USCGA

   


Memorial

Gary Frago
Crossed the Bar
November 19, 2019

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Updated:  11/26/19
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   Gary Frago, In Memorium

From: USCG Alumni Association
To:  Members of the Class of ’72

November 25, 2019

I am sorry to inform you that the Alumni Association has been notified of the death of CAPT Gary L. Frago, USCG (Ret) on November 19, 2019 in Waterford, Connecticut. He is survived by his loving wife of 44 years, Sharon.

Condolences may be sent to:

                Mrs. Sharon Frago
                54 Pepperbox Rd
                Waterford, CT  06385-3512

   Upon Gary's request, funeral services will be private. There will be a celebration of Gary's life at a later date.

   In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Gary's memory to the Center for Hospice Care, SECT, 227 Dunham St. Norwich, CT 06360, or the Coast Guard Academy Alumni Fund Class of 1972, 47 Mohegan Ave.,  New London, CT 06320.

To leave an online condolence or share a memory, please visit www.byles.com.

Sincerely,
Andrea M. Marcille ’89
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret)
President

   

    

 
Obituary
Captain Gary L. Frago ,USCG Retired
http://www.byles.com/obituary/frago-frago

Waterford – Captain Gary L. Frago (USCG) retired, passed away Tuesday evening, November 19, 2019 at home with his loving wife, Sharon, at his side. He was married for 44 years to Sharon, who survives him. Gary was diagnosed with a genetic neurological disorder, “Degenerative Spinocerebellar Ataxia” in 2005. He fought a long courageous battle with this disease, but he always fought with a smile on his face (The Frago Smile) and with pure grit and determination. He was an inspiration to all who knew him.

Gary was born on September 5, 1950 in Turlock, CA. He was the only son of Clarence L. Frago and Marion Frago Alves.  Gary graduated from the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 1972, with Honors. He met his beloved wife, Sharon, on a blind date while she was attending nursing school in New York. They married on Oct. 18, 1975 in New York.

Gary and Sharon, like most military families, moved frequently. Gary was first assigned in 1972 as an Operation Officer on CG Cutter – “Firebush” – Governor’s Island, NY.  He was then stationed at Loran Station, Port Clarence, Alaska as Commanding Officer (Isolated Duty). Next, he became an Executive Officer (XO) at the CG Station in New London. Gary continued to advance his education and earned Master’s degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Maryland. After receiving his degrees, he became Branch Chief of the Chemical Engineering Unit at the Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Following the Headquarters Tour, Gary returned to the CG Academy in New London to teach Chemistry and Chemical Engineering in the Science Department. While at the Academy during that tour he was also in charge of the Summer Sailing Program, which he loved! Then it was onto Group Detroit as “XO”. After Detroit, Gary transferred to the CG Training Center, Cape May, NJ as “XO” again and then he had his last and best tour as Commanding Officer of Support Center, Boston, MA. After his CG retirement, he taught tax courses and managed a tax office.

During his time at the CG Academy as a cadet and his tours of duty, Gary made many lifelong friends, especially with his classmates Chris Burns, Ed Thompson, and John Larned. He considered them his brothers. He always enjoyed his camping trips in later years with his classmates Chris Burns, Jim Norton, and Bill (Army) Armstrong. His “XO” in Boston, Al Suchy, was a special friend to Gary, and according to “Frago”, one of the best CG officers with whom he ever served, and he served with many!

Gary’s two second moms, Sharon’s mother, Jeanne, and Gloria Facas Jeffords were both very special to Gary. They both kept “Frago” well-fed! There were many family members, close friends, and neighbors that helped Gary and Sharon along this long, challenging journey and they are thankful.

A heartfelt thank you goes to the Center for Hospice Care of SECT; Gary’s special nurse, Francesca, and his home health aide, Joanna for their compassionate care.

Upon Gary’s request, funeral services will be private. There will be a celebration of Gary’s life at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Gary’s memory to the Center for Hospice Care, SECT, 227 Dunham St. Norwich, CT 06360, or CG Academy Alumni Fund Class of 1972, 15 Mohegan Ave. New London, CT 06320.

