When Sarah was born 54 years ago the world didn’t know the rockstar-warrior that was coming its way. Sarah lived for “her loves, her music, and possibilities” right to the very end. Her beautiful strong singing voice was the outward manifestation of a phenomenal internal strength she used from a young age to battle some of the most challenging illnesses a person can have.
Sarah died on April 28, 2023, of heart failure due to extended years of dialysis. Sarah was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, on January 3, 1969, the second of four daughters, born to William Frascella and Susan Frascella. She was raised in Santa Barbara, California, where she attended Monroe elementary school and Santa Barbara High School. She attended college at Indiana University in South Bend, studying theater.
Sarah’s life was defined by a fierce joy for living her passions: music, friends, and family. Her dog, Big Ed, was her most cherished companion. He was never far from her side, providing the loyal love and support only a dog can give. She sang from the time she was 10 years old until few days before she died, starting her singing career from the Star Construction Company and finishing being the lead singer in the irreverent rock band Freakasaurus Rex. For the past 16 years, this band was the core of her artistic expression, performing original and cover songs at public venues, but mostly enjoying the camaraderie of sacred “band nights” when she would practice with her band members Johnny Wilson, Ed Licornic, and Tony Harpe. Sarah taught singing to countless students – a special talent being to help those who had never performed working on a piece to perform in one of the Singing from the Heart cabarets. From 2001-2004 Sarah performed in Crème de La Femme with co-founder Allegra Heidelinde. Crème de La Femme performed originals and covers spanning heartbreak, nuclear war, and the medical system with campy cabaret flair. They performed at private parties and venues including SoHo, The Wildcat, and Elsie’s. Whenever, the opportunity arose, Sarah would sit in with local musicians, including her friend and beloved local musician Spencer Barnitz.
Unfortunately, her life was also ruled by a cruel mistress – serious illnesses starting with a Lupus diagnosis when she was 13, which created a lifetime of complications including renal failure, Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF), and eventually heart failure. She had four kidney transplants over the course of her life from family donors including her mother, father, and beloved maternal aunt Nanci Delmore Uttley. Her case was always complicated and critical, and there were numerous situations that seemed that no one could recover from, but Sarah would miraculously triumph. She never complained but continued on in solid termination, taking on physical therapy, medication, or whatever treatment could give her the ability to continue burning her splendid torch.
Sarah was known for her generosity, loyalty, humor, and style. She left a mark that will be missed forever, and she will continue to inspire all those who knew and loved her.
Sarah is pre-deceased by her youngest sister Maria Frascella, who died in 2013. She is survived by her mother, Susan Frascella of Santa Barbara, her father William Frascella and his wife Cynthia Frascella of Mishawaka, Indiana, and her two sisters, Nina Lafuente, Kristin Frascella, and her brother-in-law, Giovanni Vigna, all of Santa Barbara. She is also survived by her nieces and nephews Arielle Lafuente, Diego Galindo, Luca and Leonardo Vigna, as well as her many lifelong friends including Erika Koed Dixon, Gina Palazzo Petusky, Matthew Norris, Matt Straka, Sara Wilcox, and Johnny Wilson, to name only a few.
The family invites Sarah’s many friends and acquaintances to a memorial at 3:00 PM on May 21 at the Santa Barbara Fraternal Order of Eagles #442, 923 Bath Street Bath Street, Santa Barbara, CA. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Care4paws.org and the American Kidney Fund kidneyfund.org.