Francis Iacobucci Sr., 87, of Newtown Square, a home builder and developer in Delaware County, died Saturday, Dec. 24, of congestive heart failure at Barclay Friends in West Chester.
Mr. Iacobucci was born in Philadelphia to Reginald and Gilda Durso Iacobucci.
He and younger brother Anthony grew up in Overbrook Park surrounded by aunts, uncles, and cousins as the Great Depression was beginning. Proud to be a first generation Italian American, he believed that family and neighborhood were the linchpins of life.
When he was young, Mr. Iacobucci helped his parents run a butcher store at 66th Street and Lansdowne Avenue. He took orders to customers on Friday nights, with special deliveries to widows and the needy during holidays.
He graduated from John Bartram High School, and played semi-pro football in the Sandlot Knute Rockne League, for which he was a "tough-as-nails" offensive guard and linebacker, his family said.
He learned his father's trade, but once married with children, Mr. Iacobucci felt called to try something different.
With his father's blessing, he went to work with brother-in-law Joe Perna. Mr. Iacobucci spent days learning to be a carpenter and nights working at the store, slicing meat and delivering orders.
He fell in love with building and quickly developed the skills to become a carpentry foreman. "If you love what you do, it's never work," Mr. Iacobucci liked to tell his family.
Since he had more work than he could handle, he persuaded his brother, a surveying engineer, to join him in Consolidated Carpenters, a firm born in the cellar of Mr. Iacobucci's Havertown home. Their wives were the bookkeepers and payroll managers.
Consolidated Carpenters has become one of the largest carpentry contractors in the region, with 200 workers.
In 1953, with support from their father, the Iacobucci brothers built their first three houses in Clifton Heights, and in doing so laid the foundation for the Iacobucci Organization, later renamed Iacobucci Homes. The firm spawned other businesses, including Contemporary Realty Corp., a realty and marketing company.
Iacobucci Homes has developed 45 communities and built 6,000 single and multi-family homes, many of which won national and local acclaim. The homes are in Delaware, Chester and Montgomery Counties, and South Jersey.
He had many hobbies - chief among them following the Eagles. A season-ticket holder, he loved nothing more than to sit on the narrow benches with a blanket and a kielbasa, his relatives nearby.
"As a loyal fan, he loved and hated the team through the good times and the bad," his family recalled.
He also enjoyed golf, big game fishing, Thursday night card games, sailing, and traveling the world. He spent time at his homes in Newtown Square, Jupiter, Fla., and Avalon, N.J.
He took his children and their offspring on trips to Alaska and Walt Disney World, and joined them in Avalon for boating, jet-skiing, tubing, and crabbing.
"That was his fun. He was a blast," said his son, Francis Jr. "He enjoyed hard work and a good party."
Mr. Iacobucci was a founder of Madison Bank in Blue Bell. He was a member of the National Association of Home Builders' Chester and Delaware County Chapters, and a founding member of the Delaware County Apartment Owners Association.
He was a longtime member and leader of Llanerch Country Club. He also was active in Delaware County politics, and in 1997, along with his brother, was named Man of the Year by the Christopher Columbus Memorial Association.
Besides his son, Mr. Iacobucci is survived by his wife, Olga Primavera Iacobucci; a daughter, Carol Ann Gardner; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
A viewing from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 30, at D'Anjolell Memorial Home, 2811 West Chester Pike, Broomall, will be followed by a 10 a.m. Funeral Mass at St. Pius X Parish, 220 Lawrence Rd., Broomall. Interment is in SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Marple Township.
Donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, Delaware Valley Chapter, 399 Market St., Suite 102, Philadelphia 19106, or Barclay Friends Employee Fund, 700 N. Franklin St., West Chester, Pa. 19380.