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Francis DiSalvo Jr

Obituaries - 11/01/2023 967 0 Tributes
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Francis DiSalvo Jr

Francis DiSalvo Jr., 79, most recently of Atlanta GA, passed away on October 27 after a long illness.

Frank, the eldest of seven children, was born in 1944 to Francis and Rita DiSalvo. As a child, he and his family moved from Canada to Reading, MA where he lived the majority of his childhood amongst a large extended family.

Frank spent his undergraduate years in Boston, MA at MIT, where in 1966, he met and married his life-long love and partner, Barbara. Frank and Barbara together moved from Boston to Palo Alto CA, where Frank earned his PhD in Applied Physics from Stanford University.  While Frank was a graduate student, he and Barbara welcomed two children, Pamela and Kate.

In 1971, Frank began his career at Bell Labs in Murray Hill NJ, kickstarting a 45 year career in science.  He was truly inspired by science, even as a young child, and never wavered in his love for it.  In a word, Frank was curious; his inquisitiveness and keen intellect drove all his pursuits.

In 1986, he joined the faculty at Cornell University in Ithaca NY, where he spent the rest of his career as a beloved professor, graduate advisor, and researcher, as well as serving as Director of the Cornell Center for Materials Research, and as Director of the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability.  The directorship for the Atkinson Center was endowed in Frank’s name in 2015.  He was inducted into the National Academy of Science in 1991.  Frank retired in 2016.

Frank’s passion for fishing and the outdoors was legendary to all who knew him.  He enjoyed trips to destinations such as Alaska and the Catskills, and many hours in his own back yard, in pursuit of the consummate fish.  Frank also had a great enthusiasm for people.  He was truly interested in the thoughts and experiences of others; he never met a stranger.  Perhaps most will remember him for his pervasive positivity and sense of humor.

Frank was an exceptional person, both in his professional and personal lives.  He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and friend.  He absolutely loved life and all its infinite idiosyncrasies. He will be missed, always.

In addition to his wife, Barbara, and his daughters, Pam and Kate, he is survived by: his four grandchildren, Gillian, Nathan, Natalie, and Elizabeth, his sons-in-law, Trevor and Bob, as well as his siblings Rick (Bonnie), Ron (Maureen), Susan, and Lisa, plus numerous friends across the states and around the globe. Frank was predeceased by his parents, his brother Bill, and sister Ann Marie.

A private service will be held at Honey Creek Woodlands in Conyers GA. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to:

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research!/donation/<!/donation/

Emory University Goizueta Alzheimer's Disease Research Center

Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability

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