Born Francesco Caprio on November 24, 1936, in Federal Hill, Providence, Rhode Island, he was the second of three sons to Antonio Caprio, an Italian immigrant, and Filomena Caprio, an Italian American. Growing up in an Italian-American neighborhood, Caprio attended Providence public schools and graduated from Central High School, where he excelled in wrestling. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Providence College before pursuing a law degree at Suffolk University School of Law in Boston.
Military Service and Early Career
Frank Caprio’s commitment to service extended to the military, where he served in the United States Army from 1954 to 1962 in the Rhode Island Army National Guard. During this time, he also entered the legal profession after attending night school.
Caprio entered politics and was elected to the Providence City Council, serving from 1962 to 1968. In 1970, he ran for Rhode Island Attorney General, and although he faced defeat in the general election, it marked a stepping stone in his political journey. Over the years, he became a delegate to the Rhode Island Constitutional Convention and five Democratic National Conventions.
Since 1985, Caprio served as the Chief Judge of the Municipal Court of Providence, leaving an indelible mark on the legal landscape. His courtroom proceedings, notably featured on the TV series ‘Caught in Providence,’ garnered widespread attention, with some videos going viral and accumulating millions of views.
Entrepreneurship and Community Involvement
Beyond his legal and political endeavors, Caprio ventured into entrepreneurship as a partner in the Coast Guard House Restaurant in Narragansett, Rhode Island. He demonstrated a deep commitment to community outreach, establishing scholarships and actively participating in various charitable organizations, including the Boys Town of Italy and the Rhode Island Food Bank.
Retirement and Philanthropy
In January 2023, Caprio retired, concluding a career marked by public service and impactful contributions. Notably, he founded the Antonio “Tup” Caprio Scholarship Fund, supporting Rhode Island students committed to improving legal services access in urban core neighborhoods. In 2021, he initiated the Filomena Fund, assisting those unable to pay for traffic violations.
Recognitions and Family
Frank Caprio received numerous honors, including honorary doctorates from Suffolk University Law School and Providence College. In 2016, the University of Rhode Island awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service. Married to Joyce E. Caprio for over 50 years, they have five children, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. An avid Boston Red Sox fan, Caprio’s love for baseball was highlighted when he threw the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park in 2019.
Facing Pancreatic Cancer
On December 6, 2023, Frank Caprio shared the challenging news of his pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Despite this health battle, his legacy of service, impact, and community involvement continues to resonate with those whose lives he touched throughout his illustrious career.
I will speak to the judge who is the figure of justice. His life is based on justice and he is a model for judges. To date, I have not seen any judge who has a smile on his face. And he solves people, ‘s difficulties easily. One who has a clean heart is called Frank Caprio. Who has good manners and good character? Who is recently fighting cancer, I pray to ALLAH ALMIGHTY to give him a speedy recovery, Ameen.