I am heartbroken at the loss of this incredibly kind, talented man. I owe the beauty and sound of my studios to Fran. I reached out to him first in 1998, when all I had was enough to open one room. He started the conversation by offering free advice, and then found a way to fit my budget and kickstart what would become 21 incredible years. I came back to him two more times - in 2004 and in 2017 - to continue expanding and refining my space in the Film Center. What an incredible tragedy this is. The world won't sound the same, and certainly won't look as cool without him in it. My heart goes out to his whole family. 💔
Friends, colleagues, and the rest of the FM Design family—
Doreen Manzella, Sam Manzella, and Missy Manzella here. It’s with the heaviest of hearts that we’re writing this message. Francis passed away suddenly this past Sunday. It was completely unexpected, a routine surgery gone tragically wrong. But Fran was as comfortable as could be and surrounded with love the entire weekend. We all got to say our goodbyes.
We know how deeply loved and respected Fran was among his colleagues, music industry peers, and friends, many of whom feel like family to us. We also know how much joy he derived from music, recording studios, and everyone he befriended through his work. Having a passion like Fran had is a special thing. Being able to turn that passion into a career—and foster so many other music lovers’ careers in the process—is even more special.
His professional accomplishments aside, Fran was the most loving and compassionate brother, father, and husband imaginable. He also cared deeply about social justice. Uplifting marginalized voices and advocating for progressive reform meant the world to him. Instead of donating to us directly, we ask that anyone looking to make a donation in Fran’s name give to Fair Fight (https://fairfight.com/), a Georgia-based advocacy group that fights voter suppression nationwide; Black Visions Collective (https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/), a Minnesota-based group for Black liberation; or Save the Music Foundation (https://www.savethemusic.org/), a nonprofit that ensures every child has access to music education in school.
We know how much of an impact Fran made on everyone he met. We hope you’ll join us in honoring his creativity, his generosity, and of course, his beautiful contributions to the world of music. As Fran would say, “Go race car!”
❤️ Doreen, Sami, and Missy