The Life of Mary Elizabeth Franko

Mary Elizabeth “Libby” O’Boyle Franko

On Christmas Eve, 2022, Libby died suddenly and unexpectedly at her home in Alexandria, VA.  A long-time resident of the city, her passing—no doubt—will leave a void in the hearts of many.

Libby is survived by her husband, Dennis Franko, Sr., daughter Hart Elizabeth and son-in-law Nico Neam of Alexandria, daughter in-law Amy Gorman Franko of Alexandria, grandsons Nicolas Neam and Declan Franko, brother John and his wife Maureen of Marlton, NJ, sister Judy and her husband Joseph Slivka of Allentown, PA, sister Kate and her wife Charlene Riling of Hillsborough, NC, and an extended family of nieces, a nephew, great-nieces, and great-nephews.  She was pre-deceased by her parents, John and Grace Hart O’Boyle, and her two sons, Sean and Dennis, Jr.

Born in Philadelphia in 1951, Libby was raised in Bethlehem, PA. She graduated from SS. Simon and Jude School and St. Francis Academy in Bethlehem, PA. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Food and Nutrition from Marywood University in Scranton, PA. It was there she met the love of her life, Dennis Franko, who attended the University of Scranton. In 1974, a year after their college graduations, they married and moved to the metropolitan DC area, first to Beltsville, MD, then to Woodbridge, VA, finally establishing their forever home in Alexandria, VA.              

Libby was a devoted and loving wife and mother. An ever-present figure, she supported her children’s many and diverse activities, whether it was music lessons, dance class, or sporting events, and encouraged each child to try new things and embrace life’s adventures. You could always see Libby’s presence at every concert, science fair, dance recital, and sporting event.

When the children were of school age, she began a new challenge: her career with the Federal Government. First serving as a clerk typist, Libby was quickly promoted to writer/editor for Topic Magazine at the Voice of America. When the Voice of America merged with the State Department, she became Program Manager for Fulbright Scholarships to South America. Her final position with the State Department was Program Analyst of Educational Programs. Throughout her professional career, she was able to travel extensively throughout Central and South America, Africa, and Europe. Upon retirement, she focused her attention on her grandsons. Declan would always comment that “Mamu” knew every family in Alexandria. When Nicolas was born in 2020, she watched him until he began preschool, instilling in him a love of books and learning.

Libby had numerous outside interests. She enjoyed traveling both in the United States and abroad. She eagerly looked forward to her annual summer family vacations to “Camp Judy” and the Outer Banks of NC. She enjoyed tagging along on her husband’s golf outings where she would always find the best shops, hiking trails, and spas.  She loved walking around Rosemont and Old Town with her daughter, sisters, nieces, and close friends. She enjoyed dabbling in artistic endeavors—piano, quilting, sewing, and crochet. Libby loved birthday celebrations and always made sure to bake your favorite cake for the occasion. She was on the Advisory Board for Special Education in the Alexandria Public Schools, a member of the Encore Chorale of Alexandria, a member of the Christ Child Society, and a member of the Basilica of St. Mary Parish Family.

Family and friends are invited to celebrate Libby’s life on Friday, January 6, 2023, calling hours 4:30-7:00 p.m. at the Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home, 1500 W. Braddock Rd, Alexandria with a Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, January 7, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. at The Basilica of St. Mary, 310 S. Royal Street, Alexandria. Burial at Ivy Hill Cemetery, 2823 King Street, Alexandria, immediately following the mass.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations either to the Muscular Dystrophy Association ( or the John Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center to support sarcoma research ( 

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