Arnold C. Franco
Time of Service:
11am, Thursday, July 14, 2016
Place of Service:
Riverside Memorial Chapel
Beth Olam Cemetery, Ridgewood, NY
Arnold C. Franco, 92, insurance executive and philanthropist, died Monday in his home
on the Upper East Side. Born in Richmond Hill, Queens in 1923, Arnold majored in history
at the University of Michigan and then Queens College, graduating with the class of 1943. Selected for the Army Specialized Training Program, he was trained in code breaking at Vint Hills Farm Station in Virginia before joining the Third Radio Squadron, a mobile unit designed to decode German Air Force messages for the Ninth U.S. Air Force in Europe. His section landed on Omaha Beach after the invasion of France, took part in the break out from Normandy and took over the Eiffel Tower during the Liberation of Paris for use as a grand radio antenna. At war’s end, Arnold returned to New York and in 1946 founded Franco & Son, an insurance brokerage which became affiliated with Frenkel & Co. in 1998.
In 1963, Arnold co-founded the international Open Door Student Exchange and served as a lifetime board member. A passionate historian, Arnold wrote Code to Victory, the first book written on WWII mobile intelligence units, as well as numerous articles for military and historical journals. In the 1980’s, he established history scholarships at Richmond Hill High School and Queens College, and in 2007 funded a colloquium at Queens College on historical revisionism. On November 11, 2006, he dedicated the Arnold C. and Beverly Franco WWII Memorial, a monument to honor the 1,100 Queens College students who fought in WWII. Arnold was made a Chevalier of the French Legion d’Honneur in 2005, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in Honoris Causa by Queens College in 2000 as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. He was a long time member of the Harmonie Club in New York.
Arnold was pre-deceased by his wife, Beverly Rosenberg, who died in 2013, and is survived by his four children, Debra Franco of Los Angeles, Wendy Franco Almquist of
Boston, Miriam Franco of Philadelphia and Edmond Franco of New York as well as three grand children, David and Harry Almquist and Margaux Blau and one great-grandson,
Charles Arnold Almquist. Donations can be made to the Queens College Foundation http://bit.ly/ArnoldFranco