Francis M. Dibiase ’53 died on February 14, 2023, in Portland, Maine.
(The following was provided by the Maine Sunday Telegram on February 19, 2023)
Portland – “La Vita é Bella!” On February 14, 2023, Francis “Frank” Mario DiBiase, 90, peacefully passed away surrounded by his family.
Frank was born in 1932 to Rosina and Giacomo DiBiase in their home on Washington Avenue in Portland. His siblings fondly referred to him as “The Professor” as he was sent to grade school at the age of 3, graduated from Cheverus High School in 1949, attended Boston College and graduated from Bowdoin College in 1953 with a degree in chemistry.
Upon graduation Frank enlisted in the Army, serving from 1953-1955 in the 17th Armed Battalion US Army E-3 in an engineering unit stationed in Germany. Later, he worked as a chemist at Merck in New Jersey before returning to Maine to work for S.D. Warren Research Lab having passed the state patent bar exam to become a patent agent and retired in 1993.
Upon his return to Maine, he met his loving wife, Rachel Langis and married April 30, 1966. The couple raised three children and enjoyed summer vacations at Scarborough Beach and Little Sebago Lake. Frank was a kind, gentle man who taught his children about life priorities: family first, a strong work ethic, honesty, humility, frugality, generosity in the service of others, and to explore and experience everything life has to offer.
Frank maintained an eclectic interest in music, which ranged from classical, opera and Broadway musicals to country, jazz and rock. A self-taught trombone player, he joined the S.D. Warren Band and community bands such as the Italian Heritage Band where he once performed in Italy.
In his 50s he began working out at the USM Gym and participating in Maine Corporate Track for S.D. Warren. He loved competing in as many events as he could to maximize points, these included the shot put, 100-meter dash, and long jump. He competed in several road races but was most challenged by the 4-mile St. Peter’s Road race on Munjoy Hill given the treacherous hills and exciting cannon start. Frank went on to run in thirteen Beach-to-Beacon Road races, placing in his age group multiple times. In 2013, Frank placed first in his age group at Beach-to-Beacon, St. Peter’s Road race and Seadogs Road race. He is equally remembered for his legendary gathering of “freebees” at the races.
He continued to make friends throughout his life and in later years knew most everyone along his daily routine which included USM gym, Trader Joe’s, and Pat’s Meat Market. Likewise, he made connections with the staff at Hospice of Southern Maine, Gosnell House, and Sedgewood Commons where he was compassionately cared for in his last months.
He is survived by his wife of fifty-six years, Rachel of Portland; three children, Frank DiBiase Jr., of Portland, his wife, Gail, and children Justin, Naomi, and Angelina; Nick DiBiase of Scarborough, his wife, Nicole, and their children, Isabelle, Ivy, and Ethan; Deborah DiBiase and her husband, Matteo DiBiase-Dupre, of Phoenix, Ariz.; his sister, Anne Romano of Portland, his brother Jim DiBiase and his wife, Francie, of South Portland, and his sister-in-law, Anna DiBiase of South Portland; and twenty-three nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his sisters Viola Romano and JoAnn Lemlin and by his brother Dominic DiBiase.