November 1, 1925 ~ April 24, 2012
Francis was one of the best people God ever made. He was the fifth of five children born to Croation immigrants, George Bradasich and Frances Salamunovich. Francis was born in the front bedroom of the family home on November 1st, 1925, All Saints Day—quite appropriate. The midwife was paid with a jug of wine and five silver dollars.
Francis went to St. Michael's Grade School. He had a happy childhood. His mother used to call him her "little lamb." His childhood took place during the depression years. He saw how his family got by on very little; nothing was wasted. The depression had a profound effect on many people who grew up during that time. Uncle Franny was no different. For his whole life, he knew how to get by on very little.
Francis told us he and one of his friends used to ride their bikes south on Normandie Avenue. Back then, Normandie was just a two lane road. They would ride to Imperial Highway; that's were Normandie ended. Beyond, there were just dunes and wide open spaces. He and his friend would play in the dunes then ride home.
In 1939, Francis entered Mount Carmel High School, an all-boys Catholic High School located at 7011 South Hoover Street (the high school no longer exists—there is a playground in its place). At Mt. Carmel, he met Frank and Gene. They became friends and have stayed friends their entire lives. While in high school, to help support the family, Francis went to work at O'Brien's Paint and Varnish Works in Huntington Park. Francis graduated from high school on June 20th, 1943. He was part of the sixth graduating class at Mt. Carmel.
Francis joined the US Navy on January 5th, 1944. He wanted to go to officer's training school, but his father would not allow it, emphatically stating, "My boy is not going to the Naval Cadet Academy!" We think his father thought he would probably become a Navy pilot and stand a greater chance of being killed in action during the war. Francis volunteered as an enlisted man. He was a Fire Controlman, Third Class, serving in the Pacific Theatre. Francis worked on Navy repair ships, repairing the battleships damaged during the fighting. He was honorably discharged on May 24th, 1946.
Francis began working for the Post Office in 1949. He was a letter carrier and enjoyed his job very much. He would get up at 4:00 AM to get to the Post Office to sort the mail for his routes. Most of the time, he would be home by 3:00 PM. During his time with the Post Office, his supervisors encouraged him to apply for promotions. After much coercing, he applied and was promoted to a supervisory position. He stayed a supervisor for just a couple of years. He did not like it and went back to being a letter carrier. Francis enjoyed the interaction with all the people he would meet on his delivery routes. He liked everybody and everybody liked him.
Francis retired in 1979 after thirty years with the U.S. Post Office.
Francis loved bikes—both motorcycles and bicycles. They have always been a part of his life. Just mention the word and he would start telling stories of his two-wheel adventures. He could tell you exactly how many miles per gallon his motorcycle got on every trip he ever took. Up until several years ago, he would meet up with his "bike riding buddies" and go on long bike rides up and down the coastline. He has maintained lasting friendships with his biking friends.
Francis rarely had a bad word to say about anyone. If he didn't like someone, he pretty much, kept it to himself. He was a selfless person and took care of many people in his life. He had great love and respect for his mother. When her health began to fail in the early 1980s, he took care of her until her death in 1985 at age 96. Caring for a sick person is a very difficult job, but Francis did it and never expected recognition. He also took care of his sister, Geraldine. He kept her at home and cared for her until her death in 2003 at age 86.
We will never know how many other people Francis helped during the course of his life. He would never talk about it, he just did it. Uncle Franny was a doer, not a talker. He lived his religion. God knows all of Francis's kind works and that is all that matters.
Francis has been a parishioner at St. Michaels since the day he was born. All the people of St. Michaels Parish are family to Uncle Franny. His life revolves around his devotion to God and the church. The school children know Francis. Uncle Franny had the keys to everything at St. Michaels that had a lock on it. He would open the church for Mass and lock-up afterwards. He knew where everything was and why it was there. While in the hospital, he wanted us to make sure Fr. David got the big key ring with all the church keys on it. We brought the key ring to Uncle Franny, and from his hospital bed, handling that big key ring, he proceeded to tell us about each key. He explained what each key was for and how to unlock some of the doors and cabinets. Some locks were sticky and needed to be wiggled this way or that. A handle may have to be pulled a certain way before the key was turned in order to get the door opened. Certain doors needed to be opened before others. There was a reason for each of these procedures and Francis knew them all (we think he created the procedures). In 2006, Francis received the Benemerenti Award in recognition of his long and devoted service to the church.
Uncle Franny's mind stayed as sharp as ever up until the last few days of his life. He never, ever lost his sense of humor. There would be times, while we were sitting around talking with him, one of us would say something that would remind him of a song—so he would start singing that song. Then he'd ask us if we remember that song. If we didn't, he would sing some more.
Francis was born, lived and died in the family home on 84th Street. He wanted to die at home. He was peaceful when he died on Tuesday, April 24th at 1:47 in the afternoon. He was positioned in bed just the way he liked to sleep, sort of on his side, with a pillow under part of his back. Uncle Franny now holds the keys to the kingdom of heaven (just like Matthew tells us in 16:19). Maybe when we get to heaven, Francis will unlock the doors for us.
Francis is survived by his sister, Anita Verrengia, and nieces and nephews Gene and Antointette (Bradasich) Sorenson, Steve and Francie Bradasich, Larry and Christine (Bradasich) Elmore, Kurt and Regina (Verrengia) Clark and Vincent Verrengia, and great nieces and nephew Stephanie Bradasich, Christopher and Martha Bradasich.
Services are on Monday, April 30th with Rosary at 10:00 AM followed by Mass at 10:30 AM. Burial with Military Honors at Calvary Cemetery, 4201 Whittier Boulevard, Los Angeles.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to St. Michael Church at 1016 West Manchester Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90044.
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