Fortunato Pucciarelli, beloved patriarch, died peacefully at his home on Thursday, January 16, 2014, surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Caggiano, Italy on August 30, 1926.
Ambitious, hard-working and determined to make a good life for himself, Fortunato studied and learned the pharmacy trade and became the go-to pharmacist in Salerno, Italy.
Although his skills as a pharmacist helped many families, it also attracted the Nazi soldiers who seized him to help with the German troops during WWII. Bravely, Fortunato escaped during the night and ran all the way back to his hometown.
He was then recruited into the Air Force where he served as a medic in Orvito, Italy. At age 17, he met the love of his life, Gioconda Ferraro, and after 14 years of dating, the couple married in 1954 before venturing to America.
Immigrating to America in 1956, Fortunato worked very hard and did whatever was necessary to support his growing family. He worked many jobs before landing a job at True Temper where he worked for many years and eventually retired. While working his full-time jobs, he also helped his father, Joseph Pucciarelli, operate the “La Gioconda” restaurant and helped maintain all of their rental properties.
Needless to say, he was not one to sit still. After his retirement, he continued to help his sons and son-in-law build their own successful businesses. He proudly returned to his homeland in 1968 with his young family, returned again for his 25th wedding anniversary in 1981, and once again in 1995. Providing for a family of five, Fortunato made sure no one would want for anything. The provider, the caretaker, he was the go-to guy for everyone and the rock of the entire Pucciarelli family until his very last breath.
Fortunato was very well-liked and respected by all who knew him. He was a charitable man and a community supporter. He was the ultimate family man and a total class act.
His legacy of love for his family will be carried on through those who survive him.
He was the loving husband of Gioconda, his wife of 59 years, the compassionate father of his five children Maria (Dave) Jakubiec, Joseph (Donna) Pucciarelli, Anthony (Kathryn) Pucciarelli, Henry Pucciarelli, and Rosalia (Robert) Calph, and was also the pampering grandfather of Michael, Bettina & Timothy Jakubiec, Angela, Joseph Fortunato, Olivia & Grace Pucciarelli, Carla, Mary Elisabeth, & A. Samuel Pucciarelli, and Christina & Robert Calph, Jr. Fortunato is also survived by extended family members, in-laws, Teresa & Paolo Donisi, and many nieces and nephews.
Fortunato was predeceased by his father and mother, Joseph & Mary (Mignoli) Pucciarelli.
Funeral services will be held Monday morning at 9:15 a.m. from the McGraw-Kowal Funeral Home followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 a.m. at Holy Trinity church. Calling hours will be held this evening from 7-9 p.m., and Sunday from 2-4 & 7-9 p.m. at the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to: Northern Chautauqua Catholic School, 336 Washington Avenue, Dunkirk, NY 14048.