Monday, January 25, 2010

A word about my cousin Frank Cutrona

My first cousin Frank died this past December, he was only 58 at the time. Some friends of his held a memorial service out in California this past weekend. One of his friends Scott Millare read my story from last month. I was deeply touched that he read it and felt sad that I was not there for the memorial. Frank Cutrona was indeed a "Son of Brooklyn" and grew up not far from Kensington and Windsor Terrace in Sunset Park. Below is the email Scott wrote to me.


My name is Scott Millare and I worked along side your cousin Frank Cutrona here in Southern California for the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Although Frank and I worked together for only a year and a half, we became close as he always called me his "Hawaiian Brother". We always talked about he and I smoking a cigar and drinking a glass of wine on a beach on the Big Island of Hawaii where I grew up, on the north side in a place called Waipio Valley.

I wanted to let you know that while googling Frank's name on the web, I came upon your website and the blog that you wrote about your first cousin Frank on 12/13/09. It was an insight to a different side of Frank that a lot of us on the West Coast had not been privy to. It was a great read!

I was at the hospital with his daughters while he was still on life support. The girls had this lost look that will be embedded in my mind for a while....

We just had a memorial service this past Saturday for Frank. It was a great gathering of family, friends, former Brown Foreman co-workers, past buyers who Frank called on, and other people within the restaurant and wine industry who had come to love and cherish his friendship. It had been storming with floods and high winds the 3 previous days leading up to that Saturday. When I arrived, you could tell it was a special day, because now it was beautiful and sunny and we were right on the water at the Surf & Sand Hotel overlooking the ocean at Laguna Beach. The setting couldn't have been more serene and perfect!

Laura, Heather and Sarah had someone else read their prepared speeches for they obviously would've had a tough time conversing. There were about 4 other people who spoke after that. As the last spokesperson was thanking everyone for coming, I hesitated then made my way to the microphone and asked everyone if I could read something to them. I told them I arrived wearing my Hawaiian shirt because Frank would've been pissed if I was wearing anything else. I explained that I was his Hawaiian brother and said a few words in Hawaiian and translated to them..............and then I proceeded to read your blog from that day to give everyone a sense of where Frank came from. All 3 girls thanked me for reading that for they had no idea I was going to do so.

So I just wanted to let you know that you were with us on that day my brother, and all who heard loved your story. We even managed to get everyone smiling when the part came around about you getting very familiar with the grout in the bathroom on the second floor!
God bless!

Mahalo nui loa,


Kathleen Harrington Paints said...

My brother in law was an old friend of Frank's from NY. He was shocked to just hear of his passing. We would appreciate it if you could contact me.

Kenneth said...


Thanks for posting that. In March 2009, I was happy to be able to show Frank the house on 15th Street, where he had lived for a while as a child. It's a short walk from my home on 8th Street.

One of the last conversations we had was about the 2009 baseball play-offs, and the World series. Both of us being a native Brooklynites, we have a residual affection for the Dodgers. But as a resident of Orange County, Frank was torn between rooting for the Yankees, or the Angels. He decided to cheer Mike Sciocia's crew. But when they lost, he was in the Yankee's corner.

I will so miss such conversations with my old pal Frank. He was my high school classmate, and band buddy for some years. I wish I could have been at the memorial service.

I wish his daughters peace, and a swift healing.

One Love,

Ken Byrne