Frank Anthony Carolla, Jr., of Wheeling, WV, passed away Thursday, November 23, 2023 at age 65.
He was born January 28, 1958, in Uniontown, PA, a son of the late Frank Anthony Carolla, Sr. and Loretta Kovach Carolla. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Frank graduated in 1975 from Laurel Highlands High School in Uniontown. For several years, he played and sang in several Pittsburgh area bands and spent time traveling the country supporting the Joe Sante Orchestra as a member of a 14-piece swing band. Throughout his professional career, in addition to being a musician, he was active in restaurants and nightclubs, truck stops and travel centers, audio and video production, and real estate.
He was the retired founder and president of Carolla Ventures, Inc., an owner/operator of Perkins Restaurant and Bakery franchises in Wheeling and Moundsville, WV.
Community involvement and philanthropy was a hallmark of Frank’s personal business philosophy since opening the first restaurant in 2002. From the company’s inception to 2017, when the restaurants were sold, he supported numerous charitable causes donating over $1 million to local organizations and programs.
Frank was instrumental in breathing new life into the then-struggling Christmas parade held annually by the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce. For 12 years, his restaurants served as the title sponsor of the Perkins Restaurant and Bakery Fantasy in Lights Parade – one of the area’s premier holiday events, annually drawing over 10,000 people to downtown Wheeling.
From 1977-2002, he was vice president of Consolidated Truck Stops. With locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, Consolidated was a travel center company with full service fuel centers, convenience stores, and restaurants operating under the Citgo and Petro Stopping Center brands. While at Consolidated, Frank was a franchisee/owner of several food brands including Taco Bell, Sbarro and A&W All American Food. He also served as the vice president of the Smithton Truck Stop and as general manager and designer of the Brass Saddle lounge.
Frank was the owner of AlphStar Studios from 1986-1990, an audio and video production studio in McKeesport, PA.
He was a long-time member and benefactor of the Circus Saints and Sinners club, and was also a member of the Moundsville Rotary.
An avid scuba diver, Frank loved to spend time at his second home in St. John, US Virgin Islands. He enjoyed traveling, and for many years journeyed to numerous islands all over the Caribbean, exploring the sand and surf of some of the most famous destinations in the world.
He is survived by his longtime life partner and loving companion Donna Kalany of Wheeling, and a brother, Gary Carolla of New Jersey.
There will be no visitation. Memorial contributions may be made to the Circus Saints and Sinners Club, 1975 Louisa Avenue, Wheeling, WV 26003 or online at www.tmcfunding.com.
Expressions of sympathy and online condolences may be shared with the family at www.altmeyerfuneralhomes.com.