Carmelo James Passalacqua
Loving husband, father and grandfather
Carmelo James “Jimmie” Passalacqua, a day shy of his 95th birthday, died peacefully Saturday, September 22, 2018, in his home, after a period of failing health.
Jimmie, as he was always called, was the eldest son of Angelo and Giacomina Passalacqua. Both of his parents hailed from Sicily, and Jimmie was proud of his Sicilian heritage.
Jimmie leaves his wife, his “dolly” of 70 years, Yolanda Violet Falconi Passalacqua of Canonsburg. He also leaves many who will keenly miss him, most especially his daughter, Jamie Thornton, and his son-in-law, William “Rudy” Thornton, formerly of Weston, Mass., and most recently of Canonsburg, and his treasured grandson, Jarrod James Thornton of Oakland, Calif., and Pembroke, Maine.
He also leaves his cherished brother, Silvio Passalacqua of Washington, who will sorely miss him, and a brother- and sister-in-law, Phillip and Ruthann Falconi of Canonsburg and Florida.
Preceding Jimmie in death were his sisters, Mary Gerolium Szopo, Carmela DeStefano, Antonina Belcastro and Josephine Passalacqua.
He also leaves behind family, all of whom loved their Uncle Jimmie: Michael Passalacqua, Michel Passalacqua, Tonne Passalacqua, Charles Gerolium, Frankie Belcastro, Jimmie Belcastro, Debbie De Stefano, Janice Taper, Frankie Jo Gerolium, Amy Tonti, Maureen Kusturiss, Jack Dalbo, Terri German, Lisa Falconi, PJ Falconi and the late Jimmie Gerolium, Jackie Zanolli and Jill Minetta. If you dined or caroused on the bar side of Angelo’s on Friday evenings, you greeted Uncle Jimmie with a warm handshake and a wrestling move. If you were staff, you greeted him with, “Uncle Jimmie!” and a kiss.
Of late, there were his devoted caretakers - Valerie Givens, Terri Adams and Nicole Johnson, who will miss his gentle soul and warm smile - along with the wonderful staff of Amedisys Hospice Care.
A brief summary of his life’s work does not do justice to the warmth that touched everyone he knew, but here goes.
Jimmie was born in Boswell, before his family moved first to Pittsburgh’s North Side, and then to Washington. As his parents worked to establish what is now Angelo’s restaurant, he attended Washington High School. He was a member of the football team, and later, as everyone at his grandson’s games came to learn, “back in those days, players had capes.”
After high school, Jimmie enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was trained as an airplane mechanic. He was stationed at Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island, and it was from there he became a seaman on the Franklin Delano Roosevelt aircraft carrier. He was very proud of his military service, and being the “people person” he always was, he often happily reminisced about the people he met on the carrier and on the highlight of his service, his voyage to Rio de Janeiro.
Returning from the service, Jimmie resumed working at his parents’ restaurant, Angelo’s in Washington. On one of his trips to pick up beer for the restaurant, he met Yolanda Falconi, who worked for her father at Union Distributing. Love blossomed. It wasn’t long before he gallantly asked her father, Dominic, for her hand in marriage and received his consent. Yolanda and Jimmie were married in 1948. They managed and worked side-by-side every day for 30 years at Union Distributing. Their daughter, Jamie, was born, and they lived happily for many years together in Canonsburg. After closing Union Distributing, Jimmie and Yolanda managed Washington Honda.
Jimmie enjoyed life and his family to the fullest. He had many sunny times on the patio with the Falconi side of the family, everyone pitching in. Summer evenings were pasta, every imaginable grilled meat, whipped cream cake and lightening bugs in jars. The Passalacqua Sundays were his touchstone of every week: Grandma Passalacqua cooked for the family, kids at the kids’ table, “no pop until your rigatoni is gone,” and the adults with their pasta and a meat platter. Didn’t all men eat until they had to loosen their belts? Those were simple, happy times. The stresses of owning a business were not discussed at family gatherings.
Some years later, Jimmie took up golf. Always a swimmer and fitness enthusiast, he embraced golf. He belonged to Cherry Hills Golf Course, then Quicksilver Golf Club, and later to Miacomet Golf Course in Nantucket, Mass. He and Yolanda spent many wonderful summers vacationing in Nantucket with Jamie, Rudy and Jarrod.
He was also a member of Sons of Italy, Pittsburgh Press Club, Rivers Club of Pittsburgh, and, as he liked to mention, a “charter member” of Wilfred R. Cameron Wellness Center. Along with most Western Pennsylvanians, Jimmie was a devoted Steelers fan. He and Yolanda were season ticket holders; they attended the games regularly and tailgated with the many friends they made at the games.
Jimmie will be remembered above all for his devotion to his family and his kindness and generosity to all. Everyone who knew Jimmie would agree, he was one of the kindest individuals they had the pleasure of knowing.
Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and 10 to 11 a.m., the time of service, Wednesday, September 26, in Mario L. DeAngelo Funeral Home, 194 East College Street, Canonsburg, with the Rev. Michael Thomas officiating. Entombment will follow in Queen of Heaven Mausoleum, Peters Township, with full military honors accorded by the U.S. Navy and the American Legion Post #175 Honor Guard.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to a charity of the donor's choice.
A guest book and tribute wall are available at www.deangelocare.com.
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