ANTHONY D. BORRELLI, age 89. Devoted husband of the late Vera (nee Rocco); loving father of Mark, Wayne (Margaret) and Robin (Noel) Nemeth; dearest grandfather of Rebecca, Tara (Ryan) Clifford, Emma, Erin, Alex, Julie, and Justin; and dear brother of Louis, and Viola Savetski (both deceased). VISITATION THURSDAY 2-4 and 7-9 P.M., at CRACIUN BERRY FUNERAL HOME, 23040 CENTER RIDGE RD., WESTLAKE, where services will be held Friday, 11 A.M. Interment Sunset Memorial Park. Online condolences at: www.craciunfuneralhomes.com
Mom & Dad's Biography:
Your mother and I decided that it was about time we put down on paper as much as we can remember about our childhood, particularly our school years and our families.
I'll start with my grandparents first.
On my father's side my gradfather's name was Antonio Borrelli and my grandmother's name was Louise Gagliardi. On my mother's side my grandfather's name was Salvatore DiMarco and my grandmother's name was Santilla DiMarco.
Going now to Vera's grandparents. On Vera's mother's side, her grandfather's name was Beckfor Govey and her grandmother's name was Margaret Govey (maiden name Holman). Both born in England. On Vera's father's side her grandfather's name was Frank Rocco, born in Latina Province, Italy, and her grandmother's name was Maria Angela Rocco. We never had a chance to know our grandparents because Vera came here from London, England when she was three and I came here at the age of 7 months from Castle Forte <sic> [Castelforte?], Latina, Italy.
My father's name was Angelo Borrelli, born in Vendosa-St. Cosmo Damiano, Latina Province, Italy, approximately 40 miles northeast of Naples, on January 1, 1893. He passed away on October 30, 1956.
My mother's name was Maria Concetta Borrelli (maiden name DiMarco). She was born in Castel Forte, Latina Province, Italy on August 24, 1902. She passed away on November 4, 1988. I was also born in Castel Forte.
Vera's mother, Phyllis (Govey) Rocco was born on March 20, 1896 in London England, and Vera's father, Charles Rocco, Was born in Latina Province, Italy. He passed away in December, 1934 at the age of 39.
Going back to my dad and mother's brothers and sisters. I had two uncles on my mother's side. Sebastian and Dominic DiMarco, and several aunts, names not readily available. On my father's side I had one uncle, Antonion DiBiasio, and one aunt, Rose DiBiasio. On Vera's father's side, she had two uncles. Tony and Joe Rocco, and two aunts, Emily and Margaret on her mother's side. She had an aunt. Aunt Rosaria DiBiasio on her father's side. Vera also had an uncle Jim on her mother's side.
I have one brother, Louis F. Borrelli, born on July 25, 1923 at 1302 W. 69th St., Cleveland, Ohio. My brother's wife's name is Helene (maiden name Kaplan) and they had two daughters named Sharon and Sandi. I have one sister, Viola Santina Savetski, born January 2, 1925 at 6701 Herman Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio. My sister Vi had three children, Joanne, Roay and David. Joanne married jerry Martell and had two children, Debbie and Rodney. Roy Schatschneider married Pat and had one child, Eric. David married and had one child, but after his separation we never got his son's name.
Vera had four brothers and two sisters. Their names were Frank, born 1914; Phyllis, born 1916; Joe, born 1920; Margaret, born 1918; Tony, born 1925; and Albert, born 1928. Frank married Josephine (maiden name Casale) and they had four children, Charles, David, Linda and Robert. He passed away 8/22/69. Phyllis married Emil Hlucky and had four children. Lee, Emil, Laureen and Linda. Emil passed away approximately 1977. Joe never married and passed away on October 18, 1972. Margaret married Fred Smekal and had two children, Fred and Shirley. Margaret passed away in July, 1982. Tony Rocco married Dorothy and has one child, Rhonda, and three grandchildren. Albert married Dorothy and had four children, Dale, Darrell, David and Denise.
