Frank Zerilli

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Frank ZerilliFrank Zerilli

“Well done, good and faithful servant.”
2 December 1940 – 20 March 2020

 

Beloved spouse of Franklin Calvin for almost 42 years.

Frank was the Confidential Assistant to Rev. Troy D. Perry, the founder of Metropolitan Community Churches for 35 years and close friend for 50 years. Rev. Perry recalls being quite impressed with Frank during the job interview. “He had been raised in the Lutheran Church of America and had attended Bible College. He was one of the few men I ever met who knew shorthand and he could type almost 200 words a minute without mistakes. But the thing that really caught my attention was when he told me he had been a member of the Gay Activists Alliance in New York City and had co-founded the same organization on Long Island.”

Frank took seriously his job description of Confidential Assistant. Never in his 35 years was there ever an accusation or evidence of him breaking that confidence. He was kind and gentle handling all the many requests and people who wanted to talk with the Moderator. Frank facilitated his job and handled people with grace.

Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson shares a story of one person who was unhappy with Frank! “I remember a difficult person who used to call the office incessantly, trying to get to Troy, and Frank was very, very tough and would not let his call go through. This fellow later wrote to Troy, angry with him, and “that damned little rat of a secretary!” Frank had a mug with ‘damned little rat of a secretary’ that he proudly used every day at the office.”

Frank attended all but one General Conference of MCC! When MCC moved headquarters from LA to Abilene, Texas, USA, Frank and Franklin moved too. When he retired, they settled in Abilene continuing their involvement with their local church, Exodus MCC.

Frank received many awards from different West Hollywood Gay Pride organizations for championing causes he felt passionate about. His activism continued throughout his life, most recently being instrumental in creating Camp Barkeley Dog Park in Abilene due to his passion for his dogs and all dogs.

In his retirement, Frank enjoyed genealogy and connecting with distant relatives, cooking, baking and all things connected with his cherished dogs.

“During the last 10 years of my term as moderator of our denomination,” wrote Troy Perry, “Franklin, Frank’s husband, became my security person. Frank, Franklin, Phillip, and I traveled together to our General Conferences which were held all over the world. Phillip and I could never ask for better friends than those two.”

Frank and Franklin“Frank was loyal, devoted, knew and loved everyone in MCC. He was that accessible, reliable person with a great sense of humor,” states Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson.

Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston, current Moderator of MCC, says, “It was always a delight to be with Frank. He was so cheerful and fun to talk with. I remember him taking shorthand in our meetings, keeping up with all the discussions around the table. I know he will be much missed. A true and faithful servant.”

MCC celebrates the life of Frank Zerilli, an MCC Pioneer, mentor and social justice activist. Our prayers of comfort and love are sent to his spouse, Franklin Calvin.

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