   

    


 

1972 Yearbook

 

 


Class Emails

From: John Larned
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 12:53 pm
Subject: One of the Best

Dear Classmates:

Once again I am sorry to pass this kind of news on to you all.  

Gary Frago sometimes known as the Snake (for reasons why I never knew) has passed on.  He died at home in Waterford, CT late Tuesday night.   Most of the class has not been aware of the situation but Gary has been ill for some years.  It was his desire to be private about it.   He had a disease that was degenerative and not dissimilar similar to Lou Gehrig’s.   In his case it was rare and unique to people of Portuguese descent.  It first attacked the areas of the nervous system responsible for equilibrium and balance.  His father also had it.  He died at peace, but not without a long, unpleasant and well fought fight.  His wife Sharon was with him every step of the way.  She is a very special woman and Gary’s lucky that he had her.

I share some memories of Gary.  He was a great guy and a special classmate..  A solid rock.  Anyone who ever looked to him for help and support – got it.  Gary was never rattled, always on an even keel.  You could ask him anything regarding an upcoming Chemistry lab, a Calc test or any of those engineering courses that challenged the average mind… I don’t think any of those those subjects ever pressed Gary too much.

I remember those “Stars” that you would wear as a color device: one was gold and the other silver.  My rough memory is that one was the Commandant’s list for excellence on the military side (that is being squared away) and the other was the Superintendent’s List for Academic excellence …  in my entire 4 years I believe I qualified for 1 star about two or 3 times at the max.   In Gary’s case he rated them both consistently.  They never looked out of place on his uniform!

He had a unique smile that radiated peace and confidence.  His sense of humor was always there, but never sarcastic or at the expense of anyone else.  I think Gary would be the first to call his smile an “SEG”

Without a doubt Gary was always a candidate for that important 4/c ritual that I never qualified for:  Drill Down!….  I’m sure he won a handful of times.

I was lucky enough to spend time with Gary on a weekend or two back in the day, I visited his home in Santa Cruz a couple of times and met his family.. he was simply a delight and a special human being.

Per Gary’s wishes there are no services or memorials, half his ashes will be spread in a place special to him and the remainder will rest beside Sharon at some long future day

You can send a note to his wife Sharon at;

        54 Pepper Box Rd.
       Waterford, CT 06385

I am simply happy and proud that I knew Gary.  He is someone whom I loved!  It is wonderful that we are all Classmates from the Class or ‘72 from our very special Academy and Service!   It remains a wonderful gift some 47+ years on.  Gary and you all are my Brothers!

We are all indeed lucky and blessed.. don’t take another day, a friend or a loved one for granted.

God bless you all!
John


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From: Rich Buckingham
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 1:40 pm
Subject: One of the Best

John, thanks for passing the sad news of Gary’s passing along.  And thanks also for your words which truly capture what a special guy he was.  I was very fortunate to have roomed with Gary for at least one make during our first class year.  He was fun guy who just happened to be an overachiever—but never acted like one.  He was also very selfless & incredibly loyal.  
Rich Buckingham

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From: Herbert Williams
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 2:00 pm
Subject: One of the Best

John, thank you for letting us know and for your very special words. Brought back fond memories of a great classmate. 

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From: Gordon Lawrence
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 2:07 pm
Subject: One of the Best

I knew gary a lot
we were in the same co a lot

we played handball all the time

we had a lot going on

gary was great at everything, academics, military, and
as a friend

I hope he passed away peacefully

kip

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From: John Giglio
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 2:23 pm
Subject: One of the Best

I’m saddened to learn that Gary Frago has died.  I have fond memories of him from swab year.  He was a good sport, and would take on any role in those incredibly bad swab skits.  In addition to his many accomplishments, he was a really good guy!

