Florio N. `Fran' Franetovich

[ Age 80 ] Lawyer, former Bel Air town commissioner helped write the Harford County Charter.

November 22, 2007|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN REPORTER

Florio N. "Fran" Franetovich, a retired attorney who helped write the Harford County charter and was a former Bel Air town commissioner, died of cancer Monday at Stella Maris Hospice. He was 80.

A native of Union City, N.J., he was the son of immigrant Croatian parents, telling his children that he was born in the back of his uncle's barbershop. He served in the Army from 1945 to 1946 and left military service as a staff sergeant.

He earned an accounting degree at Upsala College in East Orange, N.J., and while working at the Effanbee Doll Co., he met his future wife, the former Kathleen Henemier.

He earned a Master of Business Administration at New York University's Stern School and moved to Baltimore in 1954 to became a Glenn L. Martin Co. accountant. While working full time, Mr. Franetovich attended night school at the University of Maryland School Of Law. He received his degree in 1960.

Family members said that in 1964 he said it was "make or break time" and he quit his job at the Martin Co. and established a solo law practice in Bel Air.

"My mother teased him about accepting neckties as payment from clients who at the time had nothing else to give," said his son, John Franetovich of Bel Air.

In addition to his private practice, Mr. Franetovich was a Harford County deputy state's attorney.

"He thought the world of police officers and the legal system they represented," his son said.

He was a member of the committee that wrote a new Harford County Charter when the county changed from a commissioner form of government to home rule.

He was elected to the Bel Air Board of Town Commissioners in 1962 and served through 1966.

"He was calm and quiet and effective in his profession," said the Rev. Alphonse Rose, formerly of St. Margaret's Roman Catholic Church in Bel Air. "His advice was reasoned and sound."

Mr. Franetovich belonged to the Bel Air Chamber of Commerce and helped found the town's Fourth of July celebration. He and others helped set up a parade along Main Street and a fireworks display at the high school.

"Fran truly gave back more to the town than he ever received. He was a forward thinker," said James V. "Captain Jim" McMahan Jr., a longtime friend. "He was a Bel Air fixture. I don't think there was a day he didn't walk to work. Bel Air is a better place today because of Fran Franetovich."

Mr. Franetovich was a past president of the Harford County Bar Association, and was a Harford County Circuit Court master from 1979 to 2000. He also taught business law and accounting at Harford Community College.

He was a former chairman of the board of trustees of John Carroll School, a lay parish corporator at St. Margaret's Church and a past grand knight of a Knights of Columbus chapter.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Margaret's Roman Catholic Church, where he was a member.

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of 53 years; two other sons, Peter Franetovich of Atlanta, and Robert Franetovich of Annapolis; four daughters, Kathleen Hurt of Chatham, N.J., Joan DeSoto of Parkton, Ann Dellarco of Denver, Colo., and Rosemary Castellone of Westfield, N.J.; and 12 grandchildren.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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