Gibbons Mourns the Passing of Frank J. Vecchione
April 25, 2020
Frank J. Vecchione
(1935 – 2020)
Frank J. Vecchione, a retired Director at Gibbons P.C. and former Chair of the firm’s highly regarded bankruptcy practice, passed away on Friday, April 24, 2020. He was 84 years old.
Mr. Vecchione started with the firm as an associate in 1965 after a clerkship with former Judge John Crane in Essex County. Soon after he was made a Director, the firm added his name to its name and became known as Crummy, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger & Vecchione and then Gibbons, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger & Vecchione. In 2007, the firm shortened its name to Gibbons.
Throughout his 50-plus-year career, Mr. Vecchione represented debtors, trustees, and secured and unsecured creditors in some of the leading chapter 11 cases in the region, some of which resulted in decisions of first impression that he argued in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. His cases involved a diverse number industries, including trucking, financial services, manufacturing, casinos, and law firms in liquidation. In December 2007, he was successful in confirming an asbestos chapter 11 plan of reorganization on behalf of a paint company, The Muralo Company, Inc. In September 2000, he succeeded in confirming a chapter 11 plan of reorganization on behalf of sweepstakes company American Family Publishers, using the then-innovative concept of a “channeling injunction.”
Prior to these cases, Mr. Vecchione led a team of attorneys representing Gibbons Director, John J. Gibbons as the chapter 11 Trustee of Marvel Enterprises in the District of Delaware. He also served as co-counsel for New Valley Corporation (f/k/a Western Union) in its successful reorganization. In 1976, as counsel, he had a plan of reorganization confirmed for Bloomfield College, a four-year college, marking the first college to successfully reorganize under the Bankruptcy Act.
In Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Business Leaders (2009 edition), clients and colleagues called him “a dean of the practice” and added, “he’s a sage adviser with years of experience and an incredibly authoritative presence: when he talks, people really listen.” Shortly after Mr. Vecchione’s retirement, his longtime Gibbons colleague Frederick W. Alworth published a tribute to him in the New Jersey Law Journal.
Mr. Vecchione was an adjunct professor at the Seton Hall University School of Law for 25 years, teaching courses in debtor-creditor relations and bankruptcy. In 1992, he was honored for his commitment to the school with its Outstanding Alumnus of the Year award. He was a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association for many years, serving as Chairman of the Debtor-Creditor Section (1978 – 1980). In 1991, he was inducted by the American Bankruptcy Institute as a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy, a prestigious group of approximately 650 Fellows who are selected for inclusion based on recommendations received from the Circuit Admissions Council in each federal judicial circuit. In 1993, he was elected to Fellowship in the American Bar Foundation, an honorary organization of lawyers, judges and legal scholars whose public and private careers have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the welfare of their communities and to the highest principles of the legal profession.
Mr. Vecchione earned his LL.B from the Seton Hall University Law School (1964), and his B.A. from Syracuse University (1957). After graduation from Syracuse University, he served for two years in the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant, training soldiers in the use of artillery. He was admitted to practice in New Jersey. Mr. Vecchione was a frequent author and speaker on topics related to bankruptcy and creditor-debtor rights, and was recognized as a leading lawyer in this practice area by Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyers®.
Mr. Vecchione is survived by his four children, Amy Vecchione, Carrie Vecchione (Erdahl), Jennifer Vecchione Portman, and Frank Matthew (“Matt”) Vecchione, as well as his seven grandchildren, Emily, Jon, and Abigail Portman; Nicholas and Alec Vecchione; and Ada and Ella Erdahl. His late wife of 60 years, Polly, passed away in 2017.
Private funeral arrangements were made by Caggiano Memorial Funeral Home and a memorial celebration will be scheduled for a future date. Condolences and memories can be posted on Caggiano’s website here.
Donations can be made to “Shepherds of Youth” to support the Frank J. Vecchione Adopt-A-Kid program, and mailed to:
Shepherds of Youth
641 Shunpike Road
Chatham, NJ 07928