Gigs 

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From: Bob Brooks
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 2:25 pm
Subject: One of the Best

Thank John:
Gary was one of the original B Co boys with Ben Abiles, Blanch fly, CG Burns, Bobby Carr, and I  down in the flats for swab year. With Woodie and Art Crostick at the top.
Great memories 
Brooksie 

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From: Bob Hallock
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 2:29 pm
Subject: One of the Best

Thanks for the sad news. Gary was a great guy. Also, thanks for Sharon's
contact info.
Broadway

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From: Mark Noll
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 2:37 pm
Subject: One of the Best

John - Sad news for sure.  I remember Gary for all the reasons already stated.  His broad smile and helpfulness most significantly. Thank you for letting us know.
   Mark

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From: Jim Morton
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 2:38 pm
Subject: One of the Best

John:

Thank you sharing in such a caring and meaningful way.  Gary very much epitomized all that was good with our wonderful CGA Class.  He is greatly missed.  God bless his family.

  Jim Morton

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From: Joe Kyle
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 3:01 pm
Subject: One of the Best

Sad news, especially that he suffered for several years with a terrible condition. I was never in Gary’s company, don’t think we ever made a cruise together. But I do remember him as always smiling, happy, and he made you feel good when you were around him. Peace.

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From: John O'Neill
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 3:32 pm
Subject: One of the Best

JOHN : Many thanks & a wonderful testimonial for Gary – so sad to hear of his passing, I will always remember that I never saw him without a smile– my prayers for his family.

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From: Carlos Morales
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 3:35 pm
Subject: One of the Best

It’s so sad to hear this news. Gary was a very special guy when we were all in B Co. We traveled together on several leave occasions via the “class I Thumb” from Connecticut to Santa Cruz and me to Castroville.  I tried to contact him during the last class reunion, went to his home with one of our classmates (can’t remember who) but they were not home or chose not to answer the door.  Now I know why. We had some great times on our highway adventures.
Chico Morales

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From: Dennis Gillespie
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 3:44 pm
Subject: One of the Best

Totally agree with JJ and Joe K...Gary & I were never in same Company, roommates or anything, but any assiciation I ever had with him was totally positive, just a really good guy.  Sorry to lose him so soon, hope he didn't suffer unduly from his maladies.
Denny

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From: Ben Stoppe
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 3:58 pm
Subject: One of the Best

John:  Thank you for the sad & surprising news about Gary.  I can’t believe he’s gone.  I, too, remember competing against him during drill down competitions during Swab year.  It was an accomplishment to win, or, come in second.  Both had “carrots” associated w/ them, meaning carryon for a number of days, plus points for one’s company.  Gary certainly has his share of wins.

Gary was a proud card-carrying member of the “star” club, as others have already said, he had his head on straight, & shared that knowledge w/ classmates to make - especially during our Swab academic year - a little bit less hectic & less stressful.

He will be sorely missed.
   Ben

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From: Scott Jones
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 4:20 pm
Subject: One of the Best

John
Thanks for passing along this sad news, as well as Sharon’s info.

I had the pleasure of having Gary as a classmate twice, as Gary and I went to post grad school in Chemical Engineering at Maryland, overlapping one year. He was absolutely a great guy - he could even find humor in chemical engineering. No one would be surprised to know he was highly respected by the civvies we went to school with. When guys were stressed out by exams and projects, he was always relaxed and calmed folks down with his wit and his “SEG”. 

Gary followed me to the Chemical Engineering Branch at CGHQ in 1979. Since he graduated ahead of me at CGA, he got to be Branch Chief and I got to be his “worker bee”. He was a great boss and always took the heat when his chem-E’s went off the reservation so to speak. A few fond memories.
  • Gary loved the TV show Dallas - especially the ridiculous situations the Ewings got into. (I think of him every time I drive by Southfork)
  • I wouldn’t say he loved country and western music, but he could always find the humor in the lyrics. And in disco also. His comments left us howling.
  • When the Hunt brothers tried to corner the silver market, Gary, Sharon, Patti and I would go to auctions around Maryland and see if we could buy silver coins at bargain prices. We didn’t score a lot of silver, but we had great fun on the expeditions.
  • One winter Friday evening we decided to go to the Eastern Shore for the seafood buffet. It started snowing and the snow was sticking to the roads. Gary was not to be denied. The four of us piled in his orange VW and set out across the Bay Bridge in the snow. My job was keeping the window clear so Gary could drive. We made it and we had the buffet to ourselves. The ride back was equally exciting.
I remember Gary fondly. He was a good friend. I regret not seeing him for many years. I understand now why he kept to himself. 
Fair winds, and following seas, classmate.
Scott 

