Minnie Fragnito

Minnie Frances Chelico Fragnito

Monday, December 2nd, 2019
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Minnie Frances Chellico Fragnito passed away peacefully Monday morning, 2 Dec. 2019 in her daughter’s (Josi Fragnito-Lira) home, Merced California. Minnie was born in Nashwauk, Minnesota, to Italian immigrants, Vincenzo Louis Celico and Josephine Luzzi. Minnie was number 6 of 9 children whom all preceded her in death, Tomasina Mary “Daisy” Chellico (Joseph) Simone from Nashwauk, MN. ; Louis James Chellico, from Nashwauk, MN, Annie Chellico Deluca (Lewis) from Medford, OR. Natale Celico and Joseph Celico from Nashwauk, MN, Angeline Mary Chellico Tripp (Eugene) from Missoula, MT. Eva Chellico, from Nashwauk, MN and James Emil (Hooner) Chellico from Las Vegas, NV. Minnie married the love of her life, John J Fragnito while he was home on furlough between Army Air Corps mechanic schools in 1941. Minnie followed him to St Louis, where she worked as a waitress at the base dining hall. When Plunky deployed to Normandy, France, Minnie stayed with her parents in Nashwauk and drove truck in the ore mines of northern Minnesota, transferring samples to the labs. When Plunky returned they bought a Filling Station/Auto repair (Plunky’s Garage)in Pengilly, MN. They stayed there until 1960 when they moved to Missoula, MT. They ran a neighborhood store on the North side of Missoula for years. Later Minnie bought and ran the Missoula Airport Café. Minnie was very active in her community. She was a waitress at the Club Chateau and the Frontier Lounge in Missoula until she retired. Minnie spent every February in Hawaii for over 20 years with her sisiter Angie Tripp; she loved to participate in the senior Olympics which she won most of the time. Minnie was very adventurous; she went skydiving at the age of 72 & 73 with her grandson Paul. She danced her heart out until she was 93 years of age with The Five Valley Accordion Association and the Montana Fiddlers Association. Minnie belonged to the Solo Stars squared dance club in Lolo, MT. She was very active in volunteering at the voting booth for years. She was a member of the Red Hat society since 1998 with the Really, Really, Really Red Tough Old Broads. She was a long time member of Saint Frances Catholic Church. Minnie was an avid Missoula Mall Walker for years. Minnie was famous for her Italian Easter bread which she baked over 100 loaves each year on Good Friday for her family and friends. She created the best thick crust cheese Pizza before it was commercialized. Minnie lived in Stevensville, MT with her son, “Bee” and daughter-in –law, Lorraine for 2 years before she moved to CA with her daughter, Josi, Dec 2018. She continued socializing with the Red Hat Society, joined the ICF (Italian Catholic Federation), American Legion Post 83 Auxiliary, the Le Grand Garden Club, and a faithful member of Saint Patrick Catholic Church, Merced, CA. Minnie was preceded in death by her husband John James Fragnito( Plunky) and her son James Cosmo Fragnito from Missoula, MT. Minnie is survived by her daughter Mary Josephina Celico “Josi” (Richard) Fragnito-Lira, son John James (Gay) Fragnito Jr, daughter-in-law Sherry Fragnito, son Joseph Daniel “Bee” (Lorraine) Fragnito, her grandson Paul Douglas (Tiffani) Hall, Shanna Fragnito (Bill) Johnson, John J Fragnito III, Frank Bradford (Glendyl) Smith IV, Amelia Fragnito (Jesse) Keely, James Cosmo Fragnito Jr., seven great grandchildren and many nephews and nieces. You may send donations in Memory of Minnie Fragnito to: Loyola Sacred Heart Foundation, 320 Edith St, Missoula, Mt. 59801. Any other correspondence can be sent to Mary J C Fragnito-Lira, 2199 W China Bar Dr. Merced, CA 95348 (253) 376-1891( Services will be at Garden City Funeral Home, 1705 W Broadway Street, Missoula, MT (406) 543-4190, at 12:30 with a celebration of life reception to follow, internment to follow (3pm) at Sunset Memorial Gardens, 7405 Mullen Road.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Saturday, February 15th, 2020 | 12:30pm
    Saturday, February 15th, 2020 12:30pm
    Garden City Funeral Home & Crematory
    1705 West Broadway
    MISSOULA, MT 59808
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Services will be at Garden City Funeral Home, 1705 W Broadway Street, Missoula, MT (406) 543-4190, at 12:30 with a celebration of life reception to follow, internment to follow (3pm) at Sunset Memorial Gardens, 7405 Mullen Road.


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Charlotte Gagnier Ponikvar

Posted at 01:32pm
So sad to see Minnie has passed away, but happy to see she lived a long life. Minnie and I worked together in the 70s at my father's restaurant, the Frontier Lounge. Minnie was never without a smile on her face; she was the happiest person I knew. She taught me a lot about having the right attitude in life. Minnie was always the life of the party and had many regular customers who only wanted her to wait on them. If she wasn't busy with customers, she would be on the dance floor with someone. She was a terrific dancer. What a wonderful lady she was. Charlotte Gagnier Ponikvar.

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