re fulfilling a mission. That mission has remained constant over all the years that I’ve been here, as we continue to reach out to people who need help. It is a powerful motivator.”

"Jack Franzetti and his life's work were all about St. John's University and the generations of students that he loved, inspired, and mentored and whose lives he made better by his guiding example inside and outside of the classroom. Jack is an enduring inspiration of all that is good about a transformative professor and St. John's. May he rest in peace," observed Simon Geir Møller, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

In 2009, the Dr. Jack Franzetti Scholarship Fund was established in his name. The fund awards partial annual scholarships to deserving juniors and seniors with a 3.5 or greater grade point average.

“Jack Franzetti lived his entire life making only friends and never a single enemy. Would that the world had even a few people his equal,” said Robert Forman, Ph.D. ‘68C, Professor, English, St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, who was hired by Dr. Franzetti in 1970. “My own life would have been radically different had I never met him.”

Tom Raponi ’76SVC, played baseball for St. John’s and had Dr. Franzetti for an advanced English course. “It was hard for a baseball player, but his class was one you always looked forward to attending,” he recalled. “His class was incredibly helpful to me as I learned how to put it all together so that my thoughts made sense on paper. May you rest In peace, Dr. Franzetti.”

“We lost a true St. John’s University gem,” said Geraldine M. Castelli ’03SVC, Assistant Dean, Graduate Studies, CCPS, a former student of Dr. Franzetti. “He was an icon, and he showed the way for many of us as to how to live a life with dignity and respect for all. Our University is better for having had him with us.”

Services for Dr. Franzetti are as follows:

Monday, December 14, 7–9 p.m.; and Tuesday, December 15, 2–7 p.m.
Doyle B. Shaffer Funeral Home
45-09 Little Neck Parkway
Little Neck, NY 11362

Wednesday, December 16, 11:45 a.m.   
Canarsie Cemetery
1370 Remsen Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11236

Donations in Dr. Franzetti’s name can be made to:

The Congregation of the Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus
c/o Sr. Faustina Quayson
242-11 88th Road
Bellerose, NY 11426


Dr. Jack Franzetti Scholarship Fund
St. John’s University
Advancement Office
8000 Utopia Parkway
Queens, NY 11439