My brother Louis, sister Viola and myself all attended Lawn Elementary School in Cleveland. At that time we lived at 1927 West 75th street. My dad then moved us to 1329 West 76th street, Cleveland, and we attended Waterson Elementary School in Cleveland for one year (1931), and then I attended Lake Elementary School for almost one year (1932) My dad then moved us out to Parma to 5607 Theota Avenue and I attended Thoreau Park Elementary School through the fifth grade (1933). In 1934 my dad moved us back to Cleveland where we lived at 2111 West 104th street. I graduated from Willard Elementary School in 1935.
I then attended Wilbur Wright Jr. High School located at W. 110th St. and Parkhurst, Cleveland in 1935 for approximately two months. Again my dad moves us, this time to 7701 Elton Ave. in Cleveland, and I attended West High School located at W. 67th St. and Franklin in Cleveland for three years (1935 thru 1937) We finally made our last move before graduating from high schol to 3511 W. 127th St., Cleveland, and I graduated from John Marshall High School lacated at 3952 W. 140th St. in June, 1940.
Vera during her school years lived on W. 75th Street and W. 77th Street in Cleveland, 6710 Flowerdale Ave. in Brooklyn and W. 33rd & Tuxedo in Parma. Vera also started at Lawn Elementary School but transferred to William Raney Harper Elementary School located off Ridge Road on Vandalia in Brooklyn. She moved back into Cleveland in 1935 and attended West High School and went thru the 10th grade in 1938.
In September 1942 I entered the military service and was attached to the 33rd Infantry Division, an Illinois National Guard outfit. I went out to Fort Lewis, Washington for my basic training and we then spent approximately four months out on the Mojavi Desert preparing for desrt warfare in Africa. About the time we completed our desert training the African campaign was over so we were then sent to the Hawaiian Islands for amphibious training to prepare us for landings at different islands or other lcations I spent approximately nine months on the Island of Maui.
From Maui we were shipped to Finchhaven, new Guinea, then to the Island of Morati in the Halmaras. From Morati we then went to the Phillipines landing at Lingaven Gulf, LUZON, and spent approximately four months on cleaning up to the town of Baguio. From Baguio we went to Japan and I spent approximately six weeks in Kobe. In all I was in the service 38 months and was discharged in November 1945.
In 1946 I attended Fenn College under the GI Bill and graduated in May 1949 with a degree in General Business.
After High School, Vera worked at Woolworths on Euclid, then as a welder at Yoders and Viking during World War II, and at White Sewing Machine Co. in the Flats from 1946 to 1949.
Your mother and i had known each other from the time we were 4 or 5 years old but did not really see much of each other until 1946 when we met at her cousin Elenora Rocco's wedding reception. We didn't meet again until my brother Louie's wedding to Helene in August, 1947 and started dating. We announced our engagement in December, 1947 and were married on August 14, 1948.
The words that I'd written to be read at dad's service:
Most of my memories of my father are memories of summer. When I was a child, summers were always the most carefree times for me, as they were for most kids I guess in those days, at least where I grew up. One of my clearest is of me lying on the driveway, at age six or eight. I'd been playing in the water and was lying drying off in the warmth of the sun, while dad worked painting or scraping the garage. There were other days – dad polishing the car, dad caulking the windows, dad mowing the grass – but always it was dad taking care of things, while I enjoyed. Dad wasn't always working, though. There were times when he would drop everything to take us to the park, or to the local swimming hole, or every so often to the amusement park-Cedar Point or the annual Italian picnic at Euclid Beach Park. It was hard to afford expensive overnight vacations, but there was one trip to Niagra Falls which I loved, and of course I couldn't wait when I had children of my own to take them there as well. But most of the trips were short day trips. Dad taught us that it didn't take a lot to make people happy. Just some time and effort and lots of little things. Just some love and some respect.
