Published: Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 4:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 4:40 p.m.
Frank Citti, a Healdsburg native and long-time city electrician who hailed from a family of Italian settlers in the area, died Tuesday at the age of 82.
The cause was complications from a recent surgery, said his son.
Citti was a 26-year veteran of Healdsburg's municipal utility, where he worked as a repairman fixing lines and transformers.
City employment was a family tradition. Before him, Citti's father and uncle also worked for Healdsburg, in parks and public works.
The outdoor job suited him, said his son Steve Citti of Healdsburg. After his city retirement he tended to wine grapes, joining Bevill Vineyard Management and working as an independent contractor until his mid-70s.
“He would get up early in the morning to spray, disk and harvest,” said Steve Citti.
Frank John Citti was born in 1930 and grew up in Healdsburg, which had a population at that time of just over 2,200 residents. Over his lifetime the agricultural town grew into a city of 11,000 — and transformed itself into a worldwide wine and food destination.
He graduated from Healdsburg High School in 1950 and joined the National Guard, serving until the early 1960s. He was employed by PG&E before going to work for the city.
In 1953, at a dance at Alexander Valley Hall, he met his future wife, Rita Albiani of Sebastopol. They were married in 1954 and had a son and daughter.
Hailing from Tuscany and other areas in Italy, their extended families had deep roots in the area.
“When we used to have reunions, when everyone was still alive, we were in the hundreds,” said Steve Citti.
Frank Citti served on the board of the Healdsburg chapter of Future Farmers of America and was a long-time member of the Vine Hill group #211 of the Druids, the nondenominational fraternal order.
He played for the Prune Packers, Healdsburg's semi-professional baseball team, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and helped run the Redwood Empire Invitational Basketball Tournament, now in its 64th year.
An outgoing man, according to his family, he kept in regular touch with friends over coffee and was a loyal fan at his grandchildren's sports events.
“Anything with the grandkids,” said Steve Citti.
In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife Rita Citti, daughter Tracy Cook of Healdsburg and by five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
A funeral Mass is set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. John the Baptist Church in Healdsburg. Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Daniels Chapel of the Roses in Santa Rosa.
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