Surrounded by his loving family, Frank Clark Di Luzio Jr., 66, died on June 2, 2021, of a rare, occupation-related non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Santa Fe lost a true hero and public servant. Frank led an exemplary life of service to the community and his fellow citizens.
Frank was a paramedic and firefighter in Albuquerque, Rio Arriba County and Santa Fe for more than 25 years and served as the City of Santa Fe Fire Chief from 1994 to 2000. A generation of Santa Fe’s firefighters and paramedics know him as their leader, mentor, father figure and a shining example of what it means to be selfless.
Frank became Santa Fe’s first and only paramedic when the fire department took over Emergency Management Services (EMS) from a private ambulance company in 1979, when there was only one ambulance for all of Santa Fe County. He was the first EMS instructor for the Santa Fe Fire Department and trained the many first responders who followed in his footsteps.
As Fire Chief, Frank is remembered as a caring and empathetic leader. Those who worked with him have many stories about how he helped them overcome challenges, not just professionally but personally.
Frank was a classic early-adopter, embracing change and innovation. He ensured that as the Santa Fe community grew, its fire department always operated at the highest standards of excellence. He was keenly focused on safety and training and assisted in establishing the fire science program at Santa Fe Community College, which was one of the catalysts for the development of the Santa Fe College Institute of Public Safety.
Santa Fe City Council tapped Frank for his leadership skills, naming him City Manager in 2000, the first person from Santa Fe’s public safety sector to serve in that role.
After he retired from the City of Santa Fe, Frank continued to devote his efforts to helping the citizens of New Mexico and Santa Fe.
Early in his retirement, Frank helped enact a new law in New Mexico, NM Statute 52-3-32.1, legislation that recognized the occupational diseases suffered by firefighters and ensured their treatment would be covered by worker’s compensation.
In the wake of the Cerro Grande fire in 2000, Frank worked for FEMA processing claims for those affected by the disaster.
In 2003, Frank joined the board of St. Vincent Hospital, ultimately serving two terms.
That same year, he was asked by the Santa Fe United Way to implement the 211 Info-Helpline. When that project was successfully completed, he was appointed Vice President of Community Impact, a position he held until 2008.
From 2008 to 2013, Frank served as Bureau Chief for Employee Relations for the New Mexico Children, Youth & Families Department.
Even after he contracted cancer, Frank continued to help others by volunteering at the Kitchen Angels program whenever he had the energy. He also volunteered with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network.
Frank was a proud member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Fire Protection Association and graduated from the Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy. He held a
Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from the College of Santa Fe.
The only thing more important to Frank than the well-being of the community was his beloved family (which always included a variety of dogs from local shelters.)
Frank was born in Los Alamos, grew up in New Mexico, Washington, D.C., and Nevada. He was the son of Frank Candido Di Luzio and Phyllis Margaret Krejci. Frank Sr. was also a public servant and worked on the Manhattan project, became the manager of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and served as the Assistant Secretary of the Interior Department. Frank’s parents and his beloved sister, Joan Acocella, predeceased him.
He dearly loved his surviving family:
Janet Pate Di Luzio, who he met during her 20 years as an emergency department nurse in Santa Fe.
His two daughters and their families: Heather Di Luzio, John Butcher and their daughter Katie; Talia and Douglas “Dj” Burchfield and their children Aspen and Whitney.
His brothers-in-law Christopher Rocca and David Rosen.
His nieces and nephews: Frank and his wife Lindsay, Dawn, Robyn and Jeanna Acocella -- and all their children.
His father-in-law, James Pate and his wife Cheryl.
Janet Di Luzio and the Santa Fe Fire Department will host a memorial service at a later time. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Frank’s memory to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Kitchen Angels or the Española Humane animal shelter.