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Central High School Philadelphia 214th Class
Jim DeFrancesco

    James DeFrancesco



Remember the photo of Jim hanging off the Barnwell Library balcony railing...no, see below. Jim was a radio celebrity, writer and general bon vivant, living on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. A dynamic communications professional, Jim De Francesco was also a News Anchor and Feature Producer for WOBM-FM in Ocean County, A Feature Correspondent with the SandPaper and Leader Newspapers, Jim was also  Executive Producer of Hogpenny Studios on Long Beach Island, producing commercials and documentaries for the Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey markets. Jim served as Media and Community Relations Officer for Dover Township in Toms River. Jim majored in journalism and broadcasting at Temple University, and in motion picture production at the Philadelphia College of Art. At one point Jim was a staff member of several Philadelphia stations as an announcer, broadcast news reporter and on-air personality. He was also a Command Public Affairs Officer with the Defense Department for 34 years where he conducted national executive seminars in media relations and television interview techniques for the Defense Logistics Agency in Washington. Never far from the arts, De Francesco also created numerous film and video productions over four decades, including "It's the Real Thing," which went on to win the Bronze Palm award at the Young Filmmakers Festival in Berlin, Germany. Jim's professional Theater credits include appearances as the Constable in Fiddler On the Roof, Billis in South Pacific, Pseudelous the Slave in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Detective Brannigan in Guys and Dolls, Fagin in Oliver, and has twice portrayed a powerful Wicked Witch of the West in Frank Baum's classic The Wizard of Oz. Jim had an enthusiastic interest in community involvement, having served as a Scout Executive and Media Relations coordinator with numerous civic organizations. An avid Scouter. Jim served as Coordinator for the Frontier Boy Scout District (Philadelphia Council), Vice-Chief of Unami Lodge (Order of the Arrow), Coordinator of Youth Activities at Fellowship House and Media/Community Relations Officer for several Ocean County Emergency service organizations. Jim resided six miles at sea at his barrier island home, "The HogPenny" on Long Beach Island off  the coast of  New Jersey. Jim is survived by his loving wife, Ellie and a daughter, Danielle Nicole, who is a theatrical scenic artist with Barnum's Kaleidoscape and Off-Broadway stage manager, and a son, James Bonner, Backstage Manager aboard Carnival Cruise Lines, and whose technical motion picture production credits include serving as Key Grip and Best Boy on several independent feature films.


Jim DeFrancesco was totally involved in the Performing Arts. His Hogpenny Studios began in 1975 as a community video outreach to the people of Long Beach Island and mainland communities. He  had a stage and screen career as well as being a news anchor and feature producer for WOBM-FM in Ocean County. Jim was also a staff member of several Philadelphia stations (WHAT-FM, WPHL-TV and KYW NewsRadio. Jim's professional career credits include appearances in Fiddler on the Roof, South Pacific, A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, Guys and Dolls, Oliver and The Wizard of Oz. Jim passed away on March 9th, 2017. He will be missed by anyone who was amazed by his knowledge of the theatre and TV, his amicable nature, and for us, he will be forever the nut hanging off the balcony of the Barnwell Library. Condolenses to his wife, Ellie and his children, Danielle and James.