By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 29, 2008 at 10:16 AM

I'm saddened to report the passing of attorney Dominic Frinzi, a major figure in the Italian community in Milwaukee for decades.

Dominic died at about 11 p.m. last night. He had been ill recently, but I don't know the cause yet. 

Frinzi, 86, was born and raised in Milwaukee's Third Ward, where his parents ran a butcher shop. He graduated with a law degree from Marquette University in 1951. At the time of his passing, Frinzi was serving his second straight (and record seventh overall) term as president of the Italian Community Center. He was unopposed in the fall election. He also served as a Milwaukee County circuit court commissioner and was a past president of the National Italian American Bar Association.

Frinzi – who was also inducted into the Wisconsin Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1998 and was president of Harness Horse International – has a resume much too long to recount here, but he worked for many years in conjunction with the Italian consulate in Chicago, assisting Italian-Americans with issues related to citizenship and other matters.

In 2002, he was awarded Cavaliere All'Ordine al Merito della Republica Italiana – Knight of the Order of Merit – by the Republic of Italy

Frinzi was a take charge kind of a guy and rarely took no for an answer and one only has to remember his fiery speech at a Milwaukee Public Schools committee meeting last year – arguing for funding for the Italian Immersion Program at Victory School – to understand the depths his passion. He also served on the board of directors of the Florentine Opera Company.

But he was also a charming man, who loved opera and made friends easily. When I escorted an Italian group around Festa in 2005 and 2006, they immediately adored Dominic. The group continues to ask after "L'avvocato" who they also affectionately call "Dominique."

Frinzi communicated his passion for opera through articles in The Italian Times, in lectures and in the amazing and lovingly curated opera tent at Festa.

He will be missed by many who knew and loved him and even those who didn't will be affected by the loss of his goodwill and his good works.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.