For 33 years, Frances Gatto fed the local community with what some called "the best subs in town." Although she has passed away, her memory will help feed the minds of young women in Chautauqua County. The Frances A. Gatto Memorial Scholarship was recently established by her children, Joseph and Kathleen, to keep their mother's memory and spirit alive.
An active member of the Jamestown School District, Gatto served as president of the Parent and Teacher Association of R.R. Rogers and Jefferson schools. She was well-known throughout the district for hosting a number of spaghetti dinners.
In 1972, after her father passed away, Gatto and her husband Frank took over Rigoli's Grocery.
Gatto making subs in the kitchen of Rigoli’s Grocery.
Located on the corner of Barrows and King streets in Jamestown, Rigoli's had been in Gatto's family for more than 50 years. It was then, in a small, 3-foot kitchen, that Gatto began making subs for her family and friends, naming each one after the person who ordered it.
"She made every sub like she was feeding her own family," her son, Joseph, said. "People still want to make Fran's subs, and they've asked how to do it, but they will never have all of the ingredients. It was love."
After a fire claimed Rigoli's in 2003, Gatto retired, but she never stopped making subs.
The Frances A. Gatto Memorial Scholarship will provide financial assistance to young women attending Jamestown Community College majoring in business, accounting, and finance or pursuing entrepreneurship opportunities. Students must be a graduate of Jamestown, Falconer or Southwestern High Schools. Students must also demonstrate academic excellence, leadership in school activities, community involvement and participation in community service activities.
"She touched a lot of people in 33 years," Joe said. "She would make everybody happy and smile."
For more information on the Frances A. Gatto Memorial Scholarship Fund, or to make a tax-deductible donation, contact the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation at 661-3390, or visit online at crcfonline.org.