American Veteran 01

Francis Michael Crinella

December 22, 1936 ~ October 24, 2019 (age 82)


In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Children’s School at  If doing so, please indicate your gift is for The Francis M. Crinella Fund in the optional “Note” field.  Donations can also be received at the corporate office:

The Francis M. Crinella Fund at The Children’s School

2424 SE Bristol Street, Suite 300

Newport Beach, CA 92660

c/o David Allison, President.


Crinella, Francis Michael "Frank", passed away peacefully on October 24, 2019, at his home in Costa Mesa. He was 82 years old.  Frank is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Terrie K. Crinella (Lynd); daughters, Ramona C. (Mark) Nizibian, Christina C. (Patrick) Waters; sons, Marino Peter (Kristen), Andrew M. (Margaret), and 11 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his baby boy, Francis M. Crinella, Jr. (1963) and daughter Gina T. Crinella (1982).


Frank was born on December 22, 1936, in Petaluma, California, to Marino and Marian Crinella.  He enjoyed a wonderful childhood in Petaluma, hunting and fishing with his father, learning to cook from his grandmother, playing the piano for his mother, and developing friendships that would last the rest of his life.


Frank graduated from St. Vincent’s High School as a proud member of the remarkable Class of 1954.  He attended the University of Notre Dame where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1958.  While Frank studied under any number of outstanding professors while at Notre Dame, he took the most pride in the simple, hand-crafted weightlifting medals he received from Rev. Bernard H. B. Lange, C.S.C.  During his years in South Bend, Frank began many life-long friendships.


While at Notre Dame he also met Terrie K. Lynd, a resident of nearby Niles, Michigan. Two years later, Frank and Terrie were married, beginning their life together in San Francisco where Frank was attending graduate school at San Francisco State College.  Frank received a Masters in Clinical Psychology in 1962.  That same year, he went on active duty in the United States Air Force.  For the next three plus years, Frank served as an officer assigned to David Grant USAF Hospital, Travis AFB.  In 1966, he was honorably discharged from the Air Force with the rank of Captain.


Frank then began further graduate studies at Louisiana State University, and in 1969 was awarded a Ph.D. in Neuropsychology. He returned with his family to Petaluma to begin his career as a psychologist.  For the next seven years he built a private practice, while also serving as Senior Psychologist at Sonoma State Hospital. All the while, Frank and Terrie raised a family of five children.


In 1977, Frank accepted the position of Director (Chief Executive Officer) at Fairview State Hospital in Costa Mesa, California.  Over the next eight years, Frank’s compassionate leadership led to progressive changes at Fairview designed to enhance the life-experience of its residents and facilitate their integration into the community.  At the same time, Frank began his long association with the University of California, Irvine.  From 1982 to 2018, Frank taught and counseled a long line of graduate students as a Clinical Professor at UC Irvine, and he took great pride in the post-degree accomplishments of his former students.


In 1985, Frank left Fairview to become Director of the California State Developmental Research Institutes.  In that capacity, he participated in, and fostered, research related to brain development and disfunction.  In 1993, he became Director of Neuropsychology Laboratory, Child Development Center Department of Pediatrics at UC Irvine.  For the remainder of this life, Frank dedicated much of his time and energy to Child Development Center, and by doing so helped countless children and their parents to experience richer and more productive lives.  Indeed, Frank’s long and productive career in social services and education reflected a world view shaped by his strong Catholic upbringing which dictates that a society is best measured by how it treats the least of its citizens.


Frank’s life was certainly not limited to his work.  While he had many interests and hobbies, including cooking, gardening, and the Anaheim (he didn’t like to call them Los Angeles) Angels, he was most happy when he was golfing.  Frank enjoyed a long and successful career as an amateur golfer and was most proud of winning the Club Championship at Irvine Coast Country Club in 1980 and qualifying for the United States Amateur Championship in 1991. He had great success in club tournaments throughout Southern California and played consistently in regional and state amateur events.  For the past 35 years he was a member of Mesa Verde Country Club where he could be counted on to play each weekend with his set foursomes, while afterwards holding court and enjoying the company of everyone in the men’s grill.  Most of all, however, Frank enjoyed playing golf with his children and grandchildren; never missing an opportunity to give them advice on their swing or golf course management. 


With the help of his good and wise wife, Terrie, Frank raised five children and was the loving grandfather to 11 grandchildren.  Never wielding a heavy hand, Frank instead provided his children and grandchildren with steady guidance in their education, career choices, and life decisions.  In doing so, he always let them know that he would love them and be proud of them no matter their decisions.  Frank built close friendships from all facets of his life.  He was a fantastic storyteller and possessed a keen sense of humor.  As such, he was a welcomed guest at any function, from a small dinner party to a banquet.    


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Francis Michael Crinella, please visit our floral store.


Funeral Mass
October 30, 2019

11:00 AM
Saint John the Baptist Church
1015 Baker Street
Costa Mesa, California 92626

Private Interment

Calvary Catholic Cemetery
304 Magnolia Ave.
Petaluma, CA 94952

© 2020 Brown Colonial Mortuary. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA