Obituary: Francis Lennon, 1948-2024 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Francis Lennon, 1948-2024

Car enthusiast could identify the make of any car by its headlight shape, paint or decal options or how it sounded

Published May 6, 2024 at 6:00 a.m.
Updated May 6, 2024 at 12:46 p.m.


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Francis "Frank" John Lennon died on April 29, 2024, at his home in Burlington, Vt. He was born on May 1, 1948, at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan.

Frank spent his youth in Queens Village, N.Y. where he attended Our Lady of Lourdes School. He was a frequent traveler, embarking on many summer holidays to Ireland to visit his grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins. Steamship travel and the need to dress fancy for meals gave Frank his love of three-piece suits and cool hats.

Frank graduated from Power Memorial Academy in Manhattan. During high school, he was a member of the glee club and bowling team. He often recounted to his children that he needed to walk, take a bus and ride the subway to get to school every day. He also liked to share that one of his classmates went on to be a famous NBA star.

Frank graduated from St. John’s University, in Queens, with a political science degree in 1969. Frank loved to discuss politics and would leave the TV on CSPAN for background noise.

Frank was part of the “Sabre Street Madmen,’’ a group of close friends who met in kindergarten and remained tight over the decades. Frank’s masterful driving skills earned him the nickname “U-Turn,” for his ability to make them on a dime and, for some reason, very frequently.

Hot rods and cars were an integral part of Frank’s life. From late night drag racing to memorizing every aspect of any model of car ever assembled, Frank knew automobiles. He could name them by their headlight shape, their paint or decal options or how they sounded. This love of cars was shared with his buds and his dad. Later in life, he was the master of always reminding his loved ones when their car needed an oil change. He also sent classified ads to anyone who was thinking of buying a car, whether or not they asked for such assistance. Lastly, Frank’s love of die-cast model cars continued for over 70 years. Weekly outings to every drug store in northern Vermont were a must to find a toy car with the properly portrayed factory options.

His early travel experience steered him towards his future career. His first job was with Swissair at JFK, loading luggage onto planes and dabbling in freight shipping. One perk of this position was last minute, inexpensive tickets, which allowed Frank to travel the world — alas, they were just quick trips with a backpack and a tight turnaround.

In the early 1970s, he left New York City for Connecticut and worked for Emery Worldwide at BDI. He specialized in getting packages where they needed to be, and Emery’s expansion to BTV brought him and his growing family to Vermont in 1979. He continued to work for Emery and its subsidiaries until the mid-1990s. He then worked at KBA Planeta — moving industrial-sized printing press machines from Europe — until his retirement in 2009. Despite his retirement from full-time work, he brought smiles to passengers by reuniting them with their delayed luggage and delivering Friday paychecks to those excited for their weekend. Frank’s work ethic was bar none, and he didn’t miss a day in his life. Frank later enjoyed lunch dates with his children, attending his grandchildren’s concerts and sporting events, puttering around the house and watching car videos on YouTube.

Frank’s superpowers included: his quick wit and dry humor, you needed to be fast to catch the joke; his ability to name any airport in the world via its three-alpha code; his ability to get the family to the airport with hours to spare; and his ability to carve a turkey. Frank loved: good fish and chips; classic movies; Irish sweaters; three-piece suits; and thrift shop T-shirts.

Frank is survived by his seven children: Jeanne (Karl), Teresa, Jennifer, Francis (Laura), Audrey (Patrick), Jack and Tony; as well as their mother, Frank's former spouse and lifelong friend, Kathleen Mellisy Lennon. In addition, Frank is survived by his seven grandchildren: Nicholas, Peyton, Carter, Parker, Milo, Tyler and Addison. Frank is predeceased by his mother, Margaret O’Neill Lennon; his father, Hugh P. Lennon; and his partner-in-life, Judith E. Ververs. He will also be greatly missed by his crew: Tom, Frank, Tom, Frank (not a typo), Anthony and Rich.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Meals on Wheels or to the charity of your choice.

A memorial gathering will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2024, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the Ready Funeral Home, 68 Pinecrest Dr., Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Ready Funeral & Cremation Services. To send online condolences to the family please visit readyfuneral.com

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