Francis J. Molinaro passed away April 2nd at the Aspinwall VA hospital in Pittsburgh, PA due to Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Francis was born to Italian immigrants Guiseppe Molinaro and Louise Palyor Molinaro in Soldier Pa on July 15, 1934. Francis was proud of his Italian heritage. His father Guiseppe came to this country at age 15 by himself and went to work in the coal mines of Western Pennsylvania after his parents were killed in Italy due to an Earthquake. Francis left Pennsylvania at age 19 and made the Air Force his career embarking on a interesting and full life. He served for 30 years and obtained the highest enlisted rank possible, retiring as a Chief Master Sergeant. He was fortunate to have many wonderful posts during his career in the Air Force including Tokyo, Washington D.C., the Netherlands, Stockholm Sweden, and Hahn AFB in Germany. After his Air Force career, his wife's jobs took them to Brussels, Vienna, Cairo, and Amman Jordan where Francis then worked for other Federal Agencies. If asked, he would say that his favorite posts were Stockholm Sweden and Cairo Egypt. In Stockholm, he had many great Swedish friends and enjoyed their company, and the culture and quality of life of that great country. In Cairo, he was very fond of the Egpytians, their welcome of him as an American and all the interesting things and history that country had to offer. He enjoyed going to the "Souk", the grand market of Cairo many times. He also fondly remembered his trip to Israel in the late 70's where he got to help carry a cross during Easter procession in Jerusalem. Francis was married for 34 years to Cornelia Whitfield of Timberlake, NC and they had two children (Cindy and Mark). Due to the harder lives Cornelia and he had growing up without the means to go to college, he always told his kids from the day they were born to get the college education he and Cornelia could not. He retired to his hometown of Punxsutawney in 1992 where he finally bought a Cadillac after talking about it for 35 years. He had many friends and a very active life up until his passing. He enjoyed going to the casinos to play slots with his friends and his sister Marlene to pass the time, and was also very active in his community. Not one to sit still, he was serving as the President of the Punsutawney area school board at the time of his death. More than anything, Francis loved his children Mark (wife Allison of Cary) and Cindy (Husband Joe of Alpharetta, GA) and his grandchildren Celyn, Maren, Linnea, Alex and Joseph. Francis was preceded in death by his brothers Euguene, Johnny and Henry, and his sisters Irene and Connie. He is survived by his ex-wife Cornelia of Cary, NC, his sister Marlene of Niagara Falls, NY, and his sister Virginia of Pittsburgh, Pa. His son Mark wanted to thank the Aspinwall VA Hospital for the caring and respect they showed his father, himself, and the family during this difficult time. Francis will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery with Full Military Honors on July 29th. Arrangements by Perman Funeral Home of Pittsburgh, PA. We miss you Dad and Grandpa.
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