Frank Filipelli passed away on Friday, November 23, 2012, surrounded by family, in Austin, Texas. He was 89 years old.
Born Raphelo Francesco Giuseppe Fillippili in New York City, on March 27, 1923, Frank was a man of strong convictions who devoted his life to serving others. He was raised by his widowed mother, Teresa Toteda Filipelli, an Italian immigrant who supported Frank and his sister, Mary, by working as a seamstress. His fondest childhood memories were of sneaking into Yankee Stadium, tossing peanuts to players in the bullpen, and of seeing Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig play. He graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx.
Like many of his generation, Frank grew quickly into adulthood. As a teenager, he helped support his family by working at the A&P. In September 1944, he was called to serve in the U.S. Army and began sending his allotment check home to help his mother raise his nephew and niece. He saw combat in the Rhineland and was wounded and taken prisoner of war in February 1945. When recalling this experience, he often mentioned the kindness of German soldiers who could have just as easily left him for dead. From that point on, he counted himself lucky to be alive.
When he returned to New York, he began studying under the G.I. Bill and earned a bachelor's degree from New York University. He then earned a master's degree in social work from Adelphi University in Long Island. Frank met Irene McMonagle while they both were social workers at New York City's Department of Welfare. They married in 1961, and went on to have three children: Ralph, David, and Laurie. In 1966, they moved upstate to Gloversville, New York, when Frank accepted a position as Director of Clinical Services at Tryon School for Boys. Frank retired in 1981 but continued to be involved in local politics and community service organizations. He and his wife lived in Gloversville until 2005 when they relocated to Austin, Texas, to be closer to their children.
Frank will be remembered for his honesty, humor, and his love of family. He always said that if you had helped even one young person, you had made a difference.
He is survived by his wife, Irene; his son, Ralph Filipelli and wife, Diana Midyett; his son, David Filipelli and wife, Pam McIntyre; his daughter, Laurie Filipelli and husband, Mario Champion; and his granddaughters, Ashley Filipelli and Eliana Champion. He is survived also by his niece, Janie Guerra and nephew, Don Guerra.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a children's charity of your choice.
Memorial services will be held at 4:00 p.m., Saturday, December 8, 2012 at Englewood Estates, 2603 Jones Road in Austin, Texas.