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April 11, 2014
Frank Coluccio, founder of Frank Coluccio Construction Co., died on April 8 after complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 85.
Coluccio was born in Seattle in 1928. His father, Joseph, emigrated from Italy and entered the construction industry in the 1920s, where he initially worked as a laborer, digging ditches and performing odd jobs.
The younger Coluccio worked with his father and brother for several years with an underground contractor in Rainier Valley, then set out on his own in 1953.
“He was a hardworking, ambitious guy,” said son Joe Coluccio, who now runs the company with his brothers Nick and Franco.
Within five years Frank's father, brother and uncle joined him at the new company, Joe said, “once his father had enough confidence that he wouldn't fall on his face.”
The company started small, hooking up side sewers that were dug by hand. Before long, the company was taking jobs east of the Cascades and in Oregon.
“As the business grew, he stuck to his underground focus, but started to go further afield to bigger jobs,” including public work, Joe said.
Frank Coluccio Construction Co. grew to become one of the largest underground utility contractors in the Pacific Northwest, and has completed projects in Hawaii, Alaska, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and elsewhere.
Frank retired in 2004, but continued to come to the office every day.
“Retirement was sort of a gradual thing,” Joe said. “It was sort of hard to get him to take his hand off the throttle, but he was really good about it.”
The company now has more than 100 employees in Seattle, and an office in Hawaii with at least 50 employees that opened in the 1980s.
“The thing that stands out to me is how much he treated employees like family,” Joe said.
Even in a cyclical business like construction, Joe said his father made a concerted effort to keep his staff employed year-round.
“It was very personal with all his employees. He was fiercely loyal to his people.”
Frank Coluccio Construction Co. has been involved in a number of major projects over the years, including the Tolt water supply pipeline, Brightwater conveyance system, Sound Transit's University Link and Northgate Link projects, and the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement.
Work on Brightwater earned the company a tunneling contractor of the year award in 2011 from International Tunnelling & Underground Space.
His father's influence continues to be felt at the company, Joe said.
“He has established a good work ethic for us boys,” he said. “We're proud of his legacy and what this company does, and it reflects in the work we get and the referrals we get.”
Frank Coluccio is survived by five children and their spouses: Joe (Sheri), Medrice, Franco (Lisa), Nick (Patricia) and Chris (Margie), as well as 13 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
A mass and celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. April 15 in St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church at 15226 21st Ave S.W. in Burien. A reception will follow at the Normandy Park Community Club at 1500 S.W. Shorebrook Drive in Normandy Park.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Booth Gardner Parkinson's Care Center Fund at EvergreenHealth Foundation, in memory of Frank Coluccio.
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Jon Silver can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.