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Francis DeLuca Was a Noted Athlete

A Mass for Westport resident and long-time restaurant owner Francis DeLuca was held Friday morning at Assumption Church. DeLuca, 78, died Aug. 16 at his home surrounded by family.

DeLuca owned and operated Franny's Restaurant in Saugatuck for 25 year before retiring in 1982.

A lifelong resident, DeLuca was born Jan. 23, 1932, to the late Frank and Ann (Horelick) DeLuca. He was a 1951 graduate of Staples High School, a member of the Westport Sons of Italy, the Westport Police Athletic League and Joseph J. Clinton VFW Post 399.

In June 1998, DeLuca was honored by the Sports Man of Westport for his outstanding athleticism as a young man. Growing up, he played many sports, including football at Staples in the late 1940s and two years with the Saugatuck Advertisers. He was also a standout swimmer and diver, having won or placed in every state meet in which he competed.

In the 1950s, DeLuca served with the Army's 4th Division in Germany, where he continued to swim and dive. He presented diving shows from the 1- and 3-meter boards, ending with a high dive from a 40-foot tower.

He coached a girls softball team that won the league championship four years in a row, and in 1980 his co-ed Little League team won the state championship. This team was a finalist in the Northeast regional tournament and also qualified and represented Westport in the nationals.

DeLuca is survived by loving wife, Joanne (Renzulli) DeLuca, daughters Joanne Frances DeLuca of Bridgeport and Patricia Ann DeLuca of Provincetown, Mass.,and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a sister, Ann Bennette, and a brother, Joseph DeLuca.

Contributions in his memory may be made to Whittingham Cancer Center, 24 Stevens St., Norwalk CT 06856.

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