Domenico D. Assalone
Domenico Donald Assalone, known to his many friends as Don, a lover of food, Italy and Harleys died of heart failure (4/10/14) at the VNA Charlier Hospice. He turned 73 on March 22. Don was the quintessential Italian-American, born the first of two sons of an immigrant father who came to the United States in 1924 at age 11 and within three days had a job shining shoes at Grand Central Station. The father, John Assalone, became a successful grocer and real estate developer in Coventry, RI. Don never tired of telling that story.
It was one of many stories he never tired of telling. He loved to talk -- about the College of the Holy Cross (Class of 1963), and the lifelong friendships he made there; about food (lots of garlic, lemon wedges not slices); about his trips to Italy and the first cash register he ever sold, in Milan in 1964, when he had his picture taken with Elizabeth Taylor; about learning to fly but never getting his pilot's license; about his "unbelievable" cross-country, 5,700-mile motorcycle trip along the old Pony Express route from here to Sacramento and back. Or, about politics in Rhode Island. Part of him never left that state.
For 27 years, Don served proudly in the Rhode Island National Guard, retiring in 1988 as a major in the 43rd Military Police Brigade. Once, his unit ran a state prison during a lockdown when the guards went on strike. Don was assigned to the kitchen. That was a story, too.
He came to Evansville in 1981 to start his own business, Ohio Valley Business Systems, selling cash registers and business equipment. "Absolutely, I liked Evansville," he said. "When I arrived here and heard anyone complaining, I told them, 'You have no idea how good things are here!'" He sold his business in 1994 and worked several years as a translator/consultant for Robur, the successor to Servel. In 1997, he joined A.G. Edwards as a financial advisor, retiring in 2009 from Wells Fargo.
Don was an active member of the Italian-American Club, the Evansville Rotary Club and the Harley Owners Group (HOG). He also rode with the Blue Knights Law-Enforcement Motorcycle group. He was a volunteer reader on WNIN's radio reading service, a former board member of Evansville ARC and a past president of the McCuthanville Fire Department.
Don may never have met a stranger; he made instant friendships. He believed in service to others ("The Jesuits at Holy Cross drilled it into us.") He said recently that he had "so many special friends, "it's unbelievable."
Don was most proud of his three daughters: Maryann Joyce (J. Michael) of Evansville, Marcy Assalone and husband, Jock Percy, of New York City, and Lee-Ann Assalone and partner, Drew Norton, of Bloomington. Also surviving is their mother, Joyce Assalone of Evansville; a brother, John R. Assalone and wife, Maureen (Armonies), of Rhode Island; grandchildren Thomas, Brian and Elena Joyce; nieces and nephews, Veronica (John) Harris, Nikki Assalone, and Liena Rose and Giovanni Carlos Armonies-Assalone. He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Rose Assalone.
Friends may visit from 1:00 PM until 6:00 PM Sunday, April 13, 2014 at Browning Funeral Home where a memorial service will be held at 5:00 pm with Sr. Jenny Miller officiating. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 am, Monday, April 14, 2014 at St. Mary Catholic Church. Don wished to be cremated with his remains to be buried in Rhode Island.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Patchwork Central, 100 Washington Ave, Evansville, IN 47713, and Evansville ARC, 615 W Virginia St, Evansville, IN 47710. Don's family sends gratitude to Dr. Ishik Tuna and Dr. Michael Harrison whose outstanding care kept Don alive for more years than we had the right to expect. We also thank the staff at VNA Charlier Hospice, Fr. Ted Tempel, Sr. Jenny Miller and Phil Lieberman for their care and support.
Condolences may be made online at www.browningfuneral.com
Browning Funeral Home
738 E. Diamond Ave. Evansville, IN 47711
Published in Courier Press on Apr. 12, 2014