On Friday, January 8, 2021, John J. Franco loving husband, father, and grandfather passed away at age 76. John was born on July 24, 1944 to the late Saverio and Josephine Franco in Greenwich. He grew up in Cos Cob and attended Greenwich schools graduating from Greenwich High School in 1963 where he developed his lifelong love of football during his 4 years playing for the Greenwich Cardinals.
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John pursued his BA and MBA degrees from the University of Bridgeport quickly focusing his energy and talent in pursuit of a successful career in executive leadership. John joined Xerox Learning Systems in 1972 as a product manager holding marketing positions of increasing responsibility before serving six years as vice president and general manager of U. S. operations. He was appointed president and chief executive officer in 1983 and led the company through a dramatic period of growth over the following decade. Under John’s leadership, the small start up business grew to become a worldwide leader in corporate training and development with a remarkable list of Fortune 500 clients and operations in more than 30 countries. In 1992, as CEO, he brought his unique management skills to Learning International. Following his career at Learning International, John found his passion as a strategic business consultant and executive coach at Vistage Worldwide, Inc. He served as a Vistage Chair sharing his knowledge and experience with senior executives of small and mid-size businesses. John was admired by colleagues and clients and known as a patient and thoughtful leader.
In addition, John was a board member of BlessingWhite Inc. for 11 years; Hampford Research Inc. and Preservation Trust in Greenwich.
Before grandchildren became his obsession, John enjoyed losing golf balls in the pursuit of perfecting his golf game. While a member of Burning Tree Country Club he achieved his hole in one. Recently, he continued playing golf at Silvermine Golf Club.
When the course was not frustrating him, Pop could be found as a fixture on the sidelines of ice rinks, playing fields and pools with his grandchildren.
John is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Diane; his two daughters, Jill Franco(Bill Adams) of New Milford and Kristi Byrne(Joe) of Ridgefield; five grandchildren whom he adored; Willa, Harper, and Sam Adams, Caitlin and Austin Byrne; brother Dominick(Rosemarie) and nephews Dominick(Jessica) and Jonathan(Poliana).
Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated 10:00 on Thursday, January 14 at
St. Catherine’s/St. Agnes, 4 Riverside Ave. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, donations in John’s name can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or a charity of your choice.