Frank Ceruzzi, 96, of North Myrtle Beach died on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, at home with his family at his side.
Born on Jan. 20, 1923, in Port Chester, N.Y., he was the son of the late Mario and Nicolina Spira Ceruzzi.
He is best known in the Myrtle Beach community as the first CEO of Grand Strand Regional Medical Center. He managed the transition from Ocean View Hospital in 1976 and served as CEO until 1987.
Throughout his years in hospital administration, he had a reputation for a positive and caring attitude towards his employees and patients. His career in hospital administration spanned 32 years, beginning at Davie County Hospital in Fuquay Varina, N.C. He served 10 years as CEO of Cape Fear Hospital in Fayetteville, N.C., ending in 1971. He then joined the Hospital Corporation of America to manage Broadway Hospital in Vallejo, Calif., and was transferred to Myrtle Beach in 1976. The experience of opening a new world-class hospital for the Grand Strand was a highlight of his career. Frank was greatly appreciative of the support from the Myrtle Beach community and became well known and respected for a successful opening. Upon his retirement in 1987, he continued to remain active in the community. In 2006 he received a recognition for his work on the board of the Coastal Samaritan Counseling Center.
Frank served as a Marine in World War II from 1941 to 1945. He was stationed in the South Pacific on the island of Guadalcanal. Upon his honorable discharge, he went on to earn both an undergraduate and graduate degree.
Frank was a graduate of East Carolina University and was an avid Pirate fan. He treasured his many friendships at the school and contributed to the school, both with his time and financially. He received numerous awards for his dedication and support of his alma mater, including the Distinguished Service Award in 2003 and induction into the Leo Jenkins Society in 2007.
It was “love at first sight” when Frank met Edna S. Squires at East Carolina, and they were married in her hometown of Kelly, N.C., in 1952. They remained happily married until her death in 1998. Frank was known as a devoted husband and loving, supportive father.
Frank was an avid amateur photographer and was passionate capturing the beauty that he saw during his extensive travels and chronicling his children and extending family. A natural athlete, he was an excellent amateur golfer and enjoyed the friendship of his fellow golfers. A sunny optimist, Frank was known as “a kid at heart.” Even in the twilight of his life, he could be seen playing ball on the beach with kids.
He was a very lucky man when he met Gracie Williams of North Myrtle Beach, as he was able to find true love once again. They were married in August 2009. They enjoyed traveling together, attending ECU football games and being an active part of the North Myrtle Beach community and our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church. Developing dementia in his later years his good fortune continued as he was lovingly and tirelessly cared for by Gracie and her son Jeremy along with Vicky Trapp, his caregiver. He remained a happy, friendly and loving person.
Frank is survived by his two children and his wife, Gracie, and her son Jeremy. Brenda, his daughter, is married to Tommy Siniard and lives in Decatur, Ala. His son Louis lives in Atlanta, Ga.
A funeral mass was celebrated at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8, at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church in North Myrtle Beach. He will be inurned next to his first wife, Edna, at a later date in Squires Cemetery in Atkinson, N.C.
A guest book is available at www.leefhandcrematory.com.
Lee Funeral Home & Crematory of Little River/North Myrtle Beach is serving the family.