Dr. Frank W. DiChiara Obituary

Dr. Frank W. DiChiara was born in Providence, RI on August 21, 1929. He was the son of the late Salvatore and Mary (Aceto) DiChiara. He was the beloved husband of Esther (Bontempo) DiChiara for 62 years until her passing in December 2021.

He graduated from LaSalle Academy, completed his pre-med courses at Providence College, and is a graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, now Salus University. He did an internship at Rhode Island Hospital, ophthalmology section.

He served in the military and was assigned to the Colorado Eye Clinic, Fort Carson Military Hospital, where he was instrumental in examining over five thousand soldiers. He then served at the eye clinic in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

He began his practice of optometry in April 1956, which is now Garden City Eye Care in Cranston, Rhode Island. In 1959, he became director of the Rhode Island Association for the Blind’s low vision clinic, now called In-Sight. He ran the clinic for thirty years. He has written several articles on low vision and given numerous conferences on low vision across the United States. On a twentieth anniversary of the clinic, he chaired a two-day low vision program and had speakers from across the country. It brought together doctors, assistants and auxiliary personnel in the field of low vision as well as patients.

Dr. Dichiara became a member of the American Academy of Optometry in 1970 and graduated in low vision in 1980. He was the first low vision diplomat in Rhode Island and the twenty-seventh in the United States. He renewed his degree every five years until he was granted emeritus status in 2005.

He has served as President of the RI Optometric Association, Chairman of the Board of Examiners and Licensing of RI in Optometry, and a member of the Medical Licensing Board of RI’s Motor Vehicle Division. He chaired the Education Committee of the RI Optometric Association for many years, introducing many innovative ideas and procedures to the profession.

He was twice honored by his colleagues with the Optometrist of the Year Award in 1980 for his many contributions to the profession and the Distinguished Service Award in 1987, the highest honor given by the Association to the ‘era. He was named Alumni of the Year by the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1998. In 2007, the Rhode Island Optometric Association presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. DiChiara. He was the first doctor to receive this most prestigious award in more than a hundred years

Dr. DiChiara helped Dr. William Padula of Connecticut establish a low vision section of the American Optometric Association, which he later chaired. He contributed to the production of a manual on low vision. In 1998, he received the Section’s highest honour, the Low Vision Care Award.

Dr. DiChiara practiced in Cranston, RI for nearly sixty years, until his retirement at age 83.

Dr. DiChiara served on the board of Big Brothers of Rhode Island for twenty years and they honored him with the Humanitarian Award in 2004. He was a member of numerous cultural and civic organizations. He was in the Boy Scouts for almost ten years, achieving Life rank and completing all twenty-one merit badges for Eagle. He was a member of the Clavis Cultural Club, a member of the City Hall Athletic Club, a member of St. Mary’s Feast Society, president of the School Guild, and president of Renaissance Lodge. He was a member of the Footlight Players and appeared in plays such as Arsenic and Old Lace. He was a member of the Alpine Country Club and a member of the Rally Point Tennis Club, where he chaired a charity for the Heart Association. He was president of the Mount Pleasant Lions Club where he was able to obtain over a million dollars worth of new eyeglass frames and donated them to Dr. Modi who ran a free eye clinic in India. Although they never met, they became friends through correspondence and by telephone.

He enjoyed playing tennis and golf for many years. He retired from tennis at 75 and from golf at 85. He also enjoyed playing cards and taught his two granddaughters to play bridge. He also played chess and taught his son and grandson how to play. They both managed to beat Papa. I guess he was a good teacher. He spent a lot of time working with wood and made many towel racks, paper towel holders, shoe polish boxes, coat racks and magazine racks and gave them all to his friends. There’s one thing he really loved to do and that was dancing. He danced for over seventy years and when Cha-Cha became popular he taught many how to dance. When the TV show “Dancing with the Stars” came out, it became her and Esther’s favorite show.

Although he was encouraged to write a book on low vision, his specialty for fifty-four years, it was not until the age of ninety that he decided to compile a book on low vision. He managed to bring together eleven colleagues and other professionals specializing in low vision and compiled a book called “Rehabilitation for the Visually Impaired”.

He was an icon in the field of optometry and continued to contribute to his profession every day of his life.

He is survived by his daughter Dr. Louise DiChiara Pastore and his son Frank W. DiChiara and his wife Elaine. He was the father of his three grandchildren, Elena Anne Pastore, Christina Chiara Pastore and Peter Thomas Pastore III, with whom he had a special relationship, a relationship he enjoyed for many years. He was the father-in-law of the late Cranston City Council Speaker, Peter T. Pastore, Jr. He was also predeceased by his siblings, Michael, Peter and Anthony DiChiara and Angela Maccarone. He leaves several nieces and nephews whom he loved very much.

Funeral service at NARDOLILLO FUNERAL HOME & Crematory, 1278 Park Ave., Cranston on Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. followed by a Christian burial mass at 10:00 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church, Cranston. Entombment will follow at Sts. Peter and Paul Mausoleum in St. Ann’s Cemetery, Cranston. VISITING HOURS will be on Mondays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: IN-SIGHT, 43 Jefferson Blvd., Warwick, RI 02888. Visit NardolilloFH.com for online condolences.

Posted on April 01, 2022

Posted in Providence Journal

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