We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at O'Connell-Rothwell Funeral Home
Frank Rotunno (born 7/12/34, died 6/1/22) was the first son of Christine and Michael Rotunno. He spent the first 18 years of his life in a place he considered paradise, Southampton, NY. An avid baseball player in his youth, he honed his skills to the point he was invited to try out for the Philadelphia Phillies. In his youth he held many jobs including a cabana boy at the Southampton Bathing Corp, bus boy at the Irving Hotel and caddie which led to a lifelong love of golf. After High School he elected to attend Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY.
At Clarkson Frank learned the foundations of what was to become a long and successful business career. He studied business and started a love affair with an institution that would last until his final days. He was an avid bodybuilder starting the “University Barbell Club” Clarkson’s first student run organization. Most importantly Frank developed relationships with people that only got stronger with the passage of time. Relationships the endured nearly 70 years and were such an important part of his life.
After College, Frank entered what would be his lifetime career accepting a management training position in the paper industry. That led to higher positions until finally in 1972 he started a business himself, United Sales Concepts. With the help of so many including his 3 initial partners, USC grew to be one of the largest and most successful brokers in the paper and packaging industry. He retired from the company in 2007
Frank’s other passion was the aforementioned Clarkson University. Frank began his Trustee service in 1988 and served two five-year terms through 1998; he returned to the board for another term in 2002 that ended in 2006. He was named an emeritus trustee in 2007 recognizing his distinguished service to the Board of Trustees and he remained active in University governance.
As a trustee, he chaired the Development Committee and was actively involved in planning the Campaign for Clarkson and was among the key planners and promoters of what became the Deneka Family Fitness Center. He served on many Board committees, including the Enrollment Committee, the Investment Committee, the Trusteeship Committee, the Campus Life Committee, and the Executive Committee.
He was a former Alumni Association Vice President and President and a 1986 recipient of Clarkson’s Golden Knight Award. In 2016, he received the Lifetime Engagement Award, the highest honor bestowed upon Clarkson alumni. He was an active volunteer for the Offices of Admissions, Career Services and Alumni & Development.
In recognition of his lifetime of support and commitment to athletics and recreation for students, the University inducted him into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.
Frank received an honorary Doctor of Science degree at Clarkson University’s 105th Commencement on May 17, 1998. The degree was conferred for “his outstanding leadership as a trustee and alumni volunteer in guiding the growth and development of Clarkson University, and for his exemplary business success as a marketer and entrepreneur.”
Family was a very important part of Frank’s life. In 1959 he married Betsy Stone. They had two children, Greg (b. 1960) and Christine (b. 1965) and he raised his family in Huntington, NY. Unfortunately, Betsy passed away in 1999. He was lucky to find love twice in JoAnn Ruggirello who was his partner for the last 20 years of his life.
After retiring in 2007, he returned to his beloved Southampton where he could be close to the beach he loved and back into the house he grew up in. reconnected with so many of his friends from the area and had an active social life in town and as a member of the Southampton Golf Club and the Elks Club. Frank is survived by his partner JoAnn, sister Carol, son Greg, daughter Christine and grandchildren Alexa, Emily, Ian, Kai and Lia. .
In lieu of flowers we will be establishing the “Frank Rotunno ‘56 Memorial Scholarship” with Clarkson University, our father’s Alma Mater, where he served as a trustee, as well as played many other roles in service to the university. If you knew Frank, you know Clarkson is in his heart.
If you are interested in donating, please contact Matthew Draper for details: