Frances “Penny” Martucci
was a beatnik, a visionary, an artist, and a disarming, charming, and loving friend to all who were fortunate enough to have known her. Born in 1942, she spent her formative years in the 1950s and early 1960s listening to music by Elvis Presley, dressing in all black and reading beatnik poetry (an avid Lawrence Ferlinghetti fan), and ultimately studying art in Italy where she met her husband, Fernando (1927-2021). After settling in Phoenix, Arizona in the 1970s she began a career at the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). As one of the pioneers who saw the potential of public-private partnerships and the power of the internet, she led the efforts at ADOT in collaboration with IBM to launch ServiceArizona – the online site that offers the ability to conduct a number of transactions without ever having to visit a Motor Vehicle Department office. While online business is the norm in 2022, ServiceArizona was far ahead of its time when it launched nearly 25 years ago in November 1997. Many business visionaries have a strong creative bent, and that was also true of Penny – an artist by training who created beautiful realistic and abstract paintings in oil on canvas, and whose creative talents extended to the kitchen where she was famous for her amazing dishes that no one could ever replicate because she never followed a recipe. But of all Penny’s wonderful strengths and talents, the most special was her ability to connect with people. She instantly made you feel important, interesting, comfortable, and loved. People shared things with Penny that they never shared with anyone else. She made you laugh and made you cry. She exuded warmth, never judged, and always opened her home and kitchen not only to her family but to any other friend or acquaintance who wanted or needed a place to spend a holiday and share a great meal. For all of these reasons she was not only an exceptional wife, mother and grandmother, but a role model of how we all hope to live – full of life, full of humor, and full of love.