It is with great sadness that the family of Franco Paul Juricic announces that he has passed away after a 2nd battle with pancreatic cancer. Franco entered the nearer presence of God on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at the age of the 52. Franco will be forever loved and remembered by his wife and best friend Jacquelyn, and their two children, Ana and Noah, his mother Maria and brother, Edi. Franco will also be forever remembered by his cousins, niece and nephew, extended family and dear friends.
In the fall of 2008 Franco was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Although a relatively rare cancer, there was only a 6% five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer at the time Franco was first diagnosed. Franco underwent a successful surgery to remove the cancer, and always considered himself blessed to have caught the disease early at a stage, where surgery was an option. Very sadly, Franco lost his beloved father Bruno to pancreatic cancer 4 years later. Franco became active in the North Jersey chapter of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCan), dedicating his life to advocacy and bringing attention and awareness to this lethal cancer. As part of his advocacy Franco led committees and efforts focused on bringing pancreatic cancer education to the public and healthcare professionals, directing advocacy efforts and fostering caregiver and survivor engagement. Franco said, “It gave me purpose and perspective on life. It has become one of the best things to ever happen to me. I wake up ever day, and I feel most blessed. I would not trade places with anybody.”
Franco’s calling to give back to others eventually led him to a career in the ministry, and he graduated from the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, with a Master of Divinity, in 2017. After a 25 year career, Franco retired from Merck in 2018 to devote himself full-time to pastoral care, at one point spending time as the chaplain at Robert Wood Johnson, the same hospital where he underwent his 2008 surgery and chemotherapy treatment. Most recently, Franco was serving as Pastor of the Reformed Church of Highland Park, and as President of the Classis of New Brunswick, Reformed Church in America, where he was fed with the Spirit and led his church family with grace and thanksgiving in his heart.
Franco got a purple tattoo of the words “Wage Hope” (PanCan’s logo), which was a sentiment that he whole heartedly embodied. This recurrence of cancer was sudden and unexpected, but his family and friends remain dedicated to waging hope on behalf of Franco and all of those who have been affected by Pancreatic Cancer.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Specifically, there is a team “Friends of Franco” that has been initiated for an upcoming PanCan Purple Stride fundraiser in NYC, where you can make a donation in memory of Franco and/or consider joining the team http://support.pancan.org/site/TR?fr_id=1682&pg=team&team_id=18359
Viewing services are Friday, March 8, 2019 at the Reformed Church of Highland Park, 19 S 2nd Ave Highland Park, NJ from 2 - 4 pm and 7 - 9 pm The funeral service to celebrate Franco’s life will be on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 11am in the Voorhees Chapel, 5 Chapel Drive, New Brunswick, NJ. Parking is limited at the Chapel, but there is a parking within a 10-minute walk nearby. Guests must park behind the Douglass Student Center in the Parking Deck and adjacent Parking Lot 70 on Lipman Drive.