Francis Colletta Sr.Festival organizerFrancis J. Colletta Sr.,...


Francis Colletta Sr.

Festival organizer

Francis J. Colletta Sr., who helped organize some of the city's first ethnic and cultural festivals, died of a heart attack while vacationing in Ocean City on Tuesday. He was 52.

Mr. Colletta grew up in Hamilton and graduated from Polytechnic Institute. He joined the Navy and was a fire control technician on the USS Long Beach, a nuclear-powered missile carrier, before he was discharged in 1965.

He worked at part-time jobs while earning a bachelor's degree from the University of Baltimore and a master's degree in education from Coppin State College.

He became a project supervisor for Maryland's Disability Determination Services, where he worked for about 10 years before becoming an adjudicator with the Social Security Administration in the late 1980s.

His proudest accomplishments, though, were his community and philanthropic activities, said his wife of 29 years, the former Lorraine Wolf.

A longtime member of the Sons of Italy, he helped organize the city's first Italian festivals at the Inner Harbor in the late 1970s. He was active in St. Dominic's Roman Catholic Church in Hamilton and in the Boys Scouts, even after his sons were grown.

He was a former chairman of the Maryland Commission on Hereditary Disorders and the Sickle Cell/Thalassemia Committee.

A Mass of Christian burial was to be offered at 10:30 a.m. today at St. Dominic's Catholic Church in the 5300 block of Harford Road.

Survivors, in addition to his wife, are two sons, Francis John Colletta Jr. of Baltimore and Michael Angelo Colletta of Glen Burnie; and two brothers, Andrew J. Colletta of Baltimore and George D. Colletta of Whiteford in Harford County.

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