Frances (Tully) Knapp, 83, of Mt. Arlington, passed away Sunday, September 17th, 2023 at CareOne Hanover. Born in Poughkeepsie, New York on December 24th, 1939, this Christmas Eve baby was a gift to everyone in her life. Frances had an unusually deep voice, fiery red hair and an unmistakable laugh.
Frances was raised by the Sisters of St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Jersey City, then moved to Westfield with her father and his family for junior high school and finished Westfield High School while living at the home of a close friend. She grew up quickly from her sheltered existence, finding her zeal in everything she touched. She became a woman of many lives.
Her first job was at The Bandstand music store in Westfield during the 50s, then with Esso Engineering, onward to operating an aviation school at Caldwell Airport, then at Teterboro Airport. Following that, Frances, along with a partner, started an advertising business, publishing the “Community News,” “The Health Pak-Age Newsletter” and direct mail coupons, called Penny Pak, in Parsippany.
She also formed her own advertising company, Rossi Carbini Knapp Inc., worked as a commercial lender, and management of her own rental properties. Tully also worked for Dawson’s Auctioneers in Morris Plains in promoting their sales, especially on the radio station WOR, Joan Hamburg’s program.
With a thirst for knowledge, spirit of adventure and a burning desire to discover uniquely new opportunities, she fit in courses at Drew University in humanities and literature; St. Elizabeth’s Convent Station, where she earned her paralegal license; Morris County Community College for courses in psychology and marketing; and NY School of Philosophy-NYU New School, always receiving stellar grades and recognition.
Frances was very involved in the community as well, becoming an early member of the Young Republican Club of Parsippany in the GOP Goldwater and Gallo days; 15-year member of the Mt. Arlington board of health, playground, sewer and office of emergency management; as well as the chamber of commerce; and Vice President of the chamber of commerce, Parsippany from 1978-1980; and ran a hard campaign for the Mt. Arlington School Board Association fighting for school financial accountability and higher standards for the school system in 2005.
Undoubtedly though, her finest accomplishment was raising, single-handedly, two children with what little she had. What she did have was a learned sense of ethics and nurturing instincts which enveloped everything she did.
Frances was engaging with her beauty, her caring, positive nature and desire to jump right in to help solve everyone’s challenges. Frances had wit, energy and was always ready for fun, which made her an exceptional Grandma (Gammie). She definitely had her opinions and preferences and was always on the side of the underdog, especially when jumping off the couch while watching the Super Bowl.
Her grandchildren loved having her at their soccer game sidelines too, where she was their number one cheerleader. Soccer games were an afternoon event with all the goodies she’d bring to share. Game over, and the first question was always, “Okay, where are we going to get something to eat!?”
Family vacations were also incomplete without her. She was the leader, loved the warmth of the sun on her face, especially at the beach, but with hats, umbrellas, chairs, food and lots of sunscreen. She was a reader of everything and a prolific writer to the “Times” and “Wall Street Journal” columnists and to everyone she knew. Tully loved card games, and her favorite games: Yahtzee, Monopoly and Scrabble. She was very competitive, especially at games.
Tully was a doubles champion badminton player in her 70s. She was strong and quick (and competitive). She loved her cars, collected unusual antiques, had an eye for design and color, collected sheets and sheets of special stamps. Over the years, an appreciation for music, movies, musicals, artwork, history (especially Egyptian) and handmade jewelry and artwork grew and grew.
Passionate about SHOPPING, she was an excellent cook and loved discovering new restaurants, especially those with Italian and healthy foods. Tully loved to travel and explore different cultures with family and friends. Her unforgettable trip to Italy to explore her ancestry in Campofelice di Roccella Comune, Sicily was a dream come true. She brought life into all circles and included all in hers. There isn’t a day that will pass without her spirit of love and adventure intertwined in it. She loved her family and friends and their love for her gave her strength and joy. We are incredibly blessed to have had her in our lives, and her memories will sustain us until we meet again.
Frances (Tully) Knapp is survived by her children, Cheryl Carbini and son, John Knapp; grandchildren, Vittoria, Cristian and Giordan Carbini; sisters Doris Everett, Linda Matlaga and Carol Powell and many nieces and nephews.
Predeceased relatives include her mother Sarah Tully; father Carl Russitano; and brother, John Russitano.
A celebration of Frances’ life will be held on Saturday, October 21st, 2023, 11:30 am at Long Valley Presbyterian Church, 39 Bartley Road, Long Valley. Following the service, we invite you to stay to bring your love, your colors, memories and stories as we enjoy lunch together, weather permitting, under the pavilion behind the church. In lieu of flowers, please bring your favorite Italian dish to share in joyous remembrance of our beautiful Tully.