The town of Deal, New Jersey was dealt a most painful blow, as their highly esteemed mayor, Harry I. Franco passed away on January 30, following an illness. He was 79.
His career as a tireless advocate for the community he served included sixteen years as a member of the borough’s Board of Commissioners, as mayor for almost eighteen years and seven years as a member of the Board of Adjustment; marking 41 years as a dedicated public servant.
During Mayor Franco’s tenure as an elected official he oversaw the expansion and improvements to the Deal Borough Hall, numerous upgrades to the beach facilities including the Deal Casino, many road improvements and Shared Service agreements with neighboring municipalities.
Business Administrator Jim Rogers, who was also a close friend of Mayor Franco’s said, “He was a highly respected member of the governing body of Deal and he had the respect of all the residents of the town.”
Commenting on the community outpouring of love for Franco, Rogers added, “The respect for him was evidenced by the fact that the funeral home was packed, even though there was very short notice. Word must have reached everyone somehow.” Funeral services were held on Thursday morning, January 31 at the Bloomfield-Cooper Jewish Chapels in Ocean Township.
He said that Franco will be “remembered for his honesty and his sincerity and his dedication to the town.”
Stephen Carasia, the Chief of Police, recalled Franco’s constant allegiance to local law enforcement agencies. “He was always proud of the police department and wanted to make it better and move forward,” he said. He added that, “He was just always supportive and that was one of the greatest things.”
As a transplanted Jersey-ite, Franco, who was born in Brooklyn, New York moved to Deal 45 years ago and immediately immersed himself in the public sector; attending to the various needs of the community.
In 1956, Franco co-founded SDI Technologies, a Rahway, New Jersey based company whose brand names include iHome, Timex, Bongiovi DPS, New Balance and Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad/AirPlay.
As a major designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of innovative and high quality consumer electronics, SDI Technologies’ key products lines include alarm clocks, clock radios, portable speakers, home audio systems, headphones and computer accessories.
SDI’s affiliate, KIDdesigns, manufactures and markets a vast array of toys, including electronic role play toys, electronic learning aids, and musical instruments under several brand names, including Barbie, Transformers, GI Joe, Littlest Pet Shop, My Little Pony, Nerf, Disney Cars, Disney Princess, and several others.
Mayor Franco is survived by his beloved wife of 57 years, Ruby and their four children; Alana, Rhonda, Isaac and Jack, along with a number of grandchildren.