Ferruccio (Fred) Modugno was born in Trieste, Italy to parents Fulvio Modugno and Anna Solaro. He attended schools in Trieste through high school, which was a school that was a specialized maritime academy. Ferruccio came to the U.S. as a high school exchange student, living with the Van Heel Family on the southside of Chicago for one year. He loved the United States—the culture and lifestyle, natural beauty, politics and American girls. He became “Fred” because of the difficulty for Americans to pronounce his name. Fred returned to Italy and finished his last year of high school, completing his studies in the deck department so that he could go up through the ranks and someday become a ship’s captain. He began to sail on ships as a cadet but continued to dream of returning to the United States as a college student. That dream became a reality when an American high school friend sent him a telegram that Fred had been enrolled at a small Jesuit university, Lewis University, in Joliet, Illinois. He begn with a one-year foreign-student scholarship and lived as one of four roommates sharing an off-campus apartment. He felt he had arrived!
While at Lewis, Fred met and married his first wife, Mary. Upon graduation, they returned to Italy for a vacation, but while there he was drafted by the Italian military. He spent two years at his parents’ home in Trieste, serving his military obligation in the Italian Coast Guard nearby. Upon completion, broke and without a home of their own, Fred began to sail on ships again, this time as a third officer for Chevron Shipping Company. He sailed for a few years and then requested a transfer to the home office in San Francisco. Fred had to start as an internal mail delivery person to “prove” himself and then was able to soon transition into professional marine transportation positions. He was divorced from Mary in 1982 and spent a couple of years single. He began to date and court Jeanne Scott, a friend and colleague at Chevron Shipping Company. They married in 1986 and enjoyed 34 years together.
Fred became ill with a rare lymphoma, Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia, in 2001. He went through ten months of chemotherapy and beat the disease. In 2005, after 30 years with Chevron Shipping, Fred decided it was time to retire and enjoy life without work. After a celebratory vacation to Provence, France with numerous family and friends, he fully embraced retirement with zeal. He played a lot of tennis, did lap swimming, and the most enduring hobby was hiking—all over Marin County and beyond with two hiking groups, mostly ladies, for many years. He loved lengthy driving trips, including one to Alaska. In 2017 Jeanne joined him in retirement, this time hosting and celebrating with family and friends in Tuscany. Unfortunately, in September 2018 Fred once again was diagnosed with a blood cancer, this time Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). He endured many rounds of various chemotherapy infusions and countless blood transfusions, receiving superb treatment from both Marin Cancer Care (Dr. Jennifer Lucas) and UCSF Hematology (Dr. Peter Sayre). Fred was described by Dr. Sayre as “robust.” He was fondly described by Jeanne’s sisters as “sturdy.” He put in a courageous effort to once again beat the odds, but the AML began to take down the sturdy man in late August. Fred decided on Sept. 11 to stop treatment, accepted hospice services, and died the very next day, on Sept. 12. He is survived by his wife, Jeanne, his sister, Daniela, of Trieste, Italy and many close friends in Italy and the U.S., from elementary school, middle school, high school and college, his work life at Chevron and beyond. Fred loved his dozens of cousins and relatives scattered around the world, his sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, and was immensely proud of his numerous nieces, nephews and godchildren. He seemingly kept in touch with everyone, loyal and committed to each person in his life. Jeanne is grateful for the life they built together and for the contact from so many people both before and after Fred’s death. There may be a Celebration of Life at some later date if the Covid19 pandemic allows.
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