“He died once before,” Ida Fracasse said of her husband, Joe Fracasse, Glendora resident and publisher of “The Glendoran.” “He died but he pulled through and came back.”
That seemed to be the story of Fracasse’s life, who overcome a dozen ailments, life-threatening diagnoses, and even a moment when his heart stopped beating during an episode of ventricular fibrillation. But when Fracasse, 79, died Monday after suffering from cancer, it took awhile for it to sink in for Ida and his family. The man who seemed to have nine lives finally passed away.
Fracasse always challenged himself to overcome any obstacle, and there were many, including a heart attack, a previous diagnosis of cancer in the nose, and a hernia.
And then there was the day in August 2011 when Fracasse suffered a ventricular fibrillation. Glendora Police rushed to the Fracasse home and revived him twice using an automatic external defibrillator. Fracasse had actually flat-lined, said Ida. And when he was revived to live another day, Fracasse said he wasn’t going to go down without a fight. But it was eventually stage-4 cancer that ended the fight for Fracasse.
For Ida, the pain of losing her husband of 58 years is still raw.
The two met in 1954 in New York and married after Ida’s senior prom. They had three children, Lynn Nobb of San Dimas and sons Bob Fracasse of Littleton, Colo., and Rick Fracasse of La Verne.
The family moved to Glendora in 1965.
The couple started Fracasse Insurance together, a business that thrived until they decided to publish “The Glendoran” in 1982. Without any publishing experience, the couple put out the bi-monthly magazine for nearly 30 years, profiling community members, events and milestones of the Glendora community.
“Joe enjoyed taking photos and video,” said Ida. “That was his passion.”
Throughout their nearly sixty years of marriage, Ida said they were rarely apart.
“Only when either he or I was in the hospital were we apart,” she said. “But we were always together.”
It was Ida who pursued community activities and volunteer projects, and Fracasse always supported her in her endeavours, eventually taking charge of community efforts of his own.
He was a member of the Kiwanis and the committee for the bandshell at Finkbiner Park, chairman of the holiday basket program and helped develop Crime Stoppers in Glendora.
Both he and Ida were instrumental in developing EYE-DAS, the Eye Diseases are Serious Foundation for the Visually Impaired.
“Joe loved people and he loved joking,” said Ida. “He enjoyed seeing people happy.”
Ida said her husband did not want a funeral, rather he wanted his friends and family to celebrate his life.
“He wanted one big party,” said Ida.
The family is planning a celebration of Fracasse’s life 1 p.m. Jan. 20 at the San Dimas Golf Club in San Dimas.