Dad loved his garden. I remember him teaching me how to draw a circle in the grass with a stake and a string, and then concentric circles for each row of flower seeds. Seeds that would grow to be tall would go in the center, seeds that would grow to be small would go on the edge, he told me. Each seed had it's place. He knew just how things had to be ordered, to turn out the best way possible. And he always worked so hard to make his world the best that it could be, for his family.
With dad everything was always taken care of. He told me once that someone told him that family should come first, always. I don't know who it was; if he said I don't remember. Maybe it was my grandfather who told him that. I believe it was his creed that family should come above all else. Above country and church, even, and certainly above work although he was always a hard and honest worker. I remember him and my mother and brother speaking about the day the catholic priest came to the door to tell my mother that because my brother wasn't baptized in the catholic church, that that made him a bastard in the eyes of God. And I was told of my brother's response and I'm sure a lot of you have heard what it was and if not I will let him tell you, but we all found it pretty funny. But he was just a little baby at the time. My father and mother, their response was a bit different, of course. Although I am sure it was respectful, my father always felt that family came first, above all else, and so that priest was sent on his way.
It seems silly to say that I'm going to miss my dad. He's been in essence going away from us all for years now. In recent weeks when I'd visit him he would sometimes say to me "nice to see you again". I've heard him say those words to so many people, so many times in his life. But recently when he would say it to me, it made me feel as if it was being said not to me, but to just a person in general. And that would hurt a bit. But dad had a way of being so polite, always, to everyone. Of making everyone feel special. Of doing his best to see the best in people, and presuming that everyone was worthy of respect. And so even though it didn't seem as if he were actually talking to me, it didn't hurt so very much when I thought of it in that way.
Dad was one of the most honest people I've ever known. I'm not aware of a time when he was deceitful, either with me or with anyone else. Most people saw it as an endearing quality, I think. But I sometimes got the feeling, as I got older, that there were those who saw this as a somewhat naïve quality. The idea that there might be people who viewed this as a trait that was anything but desirable made me angry and sad.
I remember how he used to get along so well with people of completely opposite political views. How he used to speak of one particular coworker, and of the debates that they would have and about how much they vehemently disagreed about so many things. And yet you knew also, from the way that he spoke, that they were friends. Dad was always able to agree to disagree, and he did it so well. I remember the next door neighbor who was a little older than my brother when my brother was in college. He had long hair and carried a shoulder bag and was referred to by some people as 'hippy', and by other people with other amusing though not very nice terms. He and dad were so very different, and yet were the closest of friends. People who didn't know them would hear them arguing politics at the kitchen table or on the lawn chairs outside, and say "you mean those two get along?" And those of us who lived there would say "oh yes indeed they get along just great. They're good friends."
I recently had someone ask me a question. As some of you might know, I've been rather involved with a certain issue. Some might say it is a health care issue, others might be more inclined to call it a political one. This person said to me "I know that this thing is very important to you, but let me ask you this-is it more important to you than your family is?"
My first inclination was to be angry at her, and at the suggestion that I would place anything above my family in importance. But I didn't speak of my anger then as there just wasn't the time. And I couldn't understand why she asked me this, and in fact still don't. 'How would dad have reacted?', I've asked myself recently. I don't know but I think he would have been confused. It's hard for me to picture him as afraid of anything, except maybe afraid for the safety of his family. At any rate, I am glad now that I didn't have the opportunity then to express my anger. I've since thought about the matter, and wondered if she was just unaware that it is impossible for me to separate out the one thing from the other – this issue, and the well being of my family. And after asking myself that, it was easier for me to be not so angry at her. To take a deep breath and try to do what my father was always so very good at doing. Not flying off the handle. Showing people respect. Trying, always, to understand what other people were thinking and where they were coming from. Presuming good intentions in other people, and seeing the best things in them, and yet always while doing everything possible to make things carefree and good for the people he most loved.
Of course I will miss my dad. A close family friend said that I would still be able to see him in the faces of my children, and it's true. I see it in their faces, and I see it in their expressions at times and in their mannerisms. But it is when I see his character reflected in them that I am the proudest of them.
North Royalton, Ohio