Born June 17, 1945, in Chicago, Illinois, Frank William Savastano, Sr. was gifted to parents Alex and Concetta (DeMichael) Savastano. He was also welcomed by a big sister, Lucille.
The Chicago area would be home to Frank for many years. There, he attended Catholic school, was chased with a broom, around the kitchen table, by his mother, had a paper route, was an altar server, attended community college and it was where he joined the Army National Guard. Frank would even be called to serve Active Duty for a time.
In 1971, still in his hometown, Frank decided that in addition to his full-time IT job, he would help his cousins while they opened their new pizza place. It was during that time that Frank discovered two great loves – his wife to be, Jane, and the restaurant business. He and Jane would marry on June 21, 1975 at Holy Ghost Catholic Church in South Holland, Illinois where Jane’s cousin Father Jack married them. As far as the restaurant business, it would await a different season of Frank’s life - his retirement.
Eventually, Frank’s tech job, with Amoco Oil, would move the family to Bixby, Oklahoma. With six kids in the family, there was always a special event to celebrate and no gathering was ever complete without one of Frank’s pizza pies. It didn’t take long for those delightful pies to gain local notoriety. There is no doubt that upon his retirement, Frank was urged by family and friends, alike, to go for his dream of opening a pizzeria.
Before this could happen, Frank took a trip back to Chicago. While there, he asked for his father’s permission to use his name for the business. He also began perfecting the family recipes with the help of his mother, aunt, cousins, and sister. Obviously, his dad agreed, and after much planning, Savastano’s Pizzeria was launched in 2003. Quick success would find the family looking for a larger space. In 2009, they traded their 18-table restaurant in for a three-story restaurant that strives to deliver the wonderful and authentic tastes of Chicago Style Pizza in a warm, comfortable setting. The Savastano’s philosophy has been and continues to be: “When you’re here, you’re family!” Afterall, doesn’t everyone know Frank and Jane?
Once the initial restaurant opened, Frank pretty well lived there. However, it wasn’t long into the process before Frank was lovingly moved away from the prep line. It seemed his pace would be better used as he began focusing on customer relations. In fact if you knew Frank you knew that he never met a stranger. In addition, he knew no boundaries, nor did he respect one’s personal space.
Words that have been used to describe Frank include: wonderful, loving, kind, big hearted, hard of hearing, generous, a hugger, and a true food-loving Italian! This man knew how to create time for his family and friends when there was no time. He truly treated those he knew as family. This included his employees who he lovingly reprimanded just as though they were his children.
Hobbies that Frank enjoyed over the years, besides pizza, included going on cruises (after he got over his fear of water), taking pictures and video of family events, and cheering on the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Cubs. In fact, one of the highlights of his life was watching the Cubs win the 2016 World Series with more than 500 customers who made Savastano’s their destination that night.
A member of the Elk’s Lodge, St. Joseph’s Club, Knight’s of Columbus, and even founder of the Coffee Clutch, no matter how you knew Frank Savastano – he was a man who made a huge impact on his family, friends, and community. He will be deeply missed.
Frank went to the big pie in the sky on Tuesday, August 18, 2020. He was surrounded by his loving family. Frank was 75 years old.
Those he leaves to carry on his legacy include: his loving wife of more than 45 years, Jane; his children: daughter, Jennifer Savastano-Campbell (#2) and husband, Rob; daughter, Becky Savastano; daughter, Katie Cook and husband Dave; daughter, Annie Schouten and husband, Brian; son, Frank Jr. Savastano and son, Joey Savastano and wife, Whitney; 12 grandchildren: Kailyn, Jay, Emma, Robert, Owen, Hayden, Abby, Jack, Brinley, Tommy, Kinsley, and Riley. He is also survived by his sister, Lucille Blasko and husband, Ron and Jane’s siblings along with numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives.
He was preceded in death by his parents: father, Alex Savastano and mother, Concetta Savastano.
For those who wish to honor Frank with a memorial donation, those contributions may be directed to the Hearts of Steel Foundation. www.heartsofsteelfoundation.org
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