John Anthony Ficarra Jr.  was a former Franklin Square resident.

John Anthony Ficarra Jr.  was a former Franklin Square resident. Credit: Kim Bauer

John Anthony Ficarra Jr., a former Franklin Square resident who once owned a Manhattan printing company, was known for his keen sense of humor.

The New York City native and former U.S. Army reservist  — who relocated to Marco Island, Florida, more than two decades ago — died May 7 after contracting the coronavirus, his family said. He was 77.

Ficarra went into a Florida nursing home last fall while suffering from terminal liver disease before dying in a Naples hospital of underlying medical problems and COVID-19, said his eldest daughter, Franklin Square resident Lisa Hill.

Despite moving away a long time ago, the father of two and grandfather of four stayed close to his family on Long Island and “made us the center of his life,” said Hill, 54.

Ficarra grew up in Ozone Park and joined the Army reserves after high school before later working for Citibank, getting vocational training in visual arts and launching his own printing company, said his only sibling, Kathy Donovan, 73, of St. James.

In 1965, Ficarra married his first wife, Rosalie LoCasio, before the couple moved from Queens to Franklin Square while their two daughters were young, according to family.

Ficarra’s business, known as JAF Creative Marketing Services, was on Varick Street in Manhattan, Hill said.

Tragedy touched Ficarra’s life when Rosalie suffered a brain aneurysm in her early 40s and then was ill for several years until she died in 1994, his family said. That same year, Hill’s infant daughter, Erin, also died.

Ficarra soon moved to Florida and transitioned to working as a consultant.

“He loved being down there,” Hill said of her father’s relocation. “He needed to get away and start a new life.”

In Florida, Ficarra married his second wife, Greta Markowski, an optician he had met in New York who opened an optical boutique on Marco Island.

But Ficarra’s health declined after Greta died last year following a battle with cancer, his family said.

Ficarra’s youngest daughter, Kim Bauer, 48, of Massapequa, remembered her father as a funny, generous and talkative man who was always surprising her and her sister by bringing them little gifts, like bags of candy, when they were children.

Late in Ficarra’s life, his daughters returned that favor by sending him care packages at the nursing home that included cotton candy and potato chips — some of his favorite junk food.

The family said it is planning a memorial service for Ficarra in the future.

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