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From: Tim Healey
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 4:38 pm
Subject: One of the Best

John - very well conveyed.  Spot on in your descriptions & observations 
His calming smile was well known to me as a fellow Californian & one who frequented Santa Cruz during our high school years.  Gary (and Sugi, separately) helped me get through my math troubles & ac pro early 3/c year after an annoying hospital stay late 4/c year.  And on deciphering a couple star sights while on cruise.  Always willing to help.  Never flustered.  A rock I am happy to have known 

Thanks for sending, John 
Timmer

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From: Willard Collins
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 4:45 pm
Subject: One of the Best

Thanks John,
I guess I have to chime in too (yeah, I'm still here), because as one of the original B Co boys I also remember Gary very fondly, and those thoughts always bring a smile to my face. I think Gary was a bit of a frustration to the 2nd Class during swab year, because of his ability to be pretty much unfazed by the crap that was being dished out, with almost a little smirking smile when he could cope with things without much issue. For that he earned the nickname "Frickin' Frago" from some of '70, which is what I remember well. And has been said before, truly one of the good guys. He will be missed.

Wood-eye

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From: Buck Bailey
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 5:39 pm
Subject: One of the Best

Very sad.  Another good one gone much too early.  Rest in peace my friend.

Buck

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From: Butch Aurich
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 5:43 pm
Subject: One of the Best

John,
 
Sorry to hear the sad news of Gary's passing. I was also a B-CO teammate.  He was a great guy and will be missed. Thanks for the words of remembrance below. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sharon and the family.
 
Butch Aurich

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From: Jim Norton
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/22/19, 9:09 am
Subject: One of the Best

The Rock....with the SEG..   Gary was strong, reliable, consistent and above all a true friend.  I had the opportunity to work for Gary as Executive Officer in Cape May Training Center when I was the Facilities Engineer.   He was a great leader and a great man.  
In the late 90s into the this century I was blessed to have spent many weekends with Chris Burns, Bill Armstrong, and Gary in what we called our Annual Wilderness Trip.  We even had T shirts made up.  Started as a weekend trip in fall to Lake George in the Catskills of New York where we stayed in a cabin (not exactly wilderness).  We repeated annually to lakes in New York and Maine for a number of years and then to my cabin on Lake George in Maine.   (ironically the same named lakes).  We looked forward to these annual vacations together and have such fond memories of Gary and these trips. 

 I am attaching a picture of  us taken on the deck of my cabin on one of these trips.  It has been on our refrigerator for decades as a reminder of those times.  My condolences to Sharon.  He will truly be missed 

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From: Hugh Grant
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/22/19, 9:53 am
Subject: One of the Best

Ditto all of the above.  I remember Gary from the racketball courts as well but more so as just a good guy.  Very sorry for his passing. 

huey

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From: Norm Henslee
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/22/19, 11:17 amSubject: One of the Best

John, what a wonderful tribute you wrote and so true!  When I think of Gary, all I can remember is that big grin which he wore constantly. Sad that he had to struggle at the end and so soon.  I thank God every morning I wake for my relatively good health and another day to spend with loved ones and friends.  We should never take that for granted. My condolences to his family who I know must miss him but are thankful that his terrible struggle is over.  Rest In Peace my classmate. Norm

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From: James McCarthy
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/22/19, 12:09 pm
Subject: One of the Best

