BY ASHA MAHADEVAN
BACKGROUND: Patty DeCiccio-Franke, 60, was born and raised in Astoria. She moved to Bellerose with her husband George in 1981. She loves the fact that Queens is as diverse as it is, and that its neighborhoods are like small towns with each one having its own feel. She thinks it is amazing that one can live around the world in just this borough.
OCCUPATION: DeCiccio-Franke is the owner of Heart of the Party, a custom party store at 247-69 Jericho Turnpike in Bellerose. It was formerly known as Mr. Ribbon Too and she opened it 12 years ago.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: The Oratorio Society of Queens (OSQ) was founded in 1927 and claims to be the oldest performing cultural organization in the borough. It is completely run by volunteers who pay membership dues. Its aim is to give singers in the community the chance to rehearse and perform, while sharing their love for classical choral music. DeCiccio-Franke joined the OSQ in 1997 as being in retail was stressing her out. The alto singer intended to stay for six months, but instead is still going strong after 17 years. During her tenure as president between 2003 and 2013, OSQ made great strides in membership and in attracting public and private funding. In her current role as a board member, her main duties revolve around fundraising. She also mentors some of the high school students who join the OSQ as student interns.
GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: “I have two accomplishments,” DeCiccio-Franke said. “One, staying a viable independent business owner in a big box economy. Two, being a part of OSQ. They let me be a part of OSQ, voted me to be for all these years.”
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Staying relatively positive in a not-so-positive world,” she said. “Things happen every day, life changes in ways you can’t imagine. You have to keep on going.”
INSPIRATION: “So many people have inspired me,” she said. “My mom taught me to get on with your life, to just keep doing it. My father, his death when I was very young, taught me that life is fleeting. You never know what’s going to happen. Don’t take anything for granted and I am grateful for what I have.”
- Star of Queens: Rodney Dutton, volunteer, South Asian Center of Urban Nations Outreach
- Star of Queens: Vedesh Persaud, vice chairperson of the board of directors, Indo-Caribbean Alliance
- Star of Queens: Roger Gendron, president, Hamilton Beach Civic Association