September 21, 2016 at 5:01 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Former D.C. resident Franklin Dell’Aquila dies at 62
Franklin S. Dell’Aquila, gay news, Washington Blade

Franklin S. Dell’Aquila (Photo courtesy CAMP Rehoboth)

Franklin S. Dell’Aquila, who lived in D.C. beginning in the 1970s, where he worked for the U.S. Secret Service, owned a men’s clothing store and later became a hairstylist, died Aug. 8 at a hospice in Phoenixville, Pa. He was 62.

His longtime friend Tony Amato said the cause of death was complications associated with multiple sclerosis.

Dell’Aquila lived and worked in D.C. for close to 30 years before returning around 2000 to his hometown of Royersford, Pa. He was well known in gay community circles in D.C. and Rehoboth Beach, Del., according to Amato and others who knew him.

Amato said Dell’Aquila returned to Royersford to help his ailing mother and a disabled brother. While there, he changed careers to become a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service where he worked for 10 years until his recent retirement.

He was born in nearby Pottstown, Pa., where he graduated in 1971 from St. Pius High School, according to a write-up prepared by family members.

“Franklin enjoyed music, loved to travel, and was an avid gardener, and enjoyed listening to Celtic music,” the write-up says.

Steve Elkins, executive director of CAMP Rehoboth, an LGBT community center in Rehoboth Beach, said he first met Dell’Aquila in the 1970s while Elkins worked at the White House during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and Dell’Aquila was assigned to the presidential detail with the Secret Service.

“I’ll never forget giving a friend a tour of the West Wing and seeing a silver haired agent, although he was in his early twenties, and finding out later it was Frank,” said Elkins.

Elkins said he and his partner, Murray Archibald, became good friends of Dell’Aquila’s when Elkins and Archibald moved to Rehoboth Beach and helped found CAMP Rehoboth.

“Frank was a long-time member of CAMP Rehoboth and a host of the annual Sundance Benefit,” said Elkins, who noted that Dell’Aquila became a regular weekend visitor to Rehoboth.

“We were all very lucky to have known him,” Amato said. “He was a great person, very generous and caring and a true friend. He had a lot of friends.”

Dell’Aquila is survived by his sister Diane Simon of North Wales, Pa.; a brother, John Dell’Aquila of Phoenixville, Pa.; several nieces and nephews; and many friends. Family members said a gift in his memory could be made to the ARC, a D.C.-based advocacy organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities at thearc.org.

A memorial celebration of Dell’Aquila’s life is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 8, at 4 p.m. at the Horizon House Condominium Community Room, 1300 Army Navy Dr., Arlington, Va. Amato, who’s hosting the event, asks that those planning to attend RSVP at 703-892-6286.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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