Roland "Frog" Fragnoli passed away peacefully on March 9, surrounded by his loving wife, Margaret, and daughters Linda, Leslee, and Kristi, and close friend Katie Kerr at Cortland Regional Medical Center. He was predeceased by his parents, brothers Vito and Vincent.
Frog was born in Castelforte, Latina (Lazio), Italy, on July 15, 1930 to Pasqualina and Joseph Fragnoli. He emigrated to America through Ellis Island in 1942, lived with his family in Cortland, and permanently settled in Homer in 1954. Frog proudly served in the United States Army and Army Reserves.
In 1951, Frog opened Homer Army-Navy clothing store in the historic Wheadon Block building at 23 South Main Street. A few years later he moved the store to its current location at 9 South Main Street. In 1961, Frog opened Roland's in the Village of Skaneateles, which remains a thriving enterprise.
Brevity is the soul of wit, and that was Frog's forte. His business motto of "If we don't have it, you don't need it" is known to generations of Cortland County residents and visitors alike. Frog was a widely recognized icon of Main Street and was given a key to the Village of Homer in 2009.
Being a proud son of Castleforte and understanding the importance of community, Frog embraced the entire Homer and Cortland communities. He was a dedicated member, past and present, of these fine organizations: Cortland Rotary, Paul Harris Fellowship, Homer Lions Club, Holstein Association, Homer Elks, Homer National Bank Board of Trustees, Cortland Savings Bank Board of Trustees, Homer Key Bank Board of Trustees, TC3 Foundation Board, and many others. He was honored with the Man of the Year Award by the Homer Elks Club, Warm Hands Award by the diary industry and many other public recognitions that he was too modest to name.
Frog didn't like to be away from Homer too long and would say that he "missed the people too much." He dedicated his life to building his modest clothing store into the very definition of community through honest dealings with customers and vendors alike, providing solid value for a person's hard-earned dollar and genuine gratitude for his customers, neighbors, business colleagues, and countless friends. He had a special place in his heart for farmers.
Frog's love of his country and community continues through the Fragnoli Foundation, which provides support to local non-profits and student scholarships. Frog was a strong yet compassionate advocate for numerous local groups. He often provided clothing free of charge to displaced families. Frog took countless young employees under his careful tutelage and helped them grow into fine men and women.
Frog spent countless hours, days, weeks and years at his store and loved every minute of it. He loved talking to people, sharing stories, making deals, and taking care of his friends… his customers. He loved being involved with anything that had to do with Homer and its people. Homer is a better place because of Roland Fragnoli, and we are forever grateful to him. His legacy will live on in this community and in the multitudes of lives he touched and changed forever. He will miss you, and we will miss him.
He is survived by the love of his life, his wife of 63 years, Margaret (Condie) Fragnoli, daughters Linda Scofield of Homer, Leslee Garrison (Rob) of Cortland, and Kristi Fragnoli (Todd Girvin) of Latham, his sister-in-law; Josephine Fragnoli of Geneva, NY, grandchildren Christopher Scofield (Liz), Codie and Casie Garrison, Kyle Fragnoli and Casie Girvin, great-grandchildren Cara and Cooper Scofield and several nieces and nephews.
The Family was so thankful for the above and beyond care that his doctors provided, Dr. Pat Hayes, Dr. Chris Nardone, Dr. Margaret Boufal, and last but not least, Dr. Jag Malakar, who was with him to the end.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday at 10:00 AM at St. Margaret's Church in Homer. Interment will follow in St. Mary's Cemetery in Cortland. Friends are invited to call on Sunday 5:00-8:00PM at the Wright-Beard Funeral Home, 9 Lincoln Ave, Cortland. To offer condolences online, visit www.wright-beard.com
Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Cortland Loaves and Fishes at 13 Court Street, Cortland, NY or the Homer Fire and Rescue Department at 45 South Main Street, Homer, NY.