470 Massachusetts Avenue, Acton MA 01720


Francis P.

Francis P. "Frank" McCann

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020
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Francis P. “Frank” McCann

Francis P. “Frank” McCann, 86, of Maynard, MA died on Oct. 27, 2020, at the MetroWest Hospital Framingham following a year long struggle with declining health.

Born on April 7, 1934 and raised in Groton, MA, Frank was the son of the late Joseph and Margaret (Babin) McCann and the sixth of eight children. He was the loving and devoted companion of Elena “Ellie” (Primiano) Symes of Maynard for over 35 years until her death in 2007. Frank was predeceased by his siblings Frederick of CA, John of MA, Irene (Statuto) of MA, Margerite (Luce) of FL, James of VA, Daniel of AL, and Katherine (Barnsley) of MA. Also, predeceased by Ellie’s daughter, Sandy Russello, of CO.

Frank was a proud US Navy veteran and served on the USS John Paul Jones during the mid-1950’s. He was a member of the American Legion and the Hudson AmVets Club where he spent many hours playing Keno and enjoying friendships. Frank often attended the monthly Taps ceremony held in Acton Center. He enjoyed the veteran holiday breakfasts hosted by Acton-Boxboro High School students.

Raised in Groton he graduated from the public schools and a trumpet player in the band. Frank often told tales of his adventures growing up with his siblings including ice skating on the Groton School Pond and the annual Christmas parties and gifts the school provided for local children. Frank’s admiration and love for his mother (Margaret, as he affectionately called her) were always evident in his stories. Frank learned cooking skills from his mother. As a young man he cooked at his sister Margerite’s diner in Bellows Falls, VT. In the US Navy he learned to cook for large groups of sailors.

These experiences eventually landed him in Maynard where Frank began his career as a chef during the early 1960s, first, at Russo’s Restaurant then at Alphonse’s Powder Mill Restaurant until its closing in the late 1980s. Frank continued his career at several restaurants and catering services; Outlook at Nashoba Ski Hill in Westford, Seasonal Specialties Food Services, Fruitlands Museum Restaurant & Tearoom, and Shaker Hills Country Club in Harvard. Being the senior member of the kitchen staff plus his full white hair and beard, his much younger co-workers nicknamed him “The Colonel."

For many years Frank volunteered with the American Cancer Society driving patients to chemotherapy sessions and medical appointments. This developed into providing driving services for neighbors, friends and family. Frank was also employed as a limo driver for Colonial Livery of Maynard and Concord. Outgoing and genuinely interested in his passengers, Frank made many friends in the local communities.

Frank was a Maynard resident for nearly 60 years. He and Ellie were devoted companions for over 35 years until her passing. They worked together at Alphonse’s Restaurant; he as a chef and she as a waitress. Proud of his Irish heritage, Frank enjoyed everything about Ellie’s Italian heritage and family; her father, siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, and most of all her children and grandchildren. Sunday family dinners were easily mistaken for a holiday. Frank always kept in touch with his siblings, nieces and nephews too. Their home was an open door to everyone. They hosted family reunions, St. Paddy’s Day dinners, Super Bowl parties, with everyone crowded onto benches and chairs around the table.

Following our mother's passing Frank helped us keep her traditions alive. He was our “head chef” every holiday helping us plan the menu, shopping for the roast, ham or turkey. Showed us how to make flavorful gravy as well as carving techniques. Frank continued to take special interest in our activities and friends. He loved to hug and tease the grandchildren who affectionately called him “Papa” and “Franguch." He spoiled the great-grandchildren with homemade pasta.

He thoroughly enjoyed the McCann family reunion trips to visit brother Danny and family in AL, and the reunion family cruises to the Caribbean and Cozumel, Mexico all organized by his nieces.

An avid reader Frank enjoyed mystery novels and historical accounts about “Tin Can Sailors,” the US Navy and WWI Doughboys like his father. He read Yankee Magazine from cover to cover and often gifted subscriptions. He watched television cooking and travel programs, and every documentary produced on PBS by Ken Burns. (If you didn’t know better, you could mistakenly think he and “Kenny” were best friends). Frank was a fanatical fan of the “Big Bang Theory,” reciting each characters funny line while doubled over laughing. A fan of the major Boston sport teams, it was watching the games with friends and family that was most enjoyable for him. Frank loved a good glass of red wine, Italian food, pasta and more pasta, sausage and pepper sandwiches, and a special dish, “Tutti Cosi" that Ellie’s cousin Tony Vaccarro taught him to cook. He was quite particular about Cape Cod sandwiches, so the best were made with Thanksgiving leftovers. He enjoyed tapioca and Indian puddings, rum raisin and black raspberry ice cream. Most of all he loved sharing these favorite things with family and so many friends.

Frank is survived by his extended family, Ellie’s children: Kathy Symes, Kerri Martinec, Mary Lou Morgan and husband Steve, and Herb Symes and wife Ann of Maynard, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren of MA and CO. Also, he is survived by his sister-in-law, Nancy, of AL and many McCann family nieces and nephews residing across the USA from New England to Alaska. He was especially grateful for the love and devotion of his nieces, Karen McCann, Susan Kopetz and husband Craig of NH, and Mary Westover of MA.

A military burial service at the MA National Cemetery in Bourne and a celebration of Frank’s life are tentatively planned in 2021 on his birthday.

Donations in Frank’s memory may be made to your favorite charity, or to one of these Boston based organizations: New England Center for Homeless Veterans at https://www.nechv.org/ or to Home Base at https://www.redsoxfoundation.org/home-base/ which is a Red Sox Foundation and Mass. General Hospital Program dedicated to healing veterans and their families.

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Service Details

  • Interment

    VA National Cemetery of Massachusetts
    Connery Avenue
    Bourne, MA
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence


Posted at 01:41pm
Frank was a joy to be around. He had plenty to say but he was also a good listener. Our memories of him go way back when he and Ellie would stop in at her daughter Kathy's house, late at night, at the end of their shifts and we would play cards, laugh and share a glass of wine. May they both rest in peace. Sharon and Adrian Flat tee gard

Ann Symes

Posted at 10:21pm
I will remember Frank as being the only person left who called me Bunny. Even my own family stopped using my full nickname & just used Bun. Not Frank. He took special delight in being the only one.
My boys and my granddaughters will always have happy memories of Frank. That’s because he was in all their lives from the time my boys were small. Frank loved kids. Anyone who ever attended a gathering where Frank & kids were present, will always remember the screeching & laughing that ensued.
Frank was a family loving guy. He brought a lot of joy into our lives & for that we are grateful 💔

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