Frank Coluccio has his fingerprints all over the infrastructure of Seattle and King County. From bus tunnels to sewage-treatment plants to Seattle City Light’s maintenance, he worked behind the scenes in the region for 60 years.
“Basically all the infrastructure work that you never see, but is very vital to the backbone of the region, my father had something to do with,” said Joe Coluccio, his eldest son.
Mr. Coluccio founded Frank Coluccio Construction, one of the companies working on the Alaskan Way Viaduct project, in 1953 when he was 25. Starting with a shovel and dedication, he built the company into one of the largest underground-utility contractors in the Pacific Northwest.
Mr. Coluccio handed his company over to his three oldest sons 10 years ago when he grew too ill from Parkinson’s disease. He died at his home in Des Moines, on Tuesday, April 8. He was 85.
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Mr. Coluccio was born in Seattle in 1928 and graduated from Franklin High School in 1946. He was known for his pride in Seattle sports teams, the tomatoes he grew and handed out to everyone who would take them, and for the Fourth of July parties he and his brother would throw every year.
He also had a reputation for succeeding in everything he took on.
“He was a very hard worker … a nose to the grind stone and get-things-done kind of guy,” Joe Coluccio said. “His dad was an immigrant, and he was pretty ambitious to leave what was a steady job at Valley Construction and strike out on his own … he was one of these kind of rags-to-riches guys.”
Mr. Coluccio’s love of sports led him and his brother to buy the original Seattle Sounders in 1979. Under the brothers’ ownership, the team won the National American Soccer League Western Division twice, coach at the time Alan Hinton said.
“It was like family. They were so good with the players, and so good with me,” said Hinton, who coached the Seattle Sounders from 1980 to 1982, and often still works as a broadcast analyst for the current Seattle Sounders FC.
“Frank was a great man, and I think he deserves the gratitude of all the Sounders fans from those days and the young people of today,” he said. “They need to respect him because without those great days of the past we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
Making everyone he interacted with feel like part of the family was important to Mr. Coluccio. Even though construction is a seasonal and cyclical business, Mr. Coluccio would make sure all his employees had work year round, his son said.
“He had a steady core of 100 to 150 people in Seattle and half that in Hawaii — some of them had been with him for 30 years or so,” Joe Coluccio said. “He was very loyal to his people — that was one of the hallmarks of who he was.”
Mr. Coluccio is preceded in death by his brother Vince Coluccio, who also suffered from Parkinson’s disease and died in 2007 at age 77.
In addition to his son Joe, Mr. Coluccio is survived by sons Franco, of Honolulu, Nick, of Bellevue, and Chris, of Mercer Island; and daughter Medrice, of Olympia. He also left behind 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
A Mass and celebration of life will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 15226 21st Ave. S.W., Burien. A reception will follow at the Normandy Park Community Club. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Evergreen Health Foundation and Booth Gardner Parkinson’s Care Center fund.
Coral Garnick: 206-464-2422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @coralgarnick