Frances Brigiotta Galbato | News, Sports, Jobs
Frances Brigiotta Galbato, 89, of Lakewood, NY, died November 16, 2021 at her home.
A lifelong resident of the area, she was born August 28, 1932 in Jamestown, NY, the daughter of the late Antonino “Tony” and Giuseppe “Josephine” Vitanza Brigiotta.
Frances graduated from Jamestown High School in 1950, and at the age of 22 became co-owner of Brigiotta’s Farmland Produce and Garden Center with her husband, Thomas J. Galbato, who died October 1, 2021.
The youngest child of Sicilian immigrants, she grew up in the family business, working on the farm and spending countless hours at their specialty Italian grocery store in the lost neighborhood of Brooklyn Square. It was the foundation of his work ethic. A pioneer woman in every way, her business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit began at a young age. “Mrs. G” greeted many customers with her warm smile and bold personality. As a couple, Tom and Frances worked very hard to grow their family store into what it is today: a full-service retail store and grocery store, delicatessen, sub-store, wholesale products, a garden center and a flower shop. Tom and Fran were a great team who were extremely proud to demonstrate how well work and family can blend together.
In 2011, the Galbato family received the Buffalo District Jeffery Butland Family-Owned Business of The Year award from the US Small Business Administration, a very proud moment for Frances.
Her dedication and love for her family was evident in everything she did. Married for over 66 years, it was rare to see her without her husband by her side. They were childhood neighbors, high school sweethearts, devoted spouses, business partners, and best friends. As a devoted mother and nanny, she enjoyed spending time with her family at home and at “the shop”. It was important to her to keep the family together as a unit. At the end of a long day at work, the family often gathered in the store’s dining room to share a delicious meal they had prepared. The calm of Brigiotta’s afternoons made it possible to discuss and spend time with family. If a customer knocked on the door during a family dinner, she often invited them to share a plate. There was always room at his table. His cooking was also the highlight of many holiday gatherings and celebrations. Family favorites include their veal cutlets, stuffed artichokes, cannoli, and Bavarian jelly with fresh strawberries. Many of her original recipes are still used today at Brigiotta, including her meatballs, potato salad, macaroni salad, oil dressing and of course, Fran’s favorite sub. .
Frances was actively involved in all the extracurricular activities of her children and grandchildren. She was president of the PTA when her children were at Rogers Elementary School, she coached Southside Midget Football cheerleaders, chaperoned numerous group trips, led fundraisers, organized several car washes at the store for the Jamestown High School Band, volunteers at the Holy Family School book repair. at the library and found time to sew countless Halloween costumes over the years.
An avid community advocate and supporter of the arts, Frances often worked backstage at the Lucille Ball Little Theater as her husband enjoyed performing on stage. They continued to support the theater throughout their lives. She made costumes and sold the most patronage tickets for several years. In addition, she was an enthusiastic audience member and supporter of the local Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet, the Jamestown Harmony Express, and the Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony.
Frances was a life member of St. James Roman Catholic Church, where she was an active member of the Altar and Rosary Society, worked at spaghetti dinners and summer festivals, and enjoyed singing in the choir and play in the carillon group.
In her retirement years, she was an active volunteer from the beginning at the Robert H. Jackson Center. She always recognized the impact of how Robert Jackson came from a small town and had such a big impact on the world. She was the first teacher at the Jackson Center and later became head teacher. She enjoyed spending many hours there, and it gave her great joy to give tours and share her knowledge. In 2018, Tom and Frances were honored by the Jackson Center for their many years of support. She was a tremendous history buff and an avid reader, and could always be found with a book in her hands when she wasn’t working.
Frances was also a board member of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Chautauqua County. She was an advocate for the mentally ill and worked to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness and supported events that promoted education and awareness.
She was an experienced gardener and spent many hours growing beautiful flowers, especially in her rose garden. She spent many hours in the greenhouse with her husband growing the most fragrant basil. She had a genuine love of nature and the world around her, admiring the changing seasons and the many sunsets.
She loved traveling with her husband and family. Many of the trips centered on patriotic and historic sites, and she especially enjoyed collecting anything related to Native American history. She enjoyed traveling to the Southwest and South of the United States, Germany and Italy.
She will be greatly missed and remembered as a loving wife, mother, nanny, aunt, businesswoman and friend. She was loved by so many for her warm hugs, infectious laughter and generosity. Her love of shopping proved her love language to be the gift. She never forgot a holiday or birthday and bought presents when something just reminded her of someone. His larger than life personality was the outer shell of his warm and generous nature. Those who knew her loved her.
Surviving are his three children: Thomas N. (Barbara Shields) Galbato and Carla Galbato-Kayes, both of Jamestown, and Timothy J. (Kathryn) Galbato of Lakewood; four grandchildren: James (Alex) Galbato of Lakewood, Collin (Karen) Galbato of Jamestown, Francesca Galbato of Pittsburgh and Andria Kayes of Jamestown; and two great-granddaughters: Audrey and Ellyn Galbato.
Besides her parents, she was predeceased by her husband, Thomas; two sisters: Mary Brigiotta Tota and Francesca Brigiotta; and four brothers: Anthony Brigiotta, Sebastian J. Brigiotta, Thomas W. Brigiotta and Peter Brigiotta.
A Memorial Mass will be held at St. James Roman Catholic Church on Saturday, April 9 at 10 a.m. Visits will not be observed.
Memorials may be made at St. James Roman Catholic Church, 27 Allen St., Jamestown, NY 14701, or the Robert H. Jackson Center, 3305 East 4th St. Jamestown, NY 14701.
You can leave words of condolence for Frances’ family at www.lindfuneral home.com.