Antonio Passacantando, 90, died peacefully on Sunday, (April 28, 2013), surrounded by his loving family with his wife and sons holding his hands. He was the son of the late Eliseo and Giovanna (D'Amore) Passacantando, born on December 17, 1922 in Termine, L'Aquila, province of Abruzzo, Italy. Antonio was the consummate salt-of-the-earth man who deeply enriched the lives of those he touched. He exemplified the motto of his home province of Abruzzo, Italy: "Forte e Gentile" or "Strong and Gentle." He will be remembered for his kind nature, his thick laborer's hands, his gentle touch, his legendary strength and stamina, his beautiful stories and songs, his unwavering patriotism, his unparalleled work ethic and his all-consuming love of family. Known to his relatives as "Tonino" and to his friends as "Tony," Antonio lived a long, rich, vibrant, deeply satisfying and meaningful life. He started working in the fields of Italy as a boy of six years old and didn't stop work until age 83. He served honorably and bravely in the Italian Army in WWII, including surviving three years as a POW in Germany. After the war, he worked as a police officer in the elite "Finanza" force in Italy for nearly a decade. He immigrated to the United States in 1954 to marry the love of his life, Irma, and to raise a family. He provided for his family for the next half a century by working as a landscaper, at Underwood and Carlin Companies and as Head Custodian at Silas Deane Middle School in Wethersfield until his retirement from full-time work at age 69. He continued to work part-time in maintenance at BKM until age 83. For approximately 40 of those years, Tony and Irma worked tirelessly at their apartment buildings in Hartford so that they could put their boys through school. It was Tony and Irma's relentless work and dedication that allowed two Italian immigrants with an elementary school education to live the American Dream of buying a house in the suburbs and raising three college-educated sons, one a West Point graduate, one the owner of a highly successful CPA firm and one a proud teacher at Harvard and Boston University. Antonio will always be remembered as a wonderful husband, a loving father, and a good man. Antonio is survived by his beloved wife of 59 years, Irma (Gallucci); sons, Eliseo ("Al") of Hartford, Bruno, his wife Janice and granddaughters Lianne and Shelby of Marlborough and Mauro of Newington; brother, Elio and his wife Angela of Arezzo, Italy; sister-in-law, Amelia of Hartford, and numerous nieces and nephews. Antonio was predeceased by his brother, Ferdinando and his fiercely loyal dog, "Rocky."
Funeral services will begin on Friday, May 3, at 10 a.m. at the D'Esopo Funeral Chapel, 277 Folly Brook Blvd., Wethersfield. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. at St. Mary's Church, 626 Willard Ave., Newington. The burial will follow in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford. The family will receive relatives and friends on Thursday from 4-8 p.m. at the funeral chapel. Memorial donations may be made to St. Mary's Church, 626 Willard Ave. Newington, CT 06111 or to Holy Spirit Church, 183 Church Street Newington, CT 06111. For online expressions of sympathy to the family, please visit www.desopo.com.