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Sun., Mar. 29
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Francis “Frank” P. Willard

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Francis “Frank” Patrick Willard, 58, of Syracuse and Pillar Point, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse. Son of Carl and Helen Willard, Frank was born February 5, 1954 in Watertown.

A class of 1972 graduate of Immaculate Heart Central, Frank attended Jefferson Community College, where he discovered technical theatre. Frank married Helen Peterson on May 30, 1981 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Watertown.

Frank was the Vice President of Syracuse Scenery & Stage Lighting Co., Inc., having worked there since 1975. He was Syracuse Scenery’s representative as a founding member of the Theatrical Dealers Association (then ESTA, now PLASA), was an ETCP certified rigger, and a member of JR Clancy’s dealer advisory board. He loved being a part of the theatrical industry.

Survivors include his wife Helen, mother-in-law Alma R. Peterson, Watertown, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Fred M. Peterson (Anne Marie), Summerville, SC, Thom Peterson (Dennis), Watertown, Anne Brenon, Brownville, Jennifer Wood (Terry), Lowville, Ted Peterson (Darcy), Philadelphia, and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Although an only child, he loved his Brothers Dale Duffy and Mark Sachetti, plus the many other adopted brothers who met for coffee each Sunday morning. Frank was predeceased by his parents Carl and Helen Willard, by his father-in-law Fred H. Peterson, his sister-in-law Payne Peterson, and his brother-in-law Matt Brenon.

Frank was an outdoorsman who loved his time in the woods and at hunting camp. He was an avid water-skier for many years, and also enjoyed boating, reading, and playing golf. Frank was a member of Ducks Unlimited, Elks Club Lodge 496, Sackets Harbor Sportsman’s Club, and the YMCA of Greater Syracuse. He and Helen traveled extensively across the US and Canada, sampling microbrews and tasting wines. Favorite destinations included Catalina Island, Maui, Key West, Kiawah Island, or anyplace with a Yard House. Frank loved animals, particularly his dogs, Chelsea, Guinness, and currently Kona.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to be made to ESTA Foundation Behind the Scenes, Ducks Unlimited, or the YMCA. A celebration of Frank’s life will be held on Saturday, January 12 at noon at the Elks Club Lodge 496.

Online condolences may be made at

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