Frank Michael Nappi Sr.

GORHAM – On Jan. 6, 2020, Frank Michael Nappi Sr., chairman and cofounder of Nappi Distributors, passed away in Gorham, a few weeks shy of his 87th birthday.

Frank was born in Portland on Feb. 1, 1933 to Giovanni “John” and Lucrezia (Montecalvo) Nappi, the twelfth of 15 children. With his late brothers, Sam and Nick, Frank began working at a young age for the beer distributorship their father established in 1933.

The three started Nappi Distributors in 1959 in a small warehouse on Forest Avenue. Today, Nappi Distributors employs approximately 200 people and operates out of a 155,000 square foot facility in Gorham. It is one of Maine’s largest beer and wine wholesalers with a southern Maine territory. Frank was also a partner in Fore Street Associates and Maine Beverage Recycling.

He loved to share stories of Nappi Distributors challenging early days and would talk about the “country run” he’d make up Route 302 trying to sell a car full of beer. He’d explain that the beer brands they sold at the time weren’t the most popular and he often felt he couldn’t give it away.

He’d sometimes meet up with Bill Bourque, founder of the former Cumberland and York Distributors, who was also trying to sell beer in the same area. If they were having a hard time making sales, they’d decide to go fishing instead. With no employees, other than his brothers, Frank loaded trucks, drove the routes, delivered wooden barrels and even fixed the trucks.

Growing up on a farm in Yarmouth, Frank gained his life-long love of cooking from his mother, learning how to perfect her Italian “peasant food.” His culinary creations later expanded to include dishes like baked, stuffed lobster, which he enjoyed making for others on special occasions.

As a young man, Frank’s hobbies included drawing and photography, a passion he shared with his son, Frank Jr. He later turned his creative talents to carpentry, making unique tables from antique windows as well as building his beloved home on Forest Lake in Gray. He also discovered a love of cars, collecting old T-birds and restoring a 1941 Cadillac Fleetwood.

Shortly after serving in the U.S. Army, Frank married Sally Walsh to whom he was married for 47 years until her death in 2003. They had two children, Frank Jr. and Francesca “Frannie”.

Frank had a unique sense of humor and he liked to make people laugh, often at themselves. His Deering High School classmates even voted him Class Wit. He was known for his big heart, and was always willing to help his family and friends, and he was a generous supporter of many local organizations, including Boys and Girls Club, St. Peter’s Catholic Church and Maine Special Olympics, in which his daughter, Frannie, participated.

One of the things he enjoyed about his work was the social aspect and the occasional round of golf with his customers, his brothers and his good friends, including the late Red Breggia. Whenever Red and Frank got together there were always stories of Portland that painted vivid pictures of long-gone 1950s clubs and lounges.

After stepping back from day-to-day management of Nappi Distributors, Frank and his longtime partner, Carol Johnson, traveled and split their time between Gray, Maine and North Palm Beach. Fla. He enjoyed spending time with the extended Johnson family, whether traveling together or having a cookout at the lake.

Frank is predeceased by his parents; his wife, Sally; and his siblings, Sam, Nick, Tony, Michael, John, Chris, Mary, Albert, Carroll; and many dear friends.

He is survived by his son, Frank Jr. and daughter-in-law, Venus of Gorham, his daughter, Frannie of Gorham; granddaughters, Leanna, Gabrielle and Nicole; great-granddaughters, Elexis, Emma, Mary, McKenzie and Kloey-Ann; sisters, Lucy and Rose, brothers, Sava, Joey and Philip; and partner, Carol Johnson.

Visiting hours will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, at Jones, Rich & Barnes Funeral Home, 199 Woodfords St., Portland, where a funeral service will follow immediately at 2 p.m. Burial will be held in the spring.

Please visit to sign Frank’s online guest book.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift in Frank’s memory to

Special Olympics Maine

125 John Roberts Rd.

South Portland, ME 04106

or online at