Santa Clara Magazine is published in print for alumni and friends of the University. It is updated weekly on the web.
Anthony Francis Villafranca ’49 was born on June 2, 1928, to Vincent and Maria Grazia Villafranca in Clairton, Pennsylvania. He grew up in Gilroy, CA, graduating from Gilroy High where he excelled at track and basketball. Anthony continued to run competitively for SCU, where in 1949 he earned a degree in business. He remained devoted to his alma mater throughout his life, and was a proud member of Santa Clara’s Legacy Society, Bronco Bench Club, President’s Club, and Gianera Society. After graduation from Santa Clara, Anthony served in the Army and was stationed at Camp Drake, Japan. There he made many lifelong friends and treasured memories. Upon completion of his service he returned home, marrying Pat Mineo of Monterey. They settled in Salinas, where they made their home for many years and raised their four children, eventually moving to the Monterey peninsula. In 1967 Anthony found his life’s work as a State Farm insurance agent. He remained an active agent throughout his life, a career that spanned 52 years. He served his community by participating in many business and community organizations: The Valley Center Business District Association (president), The Native Sons of the Golden West, and The Compari Club. He was a Paul Harris Fellow of the Salinas NE Rotary as well as a lifetime member of the Italian Catholic Federation and the Sons of Italy. He coached Catholic Youth Organization basketball and was an avid golfer, serving on the board of directors as treasurer of the Salinas Golf and Country Club. In his spare time Anthony took on multiple real estate projects, including owning and operating the Villa Franca Inn in Monterey. Anthony’s grandchildren were his greatest joy. He was their biggest fan, whether he was applauding their academic achievements or cheering them on from the sidelines as they competed in various sporting events. He always encouraged them to follow their dreams. Anthony passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his family on Nov. 4, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Pat, and his four children: Mariann Villafranca ’87, Lisa (James) Washington, Julie (Jim) Cunanan, and Anthony J. Villafranca. He was the loving grandfather of Anthony J. Villafranca Jr., Joshua Cunanan, Emily Cunanan, Alexa Villafranca, and Angelina Villafranca. Above all else Anthony had a zest for life and a true gift for connecting with others. He loved being with people and especially treasured time with his family.