Francis DeToma

Obituary of Francis J. DeToma

Francis J. “Frank” DeToma, 83, of South Hadley, MA passed away on January 23, 2024 after a two-year battle with cancer. Frank was born into an Italian-America family on November 17, 1940 in Boston, MA to the late James and Pauline (Polito) DeToma. Frank’s passions included woodworking, learning to speak Italian, national politics, dancing, cooking, participating in civic affairs, attending classical music concerts and traveling throughout the world with his wife Janice. In 2000 he completed building a 20-foot Friendship Sloop which he sailed off the coast of Boothbay Harbor, ME where he and his wife built a second home and spent summers entertaining family and friends. Frank grew up in Worcester, MA where he attended South High School and graduated from Clark University with a B.A. in Chemistry. He married his high school sweetheart Janice (Bowles) in 1963 and they spent several happy newlywed years in Chicago, IL where Frank received a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Chicago. After moving to South Hadley, MA in 1971, Frank enjoyed a long career as a professor and administrator at Mount Holyoke College where he taught in the Biological Sciences Department. Additionally he served for a year as the Dean of Faculty & Provost at Mills College in Oakland, CA. After retiring from Mount Holyoke in 2005, Frank devoted his time to a second career in South Hadley town government serving as a former Selectboard member, a 30-year District 2 Water Commissioner, a member of the Redevelopment Authority and the Historical Commission, and on several other town committees. He was an active 45-year member of the former South Hadley Lion’s Club. Frank leaves behind his wife Janice of 60 years, his daughter Ann-Marie Mahnken of South Hadley, his son Francis DeToma Jr. (Lisa) of Feeding Hills, a nephew Joel Rivard of South Hadley, a niece Jennifer Bounville of Boylston, MA , a nephew Raphael Crawford of Baton Rouge, LA and a nephew Christopher Goswick of Brooklyn, NY, in addition to extended family members and good friends. He was predeceased by his twin brother Andrew “Andy” DeToma, his older brother James, and his calico cat Alice whom he loved teaching tricks to perform for family and friends. On Saturday, March 9 at 1pm, Frank’s family welcomes all to attend a memorial service followed by a reception in the auditorium at Loomis Village at 20 Bayon Drive in South Hadley, MA. Donations may be made by mail or online to Clark University at or to the Springfield Symphony Orchestra at For more information please visit
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Memorial Service

1:00 pm
Saturday, March 9, 2024
Auditorium at Loomis Village
20 Bayon Drive
South Hadley, Massachusetts, United States