July 24, 1961 - July 12, 2019
Frances A. Pizzola, 57, of Cortland passed away surrounded by her loving family, on Friday July 12, 2019 at Crouse Hospital after a brief illness. Born July 24, 1961 in Cortland, Fran was the daughter of Michele and Carmela Testa Pizzola and was a Cortland resident her entire life. Fran was a faithful member of both St. Anthony’s Church and Grace Christian Fellowship. Fran graduated from Cortland High School in 1980 and attended SUNY Cobleskill pursuing a career in the medical field. In December 1981, while sledding, she broke her neck and sustained a spinal cord injury that caused her paralysis. Ultimately this came to shape her life’s mission in advocating for all people with disabilities. Fran went on to complete her BS and MS in education at SUNY Cortland. Noticing the barriers surrounding her, she began a grassroots effort, which led to the organization of the Cortland County Accessibility Committee (CCAC). In 1998, through Fran’s work and dedication, she founded Access to Independence Cortland County, Inc. as the 36th Independent Living Center in New York State. Fran received many professional honors; most notably in 2001-NYS-Senate-“Women of Distinction”, 2003-Cortland High School-“Wall of Fame”, 2017-NYSILC-NYS Disability Hall of Fame and 2018 -Access to Independence Shining Star Award. As passionate as she was about her commitment to advocacy work, she was even more passionate about her family, friends, and faith. She was the glue that kept our family close. Whether it was card night, game night, wine night, or just any old night, great times were always had around a table with Fran. Through her love of faith and music she coordinated Joyful Noise Ministry and actively participated in Sunday Night Alive Fran truly appreciated her Momma’s cooking and she loved to take adventures to find new places and new foods to try. Everything was her “favorite”! Fran appreciated the beauty of nature, especially being in the backyard among the flowers that she planted with her father and is tended to by her Momma. She loved butterflies and sunshine. She is survived by her mother, Carmela Testa Pizzola; fiancé, Paul Dudek; brother, Michael (Mika) Pizzola; sister Maria (Mike) Dafoe; four nieces, Marina (Jeff) Prince, Adrianna, Sophia and Nina Pizzola; godmothers, Gelsa and Lisa Pizzola as well as the rest of her loving family. Fran was preceded in death by her father; Michele “Mike” Pizzola in 2015. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. in St. Anthony’s Church. Prayers of committal will follow in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery. The family will be present to receive friends on Tuesday from 4-8 p.m. at St. Anthony’s Church, on Pomeroy St in Cortland While we are heartbroken, we know Fran has traded her wheelchair in for wings! Contributions in lieu of flowers may be made in Fran’s memory to: Access to Independence 26 N. Main St. Cortland, St. Anthony's Church 59 N. Main St. Cortland, or Grace Christian Fellowship 1250 Fisher Ave Cortland. Condolences may also be sent to the family by visiting www.riccardifuneralhome.com Arrangements are under the direction of Riccardi Funeral Home 69 N. Main St., Cortland, N.Y.
Frances A. Pizzola, 57, of Cortland passed away surrounded by her loving family, on Friday July 12, 2019 at Crouse Hospital after a brief illness. Born July 24, 1961 in Cortland, Fran was the daughter of Michele and Carmela Testa Pizzola and... View Obituary & Service Information
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