GILLETTE, NJ - Francine Desmelyk (nee Santore) passed away at her Gillette home on April 10, 2020 at the age of 80. According to her obituary, (https://www.ippolitofuneralhomes.com/obituaries/Frances-Marie-Desmelyk?obId=12676027#/obituaryInfo) Frances was raised in Berkeley Heights, and spent time as a resident of Summit, Berkeley Heights and Gillette in her adult life. Frances worked at Garden State Fireworks, the family business, where she had been the anchor of the office operations for five decades. Her family shared the following message on Garden State Fireworks Facebook page.
Garden State Fireworks has been and will always be a family run company. Since 1890 it has been run by our grandfather, our fathers, their sons and daughters. Francine was a woman way ahead of her time. She would pull on her coveralls and work in the shed with her brothers with all the gifts of knowledge her father and uncles and grandfather had taught her. She traveled and worked with the crews on competitions in Monte Carlo, Montreal, and San Sebastián. She walked the streets of many parades in Netcong and Berkeley Heights, collecting money for barrages of fireworks, door to door, from residents trying to out-shoot their neighbors in Italian pride.
Prior to her work in the factory, Fran worked for years at Chubb & Son. Her office skills and ability to multi-task were remarkably shaped, as were the friendships she made there, many of which lasted her lifetime. From her work in the factory at Garden State, she transitioned into the office, as the paperwork associated with the industry grew. Correspondence, programs, bid proposals, receivables, payables, insurance, then OSHA, ATF and finally DOT, Fran knew and understood this industry like no other. Because she had seen it all, she had no problem asking questions, always seeking details and clarification. She has earned the respect of numerous individuals, organizations, and municipalities in and around the field.
She adapted and embraced technology, but we could never convince her that the computer wasn’t an actual saboteur of her email, because, you know, "that computer always erases everything!" In recent days, we did have fun teaching her to FaceTime, and it was wonderful to hear her giggle as she zeroed in on our faces.
While these trying times didn’t make her physically ill, they did frustrate her and disrupted her game. She was bored, impatient, and driven to be at work. Garden State Fireworks, its heritage, and what it stands for, was the blood that ran through her veins.
We will always love you, Fran. God Bless you and keep you.
Her funeral procession included a trip to Garden State Fireworks office where her family tested 21 salutes in her honor, in true Santore fashion.