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2018-07-11 / Obituaries

Merrie Frances Monaco

1959-2018

Merrie Frances Monaco, 58, lost her 10-month battle with pancreatic cancer in San Antonio, Texas, on Monday, July 2, 2018.

Merrie was born Dec. 24, 1959, in Seguin to Frank and Jewel Kronk.

As a child, Merrie was raised on her family’s farm on Mount Olive Road in Adkins. She attended East Central High School.

She later moved to start her family in San Antonio, raising her girls there. Merrie had numerous jobs throughout her life, including the Bexar County constable’s office and as an executive secretary at Lancer Corp.

In 1990, Merrie met the love of her life, Frank Monaco Jr. The two married in Las Vegas, Nev., on May 16, 1992. They then settled down in La Vernia, where they have enjoyed their life together for 25 years.

Merrie loved being adventurous. She enjoyed flying, and was a co-pilot for her husband. They took flights to Lubbock to visit their children in college, and vacation trips to South Padre Island. According to Frank, “She was an excellent co-pilot.”

She also loved the water and looked forward to their family’s yearly vacation trip to the beach.

She and Frank also loved exploring the world together, and were perfect traveling companions. They loved their car club and the friends they made at The Bluebonnet Chevrolet Club. They attended car shows and events nationwide, including the 100th anniversary at The Indianapolis 500 race, IRL races at Texas Motor Speedway and Las Vegas International Speedway, and the “Hot August Nights” car show in Reno, Nev.

The couple traveled many times to Las Vegas, and made several trips to Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore. Merrie and Frank traveled with Frank’s sister, Marylyn, and her husband, Butch, and niece Tiffany House to Rome, and went on an extensive tour of the Vatican, down the Amalfi Coast, then off to Rovello. They visited with relatives in Spezzano della Sila in southern Italy, and Palermo and Trapani in Sicily.

More recently, Merrie and Frank traveled to London, England. This adventure included a visit to Amsterdam and a bullet train ride to Paris. In 2015, Merrie and Frank traveled to Baltimore, Md., to witness their granddaughter’s graduation from Johns Hopkins University. In Maryland, they visited Fort McHenry, the origination point of “The Star Spangled Banner.” In 2017, they enjoyed a special trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, where Merrie purchased special gifts for her grandchildren to use at the couple’s 25th anniversary celebration at Sunset Station in June 2017.

Over the years, Merrie devoted her time to many clubs, organizations, and causes. She started volunteering as a very young mother, as the Girl Scout troop leader for her daughters. Merrie served as the president of the La Vernia Lions Club, where she oversaw preparations for the annual La Vernia Bluebonnet Parade, festival, and Miss La Vernia Scholarship Pageant.

She served as the 50th anniversary president of the Christopher Columbus Italian Society’s Ladies Auxiliary. There, she was known as the “Cannoli Queen,” and always helped with the rolling of the meatballs in preparation for spaghetti dinners. She encouraged her granddaughters to volunteer as well at The Society. Merrie was instrumental in creating the “Messy Giuseppe,” with which she won the second place overall food prize at the Texas Folklife Festival. Merrie also worked on the L.I.S.A. Project (Little Italy of San Antonio) alongside her husband. She played a role in renaming Columbus Park to Piazza Colombo, and was instrumental in the planting of new olive and Italian cypress trees in the park, and the erection of new signage.

As a member of the Alamo Defenders Descendants Association, Merrie attended meetings regarding the future of The Alamo shrine, threatened by change by modern designers. She campaigned tirelessly for The Alamo to stay true to its original heritage. She was very excited about the 300th anniversary of San Antonio.

She also was a proud member of the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, and served as the chairman of the Community Classroom for the Susanna Dickinson Chapter. As a member, Merrie enjoyed wearing her historical outfits, placing flags on the graves of veterans, taking part in a pilgrimage to The Alamo, and tirelessly researching the ancestry of her daughter, Crystal, which links her to Susanna Dickinson, one of the only survivors of the Battle of The Alamo.

The serial volunteer also served as vice president of the LV Shoestring Stage Productions board of directors. Merrie had major roles in two stage plays, “Heir to a Misfortune” and “Your One and Only,” and was head costume designer for one of the organization’s children’s productions, “Annie Jr.”

Merrie was very passionate about keeping her family legacy intact. She organized the first annual Smith family reunion in 2017. Her heritage included The Boy Captives, a book written by her grandfather and great-uncle, who were kidnapped as young boys and sold to Geronimo.

She loved learning about her family history and passing it on to her children and grandchildren.

Merrie will be especially remembered for her bigger-than-life vivacious personality, her quick laughter and spirit of adventure, her love of family and friends, her beautiful spirit, and her tenacity that allowed her to achieve in many endeavors. Merrie’s passion for life could not be matched. She was a woman of many talents, interests, and abilities.

She was always busy, doing things for others. She loved everyone when they were at their worst, as well as their best. She loved unconditionally — in every sense of the word. And she, thankfully, passed that ability to love so well down to her children and grandchildren. Everyone who met Merrie will miss her beautiful smile, her amazing energy, and the joy for life she brought to absolutely everything.

We, as her family, will always remember that unconditional love is possible — and will spend our lives trying to love everyone and life unconditionally, just the way Merrie did. The light and truth of her love will never go out. We have lost a treasure, but heaven gained an angel.

Merrie is survived by her loving husband of 26 years, Frank; her children, Scharlet Stasny, Crystal Kiolbassa and husband Preston, Tammy Chisenhall and husband Jack, Frank Monaco III and wife Lorrie, and Mark Monaco and wife Lauren; and grandchildren Madison Herbst, Carley Kiolbassa, Jackson Harlow, Tristan Harlow, Jack Landis Chisenhall, Allison Harding and husband Brandon, Konnor Monaco, Vivian Monaco, Lauren Monaco, Brooklyn Monaco, and Olivia Monaco. Also mourning her passing are her brothers, Howard Kronk and wife Karen, Michael Kronk and wife Sharon, John Kronk and wife Valerie, David Kronk and wife Rene, and Kenneth Kronk and wife Robin; her sister-in-law, Marylyn House and husband Butch; brother-in-law, Charles Monaco and wife Marianna; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held Friday, July 13, from 5-6 p.m. at Porter Loring North Mortuary in San Antonio, followed by a memorial service at 6 p.m. in the funeral home chapel, to which relatives and friends are invited. Services will be officiated by the Rev. Rudy Rudiwick, a lifelong family friend.

Memorial contributions can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105, www.stjudes.org; or Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch, P.O. Box 1890, Amarillo, TX 79174, www.calfarley.org.

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