Stephanie Franco Kerns
Stephanie Franco Kerns was born on July 12, 1950, in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, to parents Florence Franco Duncan and Salvatore Franco, where she grew up with her older brother Gary Franco. She graduated from Bensalem High School, in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, in the top one percent of her class, and has completed studies for a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Ms. Kerns began her civil service career on January 26, 1970 with the IRS Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Already well versed in five languages, she was selected three months later to attend advanced foreign language training in tax terminology. Following this four-month immersion training, she was promoted to taxpayer service representative and later as a foreign language tax examiner. As well as being the IRS foreign language liaison officer, she also authored a training package used in all IRS offices throughout the United States. During her tenure she was a member of the Board of directors of the Service Center’s Federal Credit Union.
On August 21, 1971 she married her husband Captain Thomas J. Kerns Jr. In 1972 she and her husband welcomed their first child, Brett J. Kerns. In 1975 they welcomed a daughter, Gina M. Kerns.
In July of 1976 her husband was reassigned to Bitburg AB, Germany. She continued her civil service career, and served in a collateral capacity as the Federal Women’s Program Manager for both Bitburg and Spangdahlem Air Bases.
Ms. Kerns once again relocated due to her husband’s Air Force career, this time to Raleigh, North Carolina with her family in September of 1980. Her career began a downward spiral when she had to accept a secretarial position with the EPA in order to maintain her career status with civil service.
In September of 1982, her husband was reassigned to Offutt AFB, Nebraska, where Ms. Kerns was the Executive Secretary for Air Force Global Weather Central and was later promoted to Office Manager and Inspection Team Member for the Strategic Air Command Office of the Inspector General. She was selected as Offutt AFB Civilian of the Year and was SAC’s nominee for the Ten Outstanding Young Americans Award. She was also Vice President of the American Business Women’s Association and served as Chairperson of the Auditing Committee.
Just when her career was once again on the upswing, her husband was reassigned, this time to Langley AFB, Virginia, where she became Executive Secretary to the Commander of the 1st Equipment Maintenance Squadron.
Now in the twilight of her mediocre career, Ms. Kerns accepted her last position as Executive Assistant to the Commander of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations 2nd Field Investigations Region in September of 1992. She retired from this position in December of ’06, after almost 37 years of service. She was frequently asked to be a guest speaker at local schools on Career Day in the “Don’t Let This Happen to You” category.
Ms. Kerns is preceded in death by her loving husband of 28 years, Captain Thomas J. Kerns Jr., her mother Florence Duncan, father Salvatore Franco, step-father Robert Duncan, her brother Gary Franco, and her best friend Betty Overman. She is survived by her children, Brett J. Kerns and Gina Kerns Garcia, Son-in-law Victor Garcia; and her granddaughters Brianna Skye Kerns, Madeleine Elizabeth Kerns, Stephanie “Bella” Garcia, Bianca Italia Garcia. She leaves behind her dear friends Linda Boyle and her cousin Joann “Nookie” Scocca, as well as those she cared for so deeply.
A celebration of Stephanie’s life will be held Thursday, February 10, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at Peninsula Funeral Home. A graveside service will be held Friday, February 11, 1:00 p.m. at Peninsula Memorial Park. The CDC highly recommends masks for inside gatherings.
Major Awards and Recognitions
- Offutt AFB Civilian of the Year
- Jewel of Bellevue Award
- Commissioned as an Honorary Admiral in the Nebraska State Navy
- USAF Thunderbirds Inspection Team Member
- Outstanding Young Woman of Omaha Finalist
- Ten Outstanding Young Omahans Finalist
- American Business Women’s Association Woman of the Year
- 2nd Field Investigations Regions Innovator of the Year Award
- Governor’s Medal of Life Award (Virginia)
- Number One Nonna Lifetime Achievement Award