FRANK DOMINICK BRUNO JR. died on April 30, 2016, in Morristown, New Jersey. He was born April 13, 1958, in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, and prepared at Croton-Harmon High School. At Harvard, he was a resident of Kirkland House and a member of St. Paul Church and the Pi Eta Club. He received his AB in psychology and social relations with our Class. A certified financial planner, Mr. Bruno was a senior vice president and private wealth advisor at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. During his twenty-eight-year career at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, he was a founding member of The Harbor Group of Merrill Lynch, a nationally recognized wealth management team, where he oversaw financial planning services, lending capabilities, and insurance. He also helped to create Merrill Lynch’s Private Planning Services Group, which provided financial strategies and services to high-level corporate executives. He was a valued mentor and coach to many financial advisers throughout the mid-Atlantic region.
Frank had a deep love for music and was an interviewer with the Harvard Alumni Association’s Schools & Scholarships Committee. Mr. Bruno was survived by his son, Andrew; his mother, Frances; brother, Joseph; and his partner, Gabrielle Sindorf.
Frank was right across the hall from me freshman year in a suite with Rod Walters and Paul Callahan. He was a HS All American Tight End from Croton on Hudson HS. He had an infectious laugh, and right away, I don’t know if it was Paul, Rod or Frank, but within about a week of meeting me they dubbed me with a new nickname, “Artie Baby,” and we were friends right away.
We all had nicknames for everyone. We used to call Frank “Franco” or “The Italian Stallion” after Sylvester Stallone and the Rocky character. Franco was fun and loved to laugh—he had the most infectious laugh. I knew if I stopped in to see these guys after a long day, I’d get my spirits raised.
They all had nice girlfriends from home who would come up and visit, and we also hosted some swell weekend parties up there, which inevitably concluded with a certain sequence of songs, such as “Up Against the Wall Red Neck Mother” by Jerry Jeff Walker; “Panama Red” by New Riders of the Purple Sage; “My Way” by Frank Sinatra” and a few others I really can’t remember, but it was good clean fun, and in those days, the drinking age was 18, and we only drank beer. Everyone loved Franco, Rod & Paul, and why not? They were the best.
Freshman year was fun being around those guys, and it sure passed quickly. Fast forward and I was working on Wall Street one summer in NYC, and decided to give Franco a call and drop in. I took that really nice train up the Hudson Valley and visited him at his home in Croton on Hudson. His mom came out to greet me. I swear she was about five feet tall, she reminded me of my own Greek grandmother, 100% Italian. She served up a tremendous dinner, food all over the table, and then offering to feed you again after you were stuffed, and then Franco took me out to the local hangouts in the town he’d grown up in. It was really great. It had been kind of a hard working summer, and it was nice to see Franco again and get back some of that kindness and fun, the laughter and the smiles of freshman year back. We kind of agreed to get together again come fall, but I got heavily involved with a girlfriend that September and I never did get around to hanging out with those guys much again over at Kirkland House, where they had formed a huge super rooming group. I’d stop in once in a long while to say hello, but it wasn’t really the same as freshman year, except that Franco always had that smile, that laugh, that lit up the room, and if Rod was around, he’d say, “Artie Baby, how’s it going!”
Again, our paths diverged as I took an extra year to graduate, as I was taking time out to work at cancer labs and so forth, and they went out into the working world. I really lost track of everyone, but I will never forget the incredible kindness and warmth of Franco, Frank Bruno, the friendship and kindness he showed to me freshman year, fall, 1976, and the time I came to his house for dinner, and was treated like a king.
When I read that he had died, prematurely, I was very sad, because more than anything, I knew that Franco had a big heart, and that smile and laugh were going to be missed forever. I couldn’t make it to the funeral but I was happy to see that many of the Kirkland/Greenough gang did make it down for the funeral.
Requiescat in pacem, Franco—you lived la dolce vita, the sweet life, of family, friends, loved ones, and caring for others. You will be missed. You touched many lives. Amen.