STORIES OF SERVICE: World War II Vet Frank Richiuso’s ‘Someone to Remember’ Recreated By Family
By Steve Wilson // April 18, 2021
Richiuso wrote 'Someone to Remember' during service in Germany in 1945 as part of the 27th Tank Battalion, 20th Armored Division
WATCH: In the latest edition of “Stories of Service,” Steve Wilson talks with Pete Richiuso, Jay Richiuso and Gianna Rose of Palm Shores. Pete and Jay’s father, Frank Richiuso, was a World War II veteran who wrote the song, “Someone to Remember,” in Germany in 1945. His granddaughter Gianna Rose, Jay’s daughter, recently recorded the song at Lily Pad Studio in Cocoa. Be sure to listen to “Someone to Remember” at the end of the above presentation.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Frank Richiuso was a member of the Greatest Generation, the moniker for those that grew up during the Great Depression, fought and won World War II and then built America into the greatest nation in recorded history.
Richiuso checks all the boxes to fall into this category. Born Francesco Vittorio Richiusa on October 16, 1917, in New York, he worked as a tool-and-die maker in the garment industry.
Whether it was carpentry work, plumbing, or working in the garment industry, you name it, he could do it. Richiuso, who altered the spelling of his last name, also developed a love for music, one that never left him.
When World War II began, Richiuso, along with his brother Ben, answered the call and were there for their country.
As a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army, Frank Richiuso was part of the 27th Tank Battalion, 20th Armored Division. Even during wartime, and with Richiuso’s love of music still in his heart, he did something rather unique.
While in Germany in 1945, he wrote the song “Someone to Remember.” It is a beautifully written song with heartfelt lyrics by a soldier that simply did not know what tomorrow was going to bring.
Fast forward to the current day, and the story continues to be unique. Frank Richiuso’s granddaughter, Gianna Rose of Palm Shores, whom he never met, recently recorded “Someone to Remember” at the Lily Pad Recording Studio in Cocoa, Florida.
On the day of the recording, Gianna Rose said it was important to be in the right frame of mind.
“I want to remember my grandfather,” she said while preparing for the song.
“I want to know and understand what he might have been feeling. It came out better when I went into it with that mentality.”
The song was important to Frank Richiuso’s sons, Pete and Jay Richiuso. The brothers, both musically inclined, played an influential part in having the song recorded.
Pete Richiuso, a resident of Melbourne, said he always felt the song deserved a full orchestra and the talent of Mark and Billie Meisel at Lily Pad Studio allowed the song to reach what the Richiuso’s felt was its full potential, making it much more than vocals and a piano.
It was also important to the family for the song to not lose its originality.
“The song is recorded, as I understand, the way it was written,” said Jay Richiuso. “Whatever my father envisioned for the song, is what my brother has in the sheet music, and that is what we did on the recording.”
By all accounts, Frank Richiuso was an incredibly special man, with Pete saying he was the best father you could have. Jay beams when talking about his dad, noting they obviously inherited their love of music from their parents.
Both his dad, Frank, and mom, Natalie, were lovers of big band music, and that trickled down to the kids. Frank and Jay Richiuso have been playing music most of their lives. They, along with their friend Don Hurst, are currently in a jazz trio, appropriately named, the “Jazzey Boys.”
“Someone to Remember” is more than a song. All you need to do is talk with family members to understand that. The song has now taken on a life of its own: written halfway around the world during a difficult time that exemplifies the heart and soul of the Richiuso family – and the Greatest Generation.