I never served with Gary but from the resounding heartfelt thoughts of classmates that have served with him and knew personally knew him,  HE TOUCHED a lot of our class and he will be greatly missed.
Tiger

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From: Jim Gormanson
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/22/19, 12:17 pm
Subject: One of the Best

Gary and I only served together once during our careers at HQ in the Hazardous Materials Division.  I will miss him and pray for his soul and family.
Jim Gormanson

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From: Greg Johnson
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/22/19, 1:22 pm
Subject: One of the Best

Thank you John for your email recounting forever memories of our classmate Gary Frago.  So saddened to hear this news of a great guy, treasured classmate and B-Co brother.  Our paths did not cross after graduation but memories of our early CGA years will be ever etched in my memory.  Prayers of God's grace, comfort and peace to Sharon and family. 

Gregj72 

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From: Terry Newell
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/22/19, 1:31 pm
Subject: One of the Best

And another one of us departs for calmer seas...I bet Gary had that SEG on as he crossed the bar! 

RIP Mate, as your memories live on with us.
Warmest Regards,
Newelli

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From: Bill Armstrong
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/22/19, 2:09 pm
Subject: One of the Best

I never could beat Gary in racquetball no matter how hard I tried – and he made it look so easy to win every time J

 Army

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From: Frank Sambor
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/22/19, 2:16 pm
Subject: One of the Best

Gary was A GOOD FRIEND TO ME.  iF IT WERE NOT FOR HIM I WOULD NOT HAVE MADE IT TO GRADUATION.  a FREIND AND A TUTOR FOR ME.  gARY, YOU ARE MISSED BY ALL.  THOUGH IT  HAS BEEN MANY YEARS IT SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY HE HELP ME REALIZE  THAT F=MA. GOD SPEED MY FRIEND

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From: Dennis Gillespie
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 5:44 pm
Subject: One of the Best

Totally agree with JJ and Joe K...Gary & I were never in same Company, roommates or anything, but any assiciation I ever had with him was totally positive, just a really good guy.  Sorry to lose him so soon, hope he didn't suffer unduly from his maladies.
Denny

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From: Martin Eger
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/22/19, 4:42 pm
Subject: One of the Best

Gary was one of bright spots in Bravo during our first two years.  He had a ready smile and a warm greeting for everybody.  I've thought of him often since graduation but we hadn't crossed paths.  Be with God.

Marty

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From: Greg Lapp
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/22/19, 7:17 pm
Subject: One of the Best

Big shock. Gary was a great guy. Thanks for the picture, Jim. Same smile I remember!   

GregL

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From: Loren Marovelli
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/21/19, 5:12 pm
Subject: One of the Best

A Very Nice Tribute, John.

I am Sorry to learn of Gary's passing. I remember his coming home w/ me to PA for a long weekend 4/c year.

I often wondered what had happened to him as I never saw any mention of him from the Class emails.
R

MARV

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From: Charles Farnsworth
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/23/19, 4:30 pm
Subject: One of the Best

I just want to say “Thank You” for the time and effort you put in to keep us all in the loop concerning our classmates. The write up is delivered with grace and poise and causes great memories to resurface. God bless.

Chuck

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From: James McCarthy
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/23/19, 7:40 pm
Subject: One of the Best

Capturing, arranging and posting comments and feelings on website is awesome.  We will all miss Gary.  And I thank you for your hard work to capture how we all feel w/r to Gary”s passing.
Most Respectfully,
Jim

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From: John Larned
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/24/19, 7:34 am
Subject: One of the Best

Hello Mark and Class:

I heard from Sharon;  Gary’s obituary is posted on the funeral home’s web site… it is  www.byles.com  

You will of course see Gary’s wonderful smile in the photo.

Best to all!

John

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From: Ben Abilies
To: CGA72
Sent: Thursday, 11/24/19, 11:32 am
Subject: One of the Best

Gary and I shared a swab summer platoon taking care of Class of 74.I recall he led morning exercises one morning and it was non stop jumping jacks.  No matter what he did, he always did his best and that smile was ever present.

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